In 2005, the Utah Legislature created the State Construction Registry which serves as a repository of all notices filed concerning construction projects. All parties working on a construction project must file notices with the registry to maintain rights to a lien.
A mechanic’s lien is a statutory lien that secures payment for labor or materials supplied in improving, repairing, or maintaining real property. A preconstruction lien is a mechanic’s lien for services provided prior to construction. Preconstruction services include planning or designing a proposed improvement before construction commences and for compensation separate from construction work. This includes consulting, conducting a site investigation or assessment, estimates, rendering, drawings, and other similar activities. Utah’s preconstruction lien laws are helpful to architects or engineers who perform services before any visible work is done on the property.
A party may claim a preconstruction lien and a separate construction lien on the same project property, but a preconstruction lien may not include an amount claimed for construction work. The value of the preconstruction lien is the reasonable value of the preconstruction service.
To claim a preconstruction lien, a party must first file a notice of preconstruction service with the State Construction Registry no later than 20 days after commencing preconstruction services. To actually claim a preconstruction lien, the claimant must record a notice with the county recorder within 90 days after completing the preconstruction service and send notice to the owner of the property. To enforce a preconstruction lien, the claimant must file a lawsuit and a lis pendens within 180 days after filing the notice of preconstruction lien.
The Cannon Law Group has assisted many service providers with preconstruction lien issues.