The new — and much anticipated — Pennsylvania State Construction Notices Directory (“Directory”) is expected to go live this December 31. With this rollout, the PA legislature will have established a statewide directory system for owners to list projects and create a new lien notice requirement for projects in excess of $1.5 million. The Directory for the Pennsylvania Mechanics’ Lien Law, which was signed into law in October 2014, provides the following important changes:
- If an owner (or its authorized agent) registers a project with the Directory, all subcontractors and suppliers on the project must file a notice of furnishing within 45 days of commencing work or first providing materials. Project registration (through a Notice of Commencement) is optional for owners and is in no way required by the new law. Owners, however, may use the directory to limit the pool of potential lien claimants to those that notify the owner they will be working on the project.
- The Directory will be searchable and will allow users to search for registered projects by owner, contractor, property address, and a unique identifying number.
- Failure to file timely the Notice of Furnishing will result in the loss of the subcontractor or supplier’s lien rights on the project. As before, subcontractors, sub-subcontractors and suppliers must still provide owners with a written notice of intention to file a lien claim at least 30 days before filing.
- Other notices that can be filed—but are not required to be filed—include a Notice of Completion (an owner filing) and a Notice of Nonpayment (a contractor/supplier filing).
- In part, the purpose of the Directory is to help owners and their agents to obtain proof of payment to lower-tiered contractors that provide notice as required in the Directory. Owners can then assess the risk of liens being filed and facilitate payment to those who are still owed for performing work on the project. The notices may also help lower-tiered contractors and suppliers monitor the status of the project and its completion.
With these new changes to the Pennsylvania Mechanics’ Lien Law, the attorneys in the Firm’s Construction Practice Group welcome any questions or concerns you may have.
Jason A. Copley is the Managing Partner of Cohen Seglias and a Partner in the Construction Group. His practice is focused on representing contractors, subcontractors and owners in the areas of construction and commercial litigation.
Lisa M. Wampler is a Partner in the Construction Group of Cohen Seglias and the Managing Partner of the Firm’s Pittsburgh Office. She has an active and diverse construction litigation practice and represents owners, general contractors, construction managers and the different trades.
Daniel E. Fierstein is an Associate in the Construction Group of Cohen Seglias and focuses his practice on construction law. Dan counsels clients at all tiers of the construction industry, including general contractors, subcontractors, owners, developers, and design professionals.