As a general proposition, mechanic’s lien laws are designed to protect the economic interest a party has when it physically installs work into a construction project. Conceptually, it is a way to protect the party providing labor and materials that add value to a piece of property by being incorporated into the real estate. This baseline traditionally resulted in contractors and subcontractors being the claimants. Interestingly, Delaware also allowed for an architect to file a lien for services rendered – but only an architect.
House Bill 423 seeks to enlarge the reach of the lien law to include work by certain other design professionals as part of a mechanic’s lien claim. The bill, sponsored by Representatives Baumbach, Sokola, and Lavelle, would amend the section entitled “Persons entitled to obtain a lien” to include engineers and surveyors. Perhaps more importantly, however, the revised statute would place conditions on the ability of design professionals to file a lien. This would include architects.
Under the new lien law, only the 3 described categories of design professional would be eligible to file a lien; and in order to do so, the work to which the design professional’s services relate must actually be built, the authority having jurisdiction must approve the plans or survey, or the plans or survey must be recorded with the Recorder of Deeds.
This bill would significantly change the reach of the mechanic’s lien law in Delaware by expanding it reach for design services. It has not yet passed, but we will monitor the situation and report back on the bill’s status.
If you have any questions on this or other construction issues, please contact me at
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