The author would like to accept the contributions of Barry Temkin, lover at Mound Cotton Wollan & Greengrass LLP in New York.

In 2002, the New York Legislature handed the Prompt Pay back Act[1], whose mentioned reason is to encourage well timed payment to construction business contractors and subcontractors.[2] The Prompt Pay back Act applies to “all contracts exceeding $150,000 to construct, reconstruct, change, maintain, transfer or demolish any constructing, framework or enhancement, or usually excavate, acquire or strengthen land in just New York.”[3] The Prompt Pay out Act, when go through jointly with the New York Lien Legislation, facilitates prompt payment to contractors. The Act’s legislative objective is “to promote company in New York by trying to avoid undue delays of payment for approved providers.”[4]

The Prompt Pay Act typically offers that “the terms and ailments of a construction deal shall supersede the provisions of this write-up and govern the conduct of the get-togethers thereto.”[5] However, specified provisions of design contracts, especially those people that relate to payment, are void and unenforceable to the extent that they are inconsistent with provisions of the Prompt Shell out Act.[6] For case in point, part 756-a (2) sets forth default expectations that govern invoices connected to construction contracts.[7] Although an owner or common contractor is not obligated to shell out disputed bills, the Act necessitates these events to approve or disapprove all or a part of an undisputed bill within twelve company times of receipt of the bill and all contractually demanded documentation.[8] In the celebration that an proprietor or typical contractor disapproves all or a portion of an bill, they need to put together and concern a published assertion detailing any disapproved things, employing one of the enumerated causes beneath the provision to justify their disapproval.[9] An proprietor may possibly decrease to approve an bill or a portion thereof for the pursuing explanations: (1) Unsatisfactory or disputed task development (2) Defective building perform or product not remedied (3) Disputed function components (4) Failure to comply with other materials provisions of the building agreement (5) Failure of the contractor to make timely payments for labour and (6) Failure of the owner’s architect to certify payment for any or all of the motives set forth in this portion, so long as the good reasons are provided in the owner’s prepared assertion of disapproval.[10] Several design legal professionals invest hrs drafting contracts with disapproval terms at variance with those laid out in the Prompt Pay back Act.

In flip, a contractor may possibly withhold sums acquired from an proprietor that are owing to a subcontractor or materials supplier in purchase to accurate any recognized deficiencies.[11] Nevertheless, the Act mandates that in these occasions, a contractor ought to give the subcontractor or substance supplier with published see of any withholding,[12] and pay them the amounts withheld within seven days soon after correction of the deficiency.[13]

Central to the Prompt Shell out Act are the default specifications for the payment of development contracts, as the Legislature has acknowledged that contractors “expect and have earned to be compensated in a prompt and timely method.”[14] The statute delivers that an owner or contractor should pay back “strictly in accordance with the terms of the construction deal,” unless of course the provisions of the Prompt Shell out Act provide otherwise.[15] The Act involves that the moment an interim or remaining invoice has been approved, an operator have to tender payment to the contractor “not afterwards than 30 times immediately after approval of the invoice.”[16] Moreover, the Act states that when a subcontractor has done its obligations under a agreement, the contractor shall remit, and just about every contractor shall in change fork out to its subcontractors, the money obtained from the owner no later on than “seven times just after receipt of excellent money each and every interim or last payment, provided all contractually necessary documentation and waivers are acquired.”[17]

The Prompt Pay back Act also demands that a contractor disclose to its subcontractor the due date for receipt of payments at the time the construction subcontract is entered into. In an occasion in which a contractor fails to disclose this info, they will be obligated to pay back the subcontractor as while the because of dates were being achieved by the owner.[18] In addition, on published request, an owner need to provide discover to its subcontractor inside five times of earning an interim or final payment to a contractor—a ask for that will continue to be in force throughout the length of the subcontractor’s work.[19] These payment provisions have been designed to make certain that get-togethers to development contracts are paid out expeditiously and to provide transparency to the payment process.

