When you complete work on a construction project, you expect to get paid. Unfortunately, many contractors and sub-contractors don't receive timely payment for their completed work.
Taking legal action to pursue payment remedies is advised, but there is a process you must follow in order to preserve your right to seek compensation through legal channels. The first step in trying to forcibly obtain money owed to you is the service of a preliminary notice.
Understanding Preliminary Notices
A preliminary notice is essentially a document that is designed to warn another party of your intention to take legal action. The primary avenue through which payment is recouped is the filing or a mechanics lien against the property in question or the filing of a surety bond payment claim.
Prior to doing either of these things, you need to work with an experienced attorney to draft and serve a preliminary notice. This notice will allow the individual who hasn't paid you in full time to come up with the cash or make acceptable payment arrangements before you pursue legal action.
Information to Include in a Preliminary Notice
For your preliminary notice to be valid, it must contain some important information. You should include the names of all parties involved, including the owner of the project and the general contractor in charge of the job site.
You will also need to provide an itemized estimate for the work that you completed without pay and provide evidence of this work (through photographs or receipts). A statement asserting that you served the preliminary notice through a reliable method (overnight mail, certified mail, personal delivery, etc.) should also be included.
Act Quickly When Serving a Preliminary Notice
It's important that you carefully monitor the payments you receive for work completed on a construction project. A preliminary notice is only valid for work completed within the 20 days prior to the service date and forward.
This means that if you wait longer than 20 days to take action in an attempt to secure payment, you could lose out on valuable income. Your attorney will be able to help you evaluate your work schedule to determine which tasks fall within the 20-day time limit and are eligible for inclusion in the work estimate that must be included in your preliminary notice.
If you are waiting on payments for construction work you have completed, contact an attorney with experience in construction law. Your attorney will be able to help you prepare and serve a preliminary notice so that you can begin taking legal action to solicit the payments you are entitled to.
Contact a law office like Sauro & Bergstrom, PLLC for more information and assistance.