Jun 22, 2020

Lien Waiver Senate Bill Passes Georgia House of Representatives

new construction bill

The Georgia House of Representatives has followed the State Senate’s lead and passed Senate Bill (SB) 315[1] to restore statutory lien and bond waivers to their original intended purpose of waiving lien and bond rights only. We informed you in previous SGR Construction Blogs of SB 315 and its goal of addressing the confusion caused by ALA Construction Services, LLC v. Controlled Access, Inc.[2], in which the Georgia Court of Appeals held that Georgia statutory lien waivers can also waive breach of contract claims.[3] Prior to the ALA Construction decision, most Georgia construction professionals understood that Georgia statutory forms only… Read more

Apr 7, 2020

Does Georgia’s Stay-at-Home Order Apply to Construction Projects?

GA Essential Construction Order

On Thursday, April 2, Governor Brian Kemp signed an executive order (the “Order”) requiring Georgians to shelter in place until April 13 at 11:59 p.m. The stay-at-home order, titled “Executive Order to Ensure a Safe & Healthy Georgia,” replaces all prior stay-at-home orders issued by local governmental bodies and prohibits localities from varying the Order’s requirements.  The Order is available here. How does Georgia’s stay-at-home order affect your construction project? Unfortunately, the Order is unclear.  However, at least some private projects could be stopped by the Order. The Order divides all businesses, including contractors and subcontractors, into Critical and Non-Critical Infrastructure. … Read more

Apr 6, 2020

Georgia Senate Passes Bill to Address Recent Lien Waiver Controversy

Construction Lien

The Georgia State Senate recently passed a bill designed to address the scope of statutory interim and final lien waivers in light of the recent decision in ALA Construction Services, LLC v. Controlled Access, Inc.[1] In a previous SGR Construction Blog, we informed you of the Georgia Court of Appeals’ holding in ALA Construction that Georgia statutory lien waivers can also waive breach of contract claims.[2] This decision created great confusion within the construction industry, as most construction professionals previously understood the statutory forms as waiving lien and bond rights only. Senate Bill (SB) 315[3], introduced by Sen. Lindsey Tippins… Read more

Nov 5, 2019

Georgia’s Court of Appeals Holds that Lien Waivers Waive Breach of Contract Claims

breach of contract

A recent decision by the Georgia Court of Appeals will force most construction professionals to radically change their view of the scope and effect of statutory lien waivers in the state of Georgia. In ALA Construction Services, LLC v. Controlled Access, Inc., the Court of Appeals held that a lien claimant’s executed statutory lien waiver waived not only the claimant’s lien right but also rights the claimant may have to bring a related breach of contract action.[1] In ALA Construction, ALA Construction Services, LLC (“ALA”), contracted with Controlled Access, Inc. (“Controlled Access”), to provide equipment and other services for a project… Read more

Jun 28, 2019

Letter Agreements: Risks, Purpose, and What to Include

letter agreement

In the fast-paced construction market, contractors on smaller projects, and even some contractors on bigger projects, might be asked to begin work before entering into a formal written contract.  While oral agreements can be binding and enforceable[1], they are not recommended because they leave the substantial possibility that the parties will later disagree over their respective interpretations of the agreement or whether an agreement was reached at all.  At the risk of stating the obvious – it always makes sense for construction professionals to put their agreements in writing before any work begins. When a formal contract is not possible,… Read more

May 13, 2019

House Bill 311 – Seeking Limitations on Sovereign Immunity

House Bill 311, sponsored by Rep. Andy Welch (R-McDonough) and passed by both the House and the Senate, was recently vetoed by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp.  Generally speaking, the purpose of the Bill was to reduce the government’s ability to claim sovereign immunity and allow Georgia citizens the ability to seek judicial relief against public entities and officials that they believe have committed unconstitutional and unlawful acts. House Bill 311 was the General Assembly’s response to a 2017 abortion rights case in which the Georgia Supreme Court held that Georgia citizens could not seek injunctions or declaratory judgments against a… Read more

May 2, 2019

Failure to Provide Proper Itemization Under Section 38 of the New York Lien Law Fatal to Maintaining a Mechanic’s Lien

New York Lien Law

The New York Lien Law provides broad rights to contractors, subcontractors and materialmen who improve real property.  However, the right to file a mechanic’s lien is not without obligation on the lienor who must, within five days of receipt of a demand under Section 38 of the Lien Law, provide a verified, itemized statement detailing the value of the labor and materials that comprise its claimed lien amount.  A property owner faced with a lienor who refuses or fails to adequately itemize its mechanic’s lien may bring a petition before the court to seek a proper itemization.  If the lienor… Read more

Jul 31, 2018

Hands-Free Georgia Act and Restriction on Police Power to Obtain Cellphone Data

Hands-Free Cell Phone Usage while Driving

On July 1, 2018, Georgia’s new distracted driving law went into effect.  The new law is officially called the “Hands-Free Georgia Act” and it includes important new provisions relating to the use of “wireless telecommunications devices”[i] while driving a motor vehicle in Georgia.  The Act seeks to curb the use of cell phones while driving by requiring the use of blue tooth or hands-free calling.  As summarized in our article from last month, the long and short of it is that you are not allowed to hold your phone while driving. Many people may be curious to know how the… Read more

Jun 25, 2018

Georgia’s New Distracted Driving Law

Hands-Free Cell Phone Holder to Prevent Distracted Driving

On July 1, 2018, Georgia’s new distracted driving law will go into effect. The new law is officially called the “Hands-Free Georgia Act” and it includes important new provisions relating to the use of “wireless telecommunications devices”[i] while driving a motor vehicle in Georgia. It was already illegal to text and drive in Georgia, but now it is more difficult to use your cell phone at all, unless you have blue tooth or hands-free calling. The Act, which will be found at O.C.G.A. § 40-6-241, states in pertinent part that: While operating a motor vehicle on any highway of this… Read more

Mar 22, 2018

Construction Contract Clauses: An Intro to Pay-if-Paid vs. Pay-when-Paid

Construction Contract

If you are a contractor, subcontractor, or supplier in the construction industry, you’ve likely heard the terms “pay-if-paid” and “pay-when-paid.”  Payment provisions are some of the most controversial and heavily negotiated provisions in construction contracts. This article defines the pay-if-paid and pay-when-paid provisions, explains their differences, and provides guidance on how to recognize them in practice. Pay-if-paid and pay-when-paid clauses can alter the normal (i.e., common law) payment obligations running from the contractor to its subcontractor (or subcontractor to its supplier).  Without a contract clause or state statute[i] addressing payment obligations, payment for construction work is due on substantial completion… Read more