In drafting the Prompt Shell out Act, the Legislature acknowledged that suppliers and receivers of development products and services commonly meet their obligations underneath a contract in a timely and just manner.[20] On the other hand, the Act contemplates cases in which payments are not made in the time periods founded by the parties and for that reason authorizes solutions this kind of as major interest payments and prevent get the job done provisions.[21] An operator or normal contractor that fails to make well timed payments will be needed to spend the contractor or subcontractor desire commencing the following working day at a statutory fee of 1 percent for every thirty day period, or twelve % a year.[22] What’s more, if an proprietor or contractor fails to approve or disapprove an bill or fails to pay the undisputed invoice amount of money in the recognized time limits, the contractor or subcontractor might suspend contractually needed effectiveness. To do so, they ought to give the defaulting occasion with an prospect to overcome, as perfectly as penned observe of their intention to suspend get the job done, at the very least 10 days prior to the supposed suspension.[23] This provision overrides contrary contractual language.

Additionally, though retainages are customary in the design field, the statute demands that the retainage be produced by the operator to the contractor no afterwards than thirty times soon after ultimate acceptance of the function.[24] In the event that an proprietor fails to release the retainage or the contractor or subcontractor fails to release a proportionate total of retainage to the appropriate get-togethers, the proprietor, contractor, or subcontractor, “shall be issue to the payment of interest at the charge of one particular % per thirty day period on the day retention was owing and owing.”[25]

The Act also presents for expedited resolution of disputes that crop up among the parties to construction contracts. When penned observe of a criticism is been given, the statute involves that the get-togethers endeavor to resolve the subject giving rise to the criticism.[26] If efforts to solve the matter are unsuccessful, the aggrieved celebration may well demand from customers expedited arbitration ahead of the American Arbitration Affiliation inside of fifteen days of receipt of the complaint.[27] On summary of the expedited arbitration proceedings, the arbitrator have to submit to the get-togethers their belief of the disputed claim alongside with an award which shall be remaining.[28] This binding arbitration course of action not only significantly limits the time it requires for payment disputes to be resolved, but can also void litigation clauses in a contractor’s agreement, more evidencing the express legislative intent fundamental the Act to expedite payments to contractors and subcontractors.

Nor is the Prompt Pay out Act the exceptional cure offered to contractors or subcontractors in New York. Contractors may well also avail themselves of the solutions in the New York Lien Legislation, which offers that contractors or subcontractors “shall have a lien for the principal and desire, of the value, or the agreed value, of these kinds of labor, including gains and wage dietary supplements due or payable” from the time of filing a notice of this sort of lien.[29] Appropriately, in the function that contractors, subcontractors or suppliers are not timely compensated, they can file mechanics liens to protected payment for work they duly performed or resources that they delivered on a distinct residence.[30]


Entirely, the Prompt Pay back Act and New York Lien Law can be seen as effective applications for contractors and subcontractors to benefit from to make certain the well timed payment of their invoices. The legislative reason fundamental the Prompt Pay out Act is to persuade building companies and companies to carry out enterprise in New York by necessitating homeowners to make payments expeditiously and pretty. The two statutes replicate this legislative purpose as the provisions therein purpose to limit unjustified delays in payment and authorize penalties for non-compliance. In general, both the Prompt Pay Act and the New York Lien Legislation show that parties who supply development expert services deserve to be compensated in a prompt and timely fashion as they deliver necessary providers.

In Canada, laws on prompt payment and necessary adjudication is remaining enacted each federally and provincially to make improvements to timely payment of contractors and subcontractors and expedite dispute resolution. You can study about some of these developments in a earlier edition of our Breaking Ground Communique, entitled Prompt Payment Update. In the celebration you have to have a refresher on the ways and timing related with the Prompt Payment and Interim Adjudication routine, go through our Design Act “Cheat Sheet”.