Disclaimer: The information on this webpage is NOT the same as legal advice. SunRay Construction Solutions, LLC is not an attorney or a law firm. We recommend that you consult with an attorney.
What is a Miller Act Notice?
A Miller Act Notice (or Miller Act Claim) is used instead of a Mechanics Lien to seek payment for your work on a federal construction project. The federal government will not allow its property to be liened, so instead suppliers or subcontractors on federal construction projects can demand their payment rights under the Miller Act. (To claim payment on state or municipal projects, you must file a Construction Bond claim.)
Who needs to file one?
You should file a Miller Act claim if you have not been paid for your materials or services on a federal construction project. You can only file a Miller Act claim if you are a subcontractor or a sub-subcontractor. Prime contractors cannot make a claim under the Miller Act – instead, they must bring contract claim lawsuit against the government. Third tier subcontractors (e.g. if you are a supplier to a supplier) also have no rights under the Miller Act. Instead, you must pursue payment directly from the party you contracted with.
How to file a Miller Act Notice
First, you need to be sure that you’re on a qualifying federal construction project – these will generally be projects conducted on a federal property (e.g. U.S. Military or U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs). You also need to know the name of the surety and public entity in charge of the work – both of which you are entitled to request. Depending on the work you provided, and who you were contracted by, Miller Act deadlines can vary. Both first tier subcontractors (i.e. you contracted directly with the prime contractor) and second tier subcontractors (i.e. you supplied services or materials to subcontractors) have 1 year from the last date you provided materials or services to the project to file a suit on the bond. Usually, you must first deliver a Miller Act Notice within 90 days of your last day on the job. Filing a Miller Act Notice can be a complex and lengthy process, with a high margin of error.
With SunRay Construction Solutions, LLC sending a claim couldn’t be easier. SunRay’s research services will include the following:
- Researching the property owner, property description, research the bonding information
- Researching the Identity of the bond or surety company
- Serving the filed claim to the appropriate party
- Our System allows you to Track YOUR deadlines
- Retaining records of all notices and liens on our database for easy future access
Is a Miller Act Notice necessary?
If you’re working on a federal construction project and have not been paid for your labor or services, then filing a Miller Act claim is the only way to claim your payment. However, if you’re a fist tier supplier, you need not send the Miller Act Notice (even though it is still good practice to do so) – you can instead go straight to bring suit against the payment bond within one year from when you last furnished materials or services to the project. As a second tier supplier, however, you are required to deliver a Miller Act Notice within 90 Days of last furnishing materials or services, before you can bring suit against the payment bond.
How does it work?
The Miller Act stipulates that before any contract of more than $100,000 is awarded on a federal project, the prime contractor must post a bond to protect subcontractors and material suppliers from non-payment. If you’re supplying materials or labor to the project, you are entitled to get a copy of the Miller Act Bond. It’s important to make a formal request for this, as the information may be necessary for when you’re filing your Miller Act claim. By filing a Miller Act claim, you obligate the bonding company holding the Miller Act Bond to pay your claim directly.