Construction Managers in Washington Cannot File Mechanics Liens

Construction Managers in Washington Cannot File Mechanics LiensLast year I was involved with a case in Washington that asked the courts this very question, and the courts replied negatively. At the current time, therefore, construction managers do not have mechanics lien rights in the state of Washington.

The case was Blue Diamond Group Inc v. KB Seattle, Inc.. The construction manager here was Blue Diamond Group, and they were hired to perform management services on the project the included coordinating the project schedule and the scheduling of trades, doing financial work to process payment applications, and otherwise helping to manage the construction work performed at Westfield’s Southcenter Mall in Tukwila, Washington.

The issue was presented to Washington’s appeals court, but it resolved the issue by determining construction managers were not authorized to file mechanics liens in the state because they were neither “laborers” nor providers of “professional services.” To qualify as a laborer, the court reasoned, a construction manager had to actually do work on-site, which Blue Diamond Group did not do.  To qualify as a professional service, the organization had to provide “surveying” type work or be a licensed architect, engineer or some other statutorily defined profession – which it was not.

Short of any legislative changes or an overturning of Blue Diamond Group, construction managers are without lien rights in Washington.

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Scott Wolfe Jr

About Scott Wolfe Jr

Scott Wolfe Jr. is the CEO of zlien, a company that provides software and services to help building material supply and construction companies reduce their credit risk and default receivables through the management of mechanics lien and bond claim compliance. He is also the founding author of The Lien and Credit Journal, a leading online publication about liens, security instruments and getting paid on every account. Scott is a licensed attorney in six states with extensive experience in corporate credit management and collections law, with a specific emphasis on utilizing mechanic liens, UCC filings and other security instruments to protect and manage receivables. You can connect with him via Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.