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Navigating Legal Challenges in Construction Projects in Olympia

It’s practically inevitable that something won’t go precisely as planned while you’re working on a construction job. While it’s usually easy to get back on track and finish work to everyone’s ultimate satisfaction, things can occasionally go haywire. Understanding your legal rights and best practices will help you increase your chances of winning, preferably without going to court, if you’re dealing with a disgruntled client who is refusing to pay or threatening to sue you. For Olympia, WA construction liens, contact a lawyer.

Understanding preliminary notice:

Every person who labors on or supplies resources for a construction project has to be paid in full, but if you don’t follow mechanics lien rules, such as delivering a preliminary notice, it might jeopardize your ability to pursue payment. 

A claimant must serve a preliminary notice, commonly known as a 20-day preliminary notice, within 20 days after supplying labor or supplies to a private works project. This notice informs the project’s owner that a subcontractor or material supplier is supplying labor or materials and, if the direct contractor doesn’t pay them, will file a mechanic’s lien, issue a stop payment notice, or make a claim on a payment bond to ensure payment of the outstanding sum.

When should a preliminary notice be issued?

Ideally, a preliminary notice should be issued before work begins, but it can be served at any time. It covers all labor and supplies contributed from 20 days before the notice’s date until the conclusion of contributions to the project. You run a higher risk of not getting paid if you don’t give a preliminary notice since you can’t later file a construction lien, stop payment, or bond claim. A late notice may also reduce the amount you are entitled to receive. Sending an advance notification needs to be a standard part of your workflow on every assignment, not something you contemplate after an issue has already developed.

Final thoughts:

It may be to your advantage to have a construction expert assess the project and offer supporting testimony if a client files a claim against you alleging construction faults or damage brought on by construction problems. An expert witness is required to draw conclusions from the case’s facts, even though you, as a construction lawyer, could potentially be in a more favorable position than a client to prove that the work was carried out in an excellent, workmanlike way and that any damages were not caused by your actions.

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