Contractors, subcontractors and suppliers on federal, state and municipal public works projects are subject to a different set of obligations and conditions than those found on private projects. Federal projects (such as military bases, federal office buildings, etc.) are governed by a statute referred to as “The Miller Act” or “The Big Miller Act“. State of Georgia public works projects fall under a Georgia statute commonly referred to as Georgia’s “Little Miller Act“. Although both federal and state construction bidding, contracting, bonding and payment statutes are similar, there are some very important differences, and the surety bond attorneys at the Cobb Law Group understand how to navigate these statutes to protect and enforce your interests. Furthermore, our statewide practice allows us to assist you on any federal, state or municipal project located anywhere in Georgia.
Experienced Payment Bond Claim Attorneys: The construction law attorneys at the Cobb Law Group has successfully handled 1000s of Payment Bond claims on Federal, State of Georgia and private construction projects. We have worked on military bases, schools, colleges, and infrastructure projects to help our clients get paid. Understanding the deadlines, the evidence required, and how to persuasively present a claim is the first-step to making a valid claim. In the event that payment is not forthcoming, then our attorneys are experience in perfecting the bond claim by filing suit against the principal and the surety.
Bond Requirements: Both the Federal Miller Act and Georgia’s Little Miller Act require that most public works projects be bonded. The contractor (and, frequently also subcontractors) must furnish a performance bond and payment bond for the benefit of the government entity building the project. Although these statutes assist subcontractors and material suppliers to get paid, they also limit the right of subcontractors and suppliers to initiate suit to collect unpaid balances. In addition, these statutes have notice requirements and deadlines in order to preserve or protect a claimant’s bond rights.
Georgia Has Separate Statutes for State of Georgia Projects and Local Municipality Projects: Although most construction professionals understand that there are some vital differences between the federal and state payment bond statutes, they are seldom aware that Georgia has separate statutes governing construction projects owned by the State of Georgia and those owned by local governments (local governments are defined as “any county, municipal corporation, consolidated government, authority, board of education or other public board, body, commission….” O.C.G.A. § 36-91-2). Projects for the State of Georgia are governed by O.C.G.A. § 13-10-1 et seq.;and O.C.G.A. § 36-91-90 et seq. governs payment bonds required by local governments. Consequently, it is vital to a claimant’s case to know the requirements and differences of each section.
We Represent All Tiers of Construction Professionals Throughout Georgia: The Georgia construction lawyers at the Cobb Law Group provide guidance to state agencies and municipal governments, design professionals such as architects and engineers, prime contractors, specialty subcontractors, and material suppliers involved in government construction projects. We also serve as counsel to in-house attorneys that need assistance in navigating the complex federal regulations and surety disputes.
What Are Payment Bonds: Payment bonds are required on most Federal projects, State of Georgia projects, and Georgia municipal projects. The principal (usually the prime contractor or subcontractor) purchases an insurance product (the Payment Bond) from a surety (guarantee) which promises payment to those down-stream from the principal (the subcontractors and suppliers) in the event of a default in payment. In the event that the principal defaults on the payment, then a claim against the payment bond may be made that the subcontractor or supplier who is owed money. Payment Bonds are also commonly used on private projects.
What Are Performance Bonds: Performance bonds are required on most Federal projects, State of Georgia projects and Georgia municipal projects. The principal (usually the general contractor or a subcontractor) purchases the Performance Bond from a surety (insurance company) which promises to the project owner (the Obligee) that the principal will fully perform under its construction contract. Although Performance Bonds are not required on privately-owned projects, they are often used.
What are the Deadlines for Filing a Payment Bond Claim? Because there are many different types of payment bonds and laws governing the requirements of the payment bonds (e.g., The Miller Act governs Federal Public Works Projects, Georgia’s Little Miller Act governs State of Georgia Public Works Projects, and private payment bonds based in contract law), the deadlines to make a Payment Bond Claim often mirror the deadlines to file a materialmen’s lien; in other words, they are claims against a Payment Bond is often 90 days from the date the claimant last worked on the project or 60 days from the date of a valid lien waiver whichever period is shorter. In order to avoid missing any deadlines, the lien claimant needs to understand which law(s) set the deadlines and following the notice requirements contained in the payment bond.
Who Can Make a Payment Bond Claim? The Federal Miller Act and Georgia’s Little Miller Act define different groups of potential claimants under their respective bond requirements. Private payment bonds may establish yet another class of claimants. Thus, prior to making a claim for payment under a payment bond, it is important to understand the applicable laws and the covered classes of claimants. Georgia’s Little Miller Act tends to be more liberal in allowing claims from lower-tiered subcontractor and suppliers.
If you need a Georgia construction law firm with experience and knowledge of the payment bonds covering private projects, Miller Act Claims & Litigation and Little Miller Act Claims & Litigation, please contact us to see how we can help you.