In this year’s Best Construction Blog competition, I’ve sought to give bloggers at least one reference and introduction, but (unfortunately) have left a few out of the picture. Consider, for example, the Construction Law Carolinas blog by Gregory Shelton, who practices at Horack, Talley, Pharr & Lowndes, P.A. in Charlotte.
This is a truly useful and informative blog, well designed and full of content. It is obviously relevant to contractors and suppliers in the Carolinas, and will be especially useful for those who work in both states (relevant especially in the metropolitan Charlotte, NC area, which has South Carolina suburbs.) Not surprisingly construction lien law legislation and rules receives important coverage — this material can be arcane, yet is of vital importance for everyone in the industry.
In a recent posting, Shelton shows his lighter side. I’ll stretch copyright and republish it here:
“Slick” Ray pulled up on the jobsite in a shiny new truck with a beautiful new fishing boat in tow. Ray, a first tier concrete sub, was on his way to the coast to do some fishing. His concrete supplier, Sandy, walked over.
“Nice rig!” exclaimed Sandy. ”Where did you get the money to pay for these toys?”
Ray, glowing with pride, responded: “You know how your April payment is late? Well, I used that money to buy the truck and the boat. But look, I’m running late. I’ve gotta get out there while they’re still biting!”
And with that, Ray rolled out for a day on the water.
Sandy called me in a panic. “Sandy,” I asked, ”did the general contractor file a Notice of Project Commencement?”
I asked Sandy to find the building permit or project bulletin board and look for a location notice. “The location notice will state, and I quote: ‘The contractor on the project has filed a notice of project commencement at the county courthouse. Sub-subcontractors and suppliers to subcontractors shall comply with Section 29-5-20 when filing liens in connection with this project.’”
I then explained that a “Notice of Project Commencement” is a document filed by the GC, within 15 days of the start of work, which contains:
(1) the name and address of the GC;
(2) the name and address of the owner;
(3) a general description of the improvement (project); and
(4) the location of the project.
“I don’t see a location notice,” reported Sandy.
“Good,” I replied. ”That means that your mechanic’s lien to recover April’s payment will not be limited to the amount owed by the GC to the first tier contractor, Ray.”
Sandy was relieved, but wondered what would have happened had the GC been on the ball. “You mean, if the GC had filed the Notice of Project Commencement and posted the location notice, I would be limited to whatever the GC owed to Ray? So if Ray had been paid in full on the job, the lien would capture nothing?”
“Yes,” I replied. “Unless . . . ”
“You lawyers always have an unless don’t you?”
I continued. “Unless you called me when you saw the location notice and asked me what it meant. In that case, I would have helped you prepare and serve the GC with Notices of Furnishing Labor or Materials pursuant to Section 29-5-20(B) of the South Carolina Code of Laws. These notices, which must be prepared and served in strict accordance with the mechanic’s lien statute, put the ball back in the GC’s court. After receiving such notice, no payment by the GC to Ray could lessen the amount recoverable by you. It’s kind of like a game of notice ping-pong.”
“OK, that’s good to know,” replied Sandy. ”Go ahead and put the lien together. I have to go to the coast.”
“The coast? Are you going fishing?” I asked.
Nice writing . . . and a good message about the importance of having a solid lawyer on your side if you want to work in the construction industry.
The only improvement I can suggest to Shelton’s blog is to make it easier to find him if you want to connect. Reviewing the current blog layout, there is no easy way to reach the lawyer. I needed to complete my own Google search to match up the lawyer, blog and some direct contact information. His law office page/reference is here and could easily be hyperlinked from the blog.
Voting continues until March 30. You can vote once from your email address, and select as many blogs as you like.