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Is Preliminary Notice Required on Public Construction Projects?

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In the world of construction, one of the fundamental ways that projects are classified is by project type. Generally speaking, all projects fall into one of two basic categories — a project is either PRIVATE (meaning the work is being done on privately-owned land or property) or PUBLIC (where the project is government-owned).

There are several subcategories within each of those broad segments. (For example, a private project can be commercial, residential, etc.) Typically, the requirements and deadlines are going to be different for each category and subcategory.

This post is going to take a look at the preliminary notice requirements on public projects.

Public Project Subcategories

But first, let’s take a closer look at “Public Projects.” There are two main subcategories for public construction projects:

FEDERAL projects which are “owned” by the federal government, and,

STATE projects which include projects that are “owned” at the state, county, or municipal level.

Follow this link to read more about how to distinguish between different public projects.

The Remedy for Payment Issues on Public Projects

For Federal Projects:

Generally speaking, the remedy for a payment issue on a Federal project is going to be a claim against a payment bond as mandated by the Miller Act.

Regarding notice requirements on federal projects, they are none. To repeat: there is NO preliminary notice requirement on a federal construction project.

Further Reading

If you experience a payment issue on a federal construction project, be sure to proceed with caution! Even though the Miller Act is available nationwide, utilizing it to remedy a payment issue isn’t always cut and dried. For more information on what to look for, read the following article:

Getting Paid on Federal Construction Projects – 3 Things You Must Know

For State Projects:

Each state has its own law that provides legal tools for construction industry participants to leverage when they encounter payment issues on state-owned (also county and municipal) construction projects. Collectively, these laws are known as the “Little Miller Acts,” and the remedy they provide is the ability to submit a claim against a payment bond if unpaid on a state-owned project.

Preliminary Notice Requirements for Public Projects

As we stated above, there is no preliminary notice requirement for anyone participating on a federal construction project. However, this is not the case with state projects.

In order to retain the right to submit a bond claim on a state-owned construction project, some states do require a project participant to send a preliminary notice prior to submitting a bond claim. Sending this notice is subject to its own set of requirements and deadlines which both vary from state to state.

This notice requirement is extremely important – if notice is required and it’s not sent, then your right to submit a bond claim may be forfeited, leaving you without access to one of the most powerful tools available to remedy payment issues.

And even if your state does not require a preliminary notice, at zlien we believe it is a best practice to send one anyway because it promotes transparency and a good working relationship.

Free Resource

We’ve got a quick 1-pg guide available that shows which shows which states require notice on public, state-owned projects and which don’t. Click on the button below to download your free copy.

Preliminary Notice on a Public Project?

Is Preliminary Notice Required on Public Construction Projects?
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Is Preliminary Notice Required on Public Construction Projects?
Not sure if preliminary notice is required on a public construction project? Read this post for a quick overview of notice requirements on public projects.
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Last Updated on Dec 03, 2018
Published on Apr 05, 2018


Peter is zlien's Content Manager. He works to create useful content that makes the mechanics lien and construction payment process simple, easy, and fair for everyone in the construction industry.

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