Thoughts on construction law from Christopher G. Hill, Virginia construction lawyer, LEED AP, mediator, and member of the Virginia Legal Elite in Construction Law

July 1, 2015 Statutory Changes Affecting Virginia Contractors and Subcontractors

Virginia General Assembly
Virginia General Assembly (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As always seems to be the case, this year, as in others, the Virginia General Assembly has seen fit to “tweak” a few construction related statutes. All of these changes will go into effect on July 1, 2015.

The big one, and one that I posted about a while back is the change to the Virginia mechanic’s lien statute to prohibit contractual waiver of lien, payment bond or claims for additional costs prior to the furnishing of labor or materials. This one is big because it relieves a bit of the angst in the pre-contract negotiations between subcontractors and general contractors.

Another significant change, this one to the wording of Virginia Code 2.2-4309, found in House Bill 1628, clarifies the fact that this Virginia statute does not limit the amount a government contractor may claim or recover against a public body under a contract dispute. This is a big one considering the ruling in the Carnell Construction Corp. v. Danville Redevelopment Housing Authority LLC limiting such claims.

Two other procurement related bills passed. The first, SB 1371, clarified the justification and small purchase procedures in public contracting, adds independent agencies of the Commonwealth as public bodies for purposes of the Virginia Public Procurement Act and also increases the contract amounts for job order contracting while limiting the use of that procurement method.

Finally, SB 885, changes the definition of small business to assure that those businesses meet the size standards established by the regulations of the U. S. SBA. While this seems to be an easy call, the bill will not become effective unless reenacted by the 2016 General Assembly Session after a work group convened by the Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade reports back its findings.

These are very broad summaries of the legislation. I recommend that you review the bills themselves and consult with a local experienced construction attorney to assist you in how these changes may affect your construction business.

UPDATE: There has been a minor change in how the bond claim related changes have occurred, check out my post next Monday on 6/8/15 for details.

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