This blog focuses on real estate, land use and construction-related topics affecting Virginia and the Washington, D.C. metro area. With topics ranging from contract drafting and negotiation to local and regional land use project updates, the attorneys at Bean, Kinney & Korman provide timely insight and commentary on the issues affecting owners, builders, developers, contractors, subcontractors and other players in the industry. If you are interested in having us cover a specific topic, please let us know.

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Posts in Mechanic's Liens.

Please contact commercial leasing attorney John Kelly jkelly@beankinney.com should you have any questions concerning this article or require assistance.

Earlier this year, Judge Bellows of the Circuit Court for Fairfax County found that repairing and replacing exterior building components including terrace soffits did not constitute an “improvement” for purposes of Virginia’s statute of repose. Now another court has limited what can constitute an “improvement” under Virginia’s mechanics’ lien statute.

We have recently discussed the need for construction industry players to know the basics of liens and bonds. We have also examined one case example of what can go wrong in mechanic’s lien matters by examining the failed Granby Tower project in Norfolk. Expanding on this thread, we will now turn to laying out some of the basics in our local jurisdictions for filing mechanic's liens. Thanks in particular to Juanita Ferguson, another construction litigator in our firm, whose upcoming newsletter article on liens and bonds formed the framework of this post.

September 28, 2009
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The current state of the economy makes clear that cash-flow is king in the construction industry. As our last post discussing the failed Granby Tower project in Norfolk demonstrates, even very high profile projects can suffer disastrous failures if the players have not addressed financing issues appropriately. For both general contractors and subcontractors, the first key to protecting yourself is to know the applicable rules of the game regarding mechanic’s liens and payment bonds.

  • Know the timing requirements – failing to comply can and often will be fatal to your claim
  • Know the precise contents of required bond and lien notices – again, failure is not an option
  • Do not assume that all states are the same – with regards to both liens and bonds, you must know the applicable rules for each state in which you are doing work, and states differ substantially on form, content, and timing of required notices
  • For bonds, obtain copies of the bonds before you start work as a subcontractor – on private jobs, the bond terms will control and your notices need to comply with the bond or again your claim may fail
  • Do the research before the last second - you do not want to find out no day 91 that your lien notice was required on day 90; it is best to know the requirements before the job starts
  • Associated corollary - if possible, spare your lawyer the heart attack and get them involved early, before the last second!

As noted earlier today, we had the opportunity to post on the Construction Law Musings blog today as a guest blogger.  The post discusses litigation involving the failed Granby Tower project in Norfolk, Virginia - Norfolk inhabitants will likely know this project as the excavated hole in the ground downtown filling with water for the last couple years.