North Dakota Bond Claim (Little Miller Act) Overview

It’s easy to file and manage your North Dakota bond claims with zlien, the industry’s only all-in-one bond claim and security rights management platform. Get complete control over your bond claim rights on a state, county, or municipal project, by using intelligent technology. To learn more about North Dakota’s bond claim laws and requirements, read the frequently asked questions below.

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North Dakota

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
None / not applicable.

North Dakota

Bond Claim Deadlines
None / not applicable.

North Dakota

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
None / not applicable.

North Dakota

Bond Claim Deadlines
90 Days

For those who did not contract with the prime, must file a bond claim with the prime contractor within 90 days of last furnishing labor or materials to the project (good practice for those who did contract with prime as well). Enforcement lawsuit must be filed within 1 year of final completion and acceptance of the project.

North Dakota

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
None / not applicable.

North Dakota

Bond Claim Deadlines
90 Days

For those who did not contract with the prime, must file a bond claim with the prime contractor within 90 days of last furnishing labor or materials to the project (good practice for those who did contract with prime as well). Enforcement lawsuit must be filed within 1 year of final completion and acceptance of the project.

North Dakota Bond Claim (Little Miller Act) FAQs

North Dakota Bond Claim FAQs

Who Is Protected under North Dakota Bond Claim Laws?

Any party who furnished labor and/or materials to a general, or first or second-tier subcontractor on a bonded public project is entitled to make a claim on the bond in the event of non-payment. Although not specifically mentioned in the statutory language, it is likely that suppliers to suppliers are not covered.

When is the Deadline to File a North Dakota Bond Claim?

In North Dakota, a bond claim must be received within 90 days after the claimant’s last furnishing of labor and/or material to the project.

Who Should Receive the North Dakota Bond Claim?

North Dakota only specifically requires that the general contractor receive the bond claim. However, it may be advisable to also send a copy of the bond claim to the contracting public entity and the surety, if known.

When is the Deadline to Initiate Suit, or, How Long is My North Dakota Bond Claim Effective?

An action to enforce the bond claim must be initiated more than 90 days after the claimant’s last furnishing of labor and/or materials to the project, but no later than 1 year after completion and acceptance of the entire project. Note that it may be possible for a claimant contracting with a subcontractor to enforce its claim against that subcontractor outside of this statutory time limit.

What Must the North Dakota Bond Claim Include?

A bond claim in North Dakota must include the amount claimed, and the name pf the party to whom the labor and/or materials were furnished. It may also be advisable to include the name of the public entity and general contractor (if claimant did not contract directly with the general), as well as some identification of the project and the labor and/or materials furnished.

What Are the Lien Waiver Rules?

North Dakota does not have statutory lien waiver forms, and therefore, you can use any lien waiver forms. Since lien waivers are unregulated, be careful when reviewing and signing lien waivers. See this article: Should You Sign That Lien Waiver?.

North Dakota state law is unclear or silent about whether contractors and suppliers can waive their lien rights before any work on the project begins. Accordingly, you want to proceed with caution on this subject. You can learn more about such “no lien clauses” at this article: Where Can You Waive Your Lien Rights Before Payment?

Can Suppliers to Suppliers File Bond Claims?

No, suppliers to suppliers likely cannot file a bond claim in North Dakota.

How Must the North Dakota Bond Claim Be Sent?

The bond claim must be sent by registered mail, and may be sent to the general contractor’s office, residence, or anywhere the general contractor conducts business. It is likely advisable to ensure actual receipt of the claim, as it is not clear from the statutes whether merely sending the claim is enough to preserve the claimant’s rights without actual receipt.

North Dakota Public Project Preliminary Notice FAQs

Do I Need to Send a North Dakota Preliminary Notice?

No. North Dakota does not require preliminary notice to be sent to preserve the right to make a claim on the contractor’s bond on a public project if the claimant is otherwise entitled to make a bond claim. However, any party may send notice if they so desire.

When do I Need to Send a North Dakota Preliminary Notice?

N/A

What if I Send the North Dakota Preliminary Notice Late?

N/A

How Should the North Dakota Preliminary Notice be Sent?

N/A

To Whom Must the North Dakota Preliminary Notice be Given?

N/A

North Dakota Bond Claim (Little Miller Act) Statutes

When you perform work on a state construction project in North Dakota , and are not paid, you can file a “lien” against the project pursuant to North Dakota’s Little Miller Act. Since the claim is not against the state or county’s actual property, but instead against a posted bond, the claim is not really called a “lien” but is more frequently referred to as a “bond claim” or “little miller act claim.”

North Dakota’s Little Miller Act is found in North Dakota Century Code, Title 48, Chapter 48-01.2, and is reproduced below.

North Dakota Little Miller Act

48-01.2-01. Definitions.

In this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

1.      “Agency construction management” means a public improvement delivery method through which a person provides to a governing body experienced construction management services, including ideas on constructability, documentation of design and construction, and coordination of project schedules.

2.      “Architect” means an individual registered as an architect under chapter 43-03.

3.      “Common ownership” means a shared management or ownership interest in two or more entities.

4.      “Construction” means the process of building, altering, repairing, improving, or demolishing any public structure or building or other improvement to any public property. The term does not include the routine operation or maintenance of existing facilities, structures, buildings, or real property or demolition projects costing less than one hundred thousand dollars.

5.      “Construction administration” means administrative services provided by a governing body or an architect, a landscape architect, or an engineer, and includes providing clarifications, submittal review, recommendations for payment, preparation of change orders, and other administrative services included in the agreement with the architect, landscape architect, or engineer. The term does not include supervision of the construction activities for the construction contracts.

6.      “Construction management at-risk” means a public improvement delivery method through which a construction manager provides advice to the governing body during the planning and design phase of a public improvement, negotiates a contract with the governing body for the general construction bid package of the public improvement, and contracts with subcontractors and suppliers for the actual construction of the public improvement.

7.      “Construction manager” means a contractor licensed under chapter 43-07 or an individual employed by a licensed contractor which has the expertise and resources to assist a governing body with the management of the design, contracting, and construction aspects of a public improvement.

8.      “Construction observation” means observation of construction work and site visits by an architect, a landscape architect, or an engineer to assist the governing body in determining that the work conforms in general to the requirements of the construction contract and that the contractor has implemented and maintained the integrity of the design concept of a project as a functioning whole as indicated in the construction contract.

9.      “Contract” means a type of agency agreement for the procurement of services under this chapter.

10.    “Contractor” means any person, duly licensed, that undertakes or enters a contract with a governing body for the construction or construction management of any public improvement, including multiple prime contracts.

11.    “Design services” means architect services, engineer services, landscape architect services, or surveyor services.

12.    “Design-bid-build” means a project delivery method in which design and construction of the project are in sequential phases, and in which the first project phase involves design services, the second project phase involves securing a contractor through a bidding process, and the third project phase provides for construction of the project by a contractor awarded the project.

13.    “Emergency situation” means a sudden generally unexpected occurrence that requires immediate action to protect public health, safety, or property and which ends when the immediate threat to public health, safety, or property ceases and services are restored. The term does not include a lack of planning on the part of the governing body, architect, engineer, landscape architect, or contractor.

14.    “Engineer” means an individual registered as an engineer under chapter 43-19.

15.    “General conditions” means the written portion of a contract setting forth the governing body’s minimum acceptable performance requirements, including the rights, responsibilities, and relationships of the parties involved in the performance of the contract.

16.    “Governing body” means the governing officer or board of a state entity or a political subdivision.

17.    “Guaranteed maximum price” means the maximum amount a construction manager at-risk may be paid under a contract to construct a public improvement.

18.    “Landscape architect services” means landscape architecture services governed under chapter 43-03.

19.    “Lowest responsible bidder” means the lowest best bidder for the project considering past experience, financial condition, past work with the governing body, and other pertinent attributes that may be identified in the advertisement for bids.

20.    “Public improvement” means any improvement undertaken by a governing body for the good of the public and which is paid for with public funds and constructed on public land or within a public building and includes an improvement on public or nonpublic land if any portion of the construction phase of the project is paid for with public funds. The term does not include a county road construction and maintenance, state highway, or public service commission project governed by title 11, 24, or 38.

21.    “Subcontractor” means a person that contracts to perform work or render a service to a contractor or to another subcontractor as part of a contract with a governing body.

48-01.2-09. Contract with successful bidder.

A governing body shall enter a contract with the lowest responsible bidder as determined under section 48-01.2-07. The contract must contain the following:

1.      The written terms of the agreement and any associated document signed by the governing body and the contractor;

2.      The required surety bond; and

3.      Any other document deemed appropriate by the governing body and identified in the advertisement for bids.

48-01.2-10. Bonds from contractors for public improvements.

1.      Unless otherwise provided under this chapter, a governing body authorized to enter a contract for the construction of a public improvement in excess of one hundred thousand dollars shall take from the contractor a bond before permitting any work to be done on the contract. The bond must be for an amount equal at least to the price stated in the contract. The bond must be conditioned to be void if the contractor and all subcontractors fully perform all terms, conditions, and provisions of the contract and pay all bills or claims on account of labor performed and any supplies, and materials furnished and used in the performance of the contract, including all demands of subcontractors. The requirement that bills and claims be paid must include the requirement that interest of the amount authorized under section 13-01-14 be paid on bills and claims not paid within ninety days. The bond is security for all bills, claims, and demands until fully paid, with preference to labor and material suppliers as to payment. The bond must run to the governing body, but any person having a lawful claim against the contractor or any subcontractor may sue on the bond.

2.      A governing body may not require any person required to provide a surety bond to obtain the surety bond from a specified insurance or surety company or insurance producer or to submit financial data to the company or producer.

48-01.2-11. Claim for public improvement - Suit on contractor's bond.

A person that has furnished labor or material for any public improvement for which a bond is furnished and has not been paid in full within ninety days after completion of the contribution of labor or materials may sue on the bond for the amount unpaid at the time of institution of suit. However, a person having a direct contractual relationship with a subcontractor, but no contractual relationship with the contractor furnishing the bond, does not have a claim for relief upon the bond unless that person has given written notice to the contractor, within ninety days from the date on which the person completed the contribution, stating with substantial accuracy the amount claimed and the name of the person for which the contribution was performed. The notice must be served by registered mail in an envelope addressed to the contractor at any place the contractor maintains an office, conducts business, or has a residence. A governing body shall provide a certified copy of the bond and the contract for which the bond was given to any individual who submits an affidavit that either the individual has supplied labor or materials for the improvement and that payment has not been made or that the individual is being sued on the bond. The individual requesting the copy shall pay the actual cost of the preparation of the certified copy of the bond and the contract. The certified copy of the bond is prima facie evidence of the contents, execution, and delivery of the original.

48-01.2-12. Claims - When barred as liens against contractor and surety.

Any claim for any labor, material, or supply furnished for an improvement, upon which a suit is not commenced within one year after completion and acceptance of the project, is barred as a lien or claim against the contractor and the contractor’s surety and any right of setoff or counterclaim may be enforced in any court in this state against the governing body, the contractor, or the contractor’s surety. This chapter does not bar the right of any person who has furnished any labor, supply, or material to any subcontractor to enforce the claim against the subcontractor.

48-01.2-23. Bond required.

1.      An agency construction manager, before starting any work, shall provide the governing body with a bond that is equal to the cost of the agency construction manager’s services with the governing body. Each contractor performing services on the public improvement shall provide the governing body with a separate bond for the contractor’s portion of the public improvement.

2.      A construction manager at-risk, before starting any construction, shall provide the governing body with a bond in an amount at least equal to the amount of the guaranteed maximum price. The bond must be conditioned to be void if the contractor and all subcontractors fully perform all terms, conditions, and provisions of the construction services contract and pay all bills or claims on account of labor and materials, including supplies used for machinery and equipment, performed, furnished, and used in the performance of the contract, including all demands of subcontractors. The requirement that bills and claims be paid must include the requirement that interest of the amount authorized under section 13-01.1-02 be paid on bills and claims not paid within ninety days. The bond is security for all bills, claims, and demands until fully paid, with preference to labor and material suppliers as to payment. The bond must run to the governing body, but any person having a lawful claim against the contractor may sue on the bond.

3.      Each mechanical contractor and electrical contractor providing work on a public improvement project that utilizes the construction management at-risk delivery method shall provide the governing body with a separate bond for the contractor’s portion of the public improvement.