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The Miller Act: Making a Claim Part 1

When subcontractors and suppliers are contracted to take part in federal projects, the Miller Act is the law that ensures they get paid. This law applies to all federal construction projects that result in the improvement of real property, and although it was passed in 1935, the Miller Act still plays a fundamental role in a wide range of public works projects today.

The Miller Act mandates that any general contractor that wishes to perform construction, alteration, or repair on a federally owned structure first provide a payment bond and a performance bond to the government. This helps ensure that all work is completed according to the terms and conditions of the contract. Furthermore, it forces general contractors to pay their subcontractors and suppliers in a reasonable amount of time. As a subcontractor or a supplier, it’s easy to see how the Miller Act can benefit your business. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the Miller Act doesn’t protect you if you are a subcontractor lower than the second tier. 

As we will discuss in this two-part series, if you believe that your Miller Act rights have been violated, a Raleigh construction lawyer can help you make a payment claim. General contractors that need assistance with Miller Act compliance can also benefit from a partnership with a lawyer who is experienced handling Raleigh construction bond cases.

Delivering the Miller Act Notice to the General Contractor

In order for a subcontractor to make a Miller Act claim, they must first deliver a payment claim notice to the general contractor. This notice informs the general contractor of your intention to pursue a claim under the Miller Act. If you contracted directly with the general contractor, this notice can be furnished at any time; but if you didn’t, you only have 90 days to deliver your notice by the preferred method (certified mail with return receipt requested) or another method that facilitates written, third-party confirmation of delivery. A Raleigh construction lawyer can ensure that your notice includes accurate information regarding the amount of the claim as well as the identity of the party that services were provided to.

Contact the Surety

Once you deliver the notice to the general contractor, you’ll want to contact the surety to obtain a response pertaining to your case. This is because the general contractor is responsible for forwarding the notice to the surety. Some subcontractors prefer to send a Miller Act claim to both the general contractor and the surety at the same time. This puts more eyes on your claim and helps it move along more quickly. If you aren’t sure which bonding company you need to get in contact with, the general contractor is obligated to provide this information under the Miller Act.

To learn more about the process for making a Miller Act claim, read part two.

If you would like to speak with a Raleigh construction attorney, 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.