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Pennsylvania State Construction Notices Directory Is Now Available

By Danny P. Cerrone, Jr. / Dec 22, 2016

Consistent with the October 2014 amendments to the Pennsylvania Mechanics' Lien Law, the Pennsylvania Department of General Services has created the internet-based State Construction Notices Directory (the "Directory"). The Directory applies to a "searchable project," which is a project in which the construction, alteration or repair costs are $1.5 Million or more. For projects less than $1.5 Million, the amendments do not apply and the existing lien procedures should be followed. The Directory can now be accessed at www.scnd.pa.gov.

There are four types of notices that can, or must in a certain situation, be filed with the Directory: (1) Notice of Commencement; (2) Notice of Furnishing; (3) Notice of Completion; and (4) Notice of Nonpayment.

First, the Project Owner, or its agent, may file a Notice of Commencement with the Directory. The Notice of Commencement must be filed prior to the commencement of any labor, work or materials being furnished for the Project. The Notice of Commencement must include the following: (1) the full name, address and email address of the contractor; (2) the full name and location of the project, including the county in which the project is located; (3) the legal description of the property upon which the project is being constructed, including the tax parcel identification number; (4) the full name, address and email address of the Project Owner; (5) if applicable, the name and contact information of a surety for any performance or payment bonds, including the bond numbers; and (6) the unique identifying number that is assigned to the Notice of Commencement. 

The Project Owner must post a copy of the Notice of Commencement in a conspicuous place at the property prior to the commencement of work. The Project Owner has an obligation to take reasonable measures to ensure that the Notice of Commencement remains posted until the completion of the project. The Project Owner is required to make reasonable efforts to ensure that the Notice of Commencement is made part of the contract documents provided to all subcontractors.

Second, if the Notice of Commencement is properly filed and posted, a subcontractor is required to file a Notice of Furnishing. A subcontractor must file the Notice of Furnishing within 45 days after first performing work or delivering materials to the project. The Notice of Furnishing must include the following: (1) a general description of the labor or materials furnished; (2) the full name and address of person supplying the labor or materials; (3) the full name and address of the person that contracted for the labor or materials furnished by the subcontractor; and (4) a sufficient description of the project in order to identify it based on the description set forth in the Notice of Commencement. The failure to "substantially comply" with these requirements will result in the forfeiture of lien rights. 

Third, a Project Owner may file a Notice of Completion within 45 days of the actual completion of work. The Notice of Completion is filed for informational purposes only.

Fourth, and also for informational purposes only, a subcontractor may file a Notice of Nonpayment when payment is not received. The failure to file the Notice of Nonpayment does not impair lien rights, nor does the Notice of Nonpayment relieve a subcontractor from its obligation to comply with the requirements to perfect a mechanics' lien.

It is important that subcontractors/suppliers remember that they must still serve formal notice and file a mechanics' lien, as required by the Lien Law. Simply filing a Notice of Commencement, without serving formal notice and/or filing a mechanics' lien, will not preserve a subcontractor/supplier's lien rights.

Should you have any questions regarding the Lien Law, please feel free to contact me at dcerrone@clarkhill.com or 412-394-7757.