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IF I AM A SUBCONTRACTOR ON A PUBLIC WORKS CONTRACT AND NOT BEING PAID, WHAT CAN I DO TO GET PAID?

Subcontractors (and general contractors as well) sometimes find it very difficult to get paid on public works projects. It is not uncommon for many many months to go by after a subcontractor has completed work on a public works project, before the subcontractor gets paid. And when the subcontractor does get paid, it is not uncommon for there to be disputes as to whether work billed as extra work was within the scope of the original subcontract or whether it was indeed extra work to which the subcontractor is entitled to be paid.

If you are a subcontractor on a public works contract and you are not being paid, it is very important that you consult with an attorney and develop a strategy on how to deal with it. There are a myriad of issues relating to enforcing your rights against a senior sub, the general contractor, or the public entity. For example, even though public works construction contracts routinely have provisions that the subcontractor is only to be paid after the general is paid for that work, those types of provisions are generally unenforceable as contrary to public policy. Additionally, if you do not properly prepare and serve a preliminary notice and timely serve a stop notice, your stop notice rights will be waived.

Cash flow for subcontractors tend to be very tight in comparison to the general contractors. Therefore, timely payment can be much more critical and failure to get paid within a reasonable amount of time can be disastrous for a subcontractor. I understand both the need to get paid, and the legal procedures in order to help you get paid. I regularly represent subcontractors relating to payment disputes with senior subs and general contractors. If you believe that you would benefit from a consultation or representation, please feel free to contact me to arrange for a consultation at (510) 465-0025.

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