Construction Contracts and Mechanics Lien Laws | Victorville Contractors

If you have never signed a construction contract before, you may not be familiar with California’s mechanics lien laws and notification requirements. While the language sounds a bit strange, and maybe a little ominous, in most building projects, mechanics lien laws involve nothing more than the sending and receiving of various required notifications.

However, it is still important for property owners who are entering a construction contract to understand what these laws say, what you can expect regarding mechanics lien notifications during construction or renovation of your property, and how these laws protect the rights to payment for subcontractors, suppliers, and other construction workers and professionals.

Mechanics Lien Laws and High Desert Construction

A lien is a legal right given to some parties, allowing them to put a claim on another person’s property to satisfy unpaid labor and costs associated with work done by the claimant. In construction, mechanics liens are used by subcontractors and material suppliers to give them a means of getting paid, if the general contractor fails to pay them.

The basic idea of mechanics liens goes back as far as 1754 BC and the Code of Hammurabi, and the rights of subcontractors and suppliers to make a claim for payment is accorded by the California Constitution, Art. XIV § 3. California’s mechanics lien laws were updated in 2012 to bring them into line with current construction practices and terminology. Design professionals, engineers, architects, and landscape architects also have these rights under California law.

How Mechanics Lien Laws Work on a Building Project

During a construction project, the main contractor who has direct contact with the owner may hire subcontractors such as electrical contractors, sheetrock contractors, plumbing contractors, architects, engineers, and other construction professionals. These subcontractors, and building supply companies furnishing significant materials to the project, file a special notice with the County Recorder’s office, protecting their lien rights. Owners and lenders must receive notification of these preliminary notices within 20 days of filing.

Most construction projects never result in anyone filing a claim for a mechanics lien, and this provision is little more than a part of the required paperwork of the construction contract. The best way of assuring as an owner that mechanics liens are never more than this is by working with a trusted and experienced construction specialist like Murphy Construction.

Contact our team for more information on what you need to know about construction contracts for your building project.