Construction Law

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Specially-Fabricated Materials Liens

As your Lakeland contractor lawyers, we know that in the construction business, a contractor will have the ability to lien for any labor, materials or services incorporated into a project. However, like most rules, there is an exception. With specially-fabricated materials, a contractor can lien for those items even if they are not incorporated into the project. Typically, the majority of the materials used on a project won’t be specially-fabricated (specially made), which means that they can be used on other projects.

1. What Is The Difference Between Specially-Ordered And Specially-Fabricated?

Specially-ordered materials are not available at the supply house. These must be specially ordered at the customer’s request. An example of a specially-ordered material can be specific tile, like terracotta or ceramic. Though this is something that is specially ordered, it’s something that could be used again for a different project.

Specially-fabricated materials are created specifically for a project, and therefore can’t be reused for another project. This kind of material is typically specially cut material with specific dimensions. For example, non-uniform sheet metal manufacturing may occur on specific projects and can include specially-fabricated vent stacks, panels, and attic vents. Because these materials were made for one particular project and cannot be used again, a contractor can lien for those items. The lien can occur even if they have not been brought to the job site or incorporated into the project.

2. How Can A Contractor Lien For Specially-Fabricated Items

A contractor can request lien for the specially-fabricated items used only if the customer refuses possession or refuses to pay for the costs. If the reason that the specially-fabricated materials were not used during the project was because of the customer’s acts or omissions and not the contractor’s fault, there is cause for a lien.

3. Proof Needed For A Lien

Florida law dictates that a showing that the materials were delivered to the project site is evidence that the materials were, in fact, incorporated into the project. As your Lakeland contractor lawyer, we advise you to be aware that the time period for service of the Notice to Owner begins to run when the fabrication of the materials begins, not when the materials are delivered to the site. In other words, if you are a contractor or supplier not directly contracting with the owner, you need to prepare and serve your Notice to Owner even sooner than you normally would, at least within 45 days of beginning fabrication of any materials custom-made for the project.

To speak with one of our qualified Lakeland contractor lawyers, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.