Bill Seeking to Amend Construction Payment Act Introduced in Pennsylvania’s Legislature

Bill Seeking to Amend Construction Payment Act Introduced in Pennsylvania’s Legislature

On May 18, 2017, Representative David S. Maloney, Sr. (R., Berks County) introduced House Bill 1387, which seeks to amend Pennsylvania’s Contractor and Subcontractor Payment Act (CASPA).  The changes include the inserting language amending CASPA to state the following:

  • A contractor or subcontractor may not contractually waive CASPA rights;
  • Failure to provide written notice of a deficiency item results in a waiver of the right to withhold for the deficiency and requires payment of the invoice in full;
  • If withholding for a deficiency item, payment for all non-deficient work must still be made;
  • If a party receiving an invoice alleges the invoice contains an error, the party must pay the correct invoice amount on the date payment would otherwise be due;
  • A party seeking release of retention may post a maintenance bond for 120% the amount retained to obtain release of retention;
  • Withholding retention for longer than 30 days after “final acceptance of the work” will qualify as an improper withholding unless the appropriate notice requirements are followed;
  • Withholding requirements also apply to subcontractors’ sub-subcontracts with lower-tier subcontractors; and
  • Compliance with the notice requirements for withholding based upon deficiencies is necessary for the withholding to “not be deemed to have been wrongfully withheld.”

Babst Calland will continue to monitor HB 1387 as well as other proposed legislation that may impact the construction industry and post updates on this Blog whenever they become available.

Proposed Amendment to Mechanics’ Lien Law Seeks to Give Architects Lien Rights in Pennsylvania

Proposed Amendment to Mechanics’ Lien Law Seeks to Give Architects Lien Rights in Pennsylvania

Representative Dan Truitt, a Republican serving part of Chester County, Pennsylvania, recently proposed as House Bill 430 legislation that seeks to amend the Pennsylvania’s Mechanics’ Lien Law of 1963 (i.e. the current and applicable mechanics’ lien law, hereinafter referred to as the “Lien Law”) to add “architect, engineer, or other licensed design professional” to the definitions of “contractor” and “subcontractor” that have mechanics’ lien rights.

Under the Lien Law, a mechanics’ lien may only be maintained for payment of debts due by the owner to a “contractor” or by a “contractor” to any of his “subcontractors”. 49 P.S. § 1301.  As of the date of this blog post, the definitions section of the Lien Law defines “contractor” to include “an architect or engineer who, by contract with the owner, express or implied, in addition to the preparation of drawings, specifications and contract documents also superintends or supervises any such erection, construction, alteration or repair.”  49 P.S. § 1201.  The definitions section also states that the term “subcontractor” does not include “an architect or engineer who contracts with a contractor or subcontractor….”  Id. 

Thus, under the current law,  architects only have mechanics’ lien rights if they supervise or “superintend” onsite work for the construction project.  By amending the definitions of “contractor” and “subcontractor” to expressly include architects, engineers and other design professionals, House Bill 430 stands to remove the requirement that design professionals must perform onsite work to have mechanics’ lien rights, thereby significantly expanding what were previously very limited mechanics’ lien rights for design professionals.

House Bill 430 is currently before the House’s Labor and Industry committee.  Babst Calland will continue to monitor the Bill’s status and will post updates on this blog when applicable, so check back often.