Effective July 1, 2015, any provision of a construction contract or lien waiver that “waives or diminishes” the payment bond or mechanic’s lien rights of a subcontractor, lower-tier subcontractor or material supplier before services are rendered is “null and void” in Virginia. The language in Va. Code § 11-4.1:1 and Va. Code § 43-3 represents a sharp turn from previous Virginia law on payment bonds and mechanic’s liens, which expressly allowed such waivers “at any time.”
So what is the takeaway for construction attorneys in Virginia? Read your contracts closely in light of the new law. Your clients may have more leverage than they think, or they may be giving away leverage