Lien and bond claim secrets and mythsLast year I was involved with a case in Washington that asked the courts this very question, and the courts replied negatively. At the current time, therefore, construction managers do not have mechanics lien rights in the state of Washington.

The case was Blue Diamond Group Inc v. KB Seattle, Inc.. The construction manager here was Blue Diamond Group, and they were hired to perform management services on the project the included coordinating the project schedule and the scheduling of trades, doing financial work to process payment applications, and otherwise helping to manage the construction work performed at Westfield’s Southcenter Mall in Tukwila, Washington.

The issue was presented to Washington’s appeals court, but it resolved the issue by determining construction managers were not authorized to file mechanics liens in the state because they were neither “laborers” nor providers of “professional services.” To qualify as a laborer, the court reasoned, a construction manager had to actually do work on-site, which Blue Diamond Group did not do.  To qualify as a professional service, the organization had to provide “surveying” type work or be a licensed architect, engineer or some other statutorily defined profession – which it was not.

Short of any legislative changes or an overturning of Blue Diamond Group, construction managers are without lien rights in Washington.