COURT: CONTRACTORS CAN LIEN FOR EXTRA WORK THAT WASN’T PART OF A WRITTEN CHANGE ORDER

Date: March 20th, 2014

In a decision issued on Monday, March 10, the state Court of Appeals clarified an unsettled provision of the lien statute, holding that contractors can lien for extra work not incorporated by written change order into the contract.

The relevant facts of the case are straightforward. Frederick Bovenkamp contracted with Top Line Builders for the construction of a residence in Blaine, Whatcom County. Work began in February 2008. The parties executed a fixed price contract for $845,287.

U.S. Bank was the lender for the project and approved a construction loan to Bovenkamp for $995,000 (the additional amount above the fixed price was a contingency for taxes and overruns). To secure its loan, U.S. Bank filed a deed of trust against the property in August 2008.

Over the course of construction, Top Line performed extra work at Bovenkamp’s request. Top Line and Bovenkamp usually discussed the changes, and sometimes (but not always) agreed to the costs associated with those changes. The parties never executed written change orders to the contract for the extra work.

To read the entire article recently published by the Daily Journal of Commerce, click here.