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More on the direct payment option for public contracts

Many subcontractors in Massachusetts do work on construction projects for property owned by a state or local government or agency. These public works projects can be lucrative for a number of reasons.

For instance, as previous posts on this blog have mentioned, subcontractors working on certain public projects enjoy some additional protection should the general contractor not pay what it owes the subcontractor for the subcontractor's work.

Specifically, as long as it satisfies certain legal requirements, a subcontractor can ask for the property owner, that is, the government agency which contracted for the project in the first place, to pay off the subcontractor. Upon receiving a valid demand for direct payment, the agency should rather quickly pay off the balance owed, less any applicable deductions.

However, making a valid demand for direct payment is not a simple affair. While it entails writing a letter to the government agency, and copying the contractor, the letter must contain precise details, including a sworn and detailed statement as to how much money the subcontractor is owed for the project.

Moreover, a subcontractor can only submit a demand for direct payment after a certain amount of time has elapsed. Once it does so, there are other procedures that all parties must observe. If there happens to be a dispute about how much is owed, litigation may be necessary.

A demand for direct payment is a useful tool that a subcontractor doing work in Massachusetts can use in order to make certain its bills get paid timely. This helpful legal tool makes it possible for the subcontractor to collect even if a general contractor is facing financial strain or is refusing to pay for other reasons.

However, demands for direct payment are subject to a potentially complicated legal process. Getting the advice of an experienced construction attorney may prove essential.

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