Preliminary Notices

Establishing Your Right to Lien

Establishing your right to lien during a project can be a tricky process – especially depending on which state you are working in and your role on the project.  Our job is to provide you with the tools, knowledge, and team to ensure you feel confident your rights are secured.

Construction notices (20 day preliminary notices / notice to owner /preliens) are documents that are dictated by state statutes with regard to content, font size, service requirements, and time frames.

You’ll hear us reference a state as proactive or reactive quite often.

Here’s the difference:

  • Proactive State
    • A construction notice MUST be sent at the beginning of your work to establish the right to file a mechanic’s lien or bond claim
    • Examples: Arizona, California, New Mexico
  • Reactive State
    • A construction notice or notice of intent to lien MUST be served at the end of your work on the project and before you file a mechanic’s lien or bond claim
    • Examples: Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma

Construction Notices 101:

  • Each state will have differing time frames, statutorily required verbiage, formats, etc… to establish the right to lien
  • Some states leverage online portals to complete the requirement for service
  • Document service is different by state – some require certified mail, some allow for first class mail – all should rely upon the Certificate of Mailing to prove service
  • Document storage is key – you can be on a project for months or years – keeping your documents in order with regard to lien rights is vital
  • Not all projects are created equal – different processes and requirements may be needed depending on the type of project you’re on – even in the same state
  • Lien documents are organic and grow or shrink with your project – a simple “set it and forget it” approach won’t benefit you in the long run

Our team of dedicated account analysts will work and grow with you as your company and project scopes change.  We stay abreast of statutory requirements with regard to the structure and mechanics of your construction notices.

What we do:

  • Research project:
    • We will fully research the project’s responsible parties and ensure they are captured on your construction notice accurately
  • Prepare your documents:
    • We will complete your construction notices and ensure they are in compliance with your state’s requirements
  • Mail your construction notices:
    • We hand deliver all documents to the USPS for acceptance and acknowledgement of receipt
    • We guarantee mailing of your construction notices within statutory guidelines
  • Store your documents:
    • Our system allows us to have your paper documents secured and stored on our site – as well a an electronic copy of all of your documents on our servers

One of the things to also keep in mind is that the document needs to follow you along with the project.

Quick tips:

  • Manage your change orders and lien rights in the same action – change orders may also alter your “lienable” dollar amount at the end of the project – often, time frames are in play here as well
    • Capturing every dollar you put toward a project is important to minimize any potential loss toward the end
  • Keep an eye on your lien waivers and payments –
    • You can’t look to a lien to collect money you’ve already been paid or waived
  • Lien Waivers
    • Send Conditional Waivers and try to avoid Unconditional Waivers at all costs – once it’s waived, it’s gone
      • Note: a Conditional Waiver will automatically transfer to an Unconditional Waiver once funds have been authenticated to your account

Common Document Names:

  • Preliminary 20 Day Notice
  • Prelien
  • Preliminary Notice
  • Notice to Owner
  • Construction Notice
  • Notice of Furnishing
  • Notice of Right to Lien

“From the initial meeting with Amy and Peter, they welcomed me into their circle by helping to educate me in the proper way to file preliminary notices and the importance of filing, along with timelines and everything that the process entails up to a lien, if needed. For a start-up construction company, the knowledge that they’ve shared with me has been unmeasurable. 

Even though they are in another state, they are very cognizant of the time zone differences, postal processing time frames and what current events may be affecting us here in Southern California. 

I have always been able to rely on Amy, Peter and Susan for anything I need and to be able to ask questions when I’m in a bind. These individuals are great partners and genuinely awesome people to work with. I could not have asked for a better company to help us with all of safeguarding of our projects.”

Chani Beck | Office Manager

ProAm Construction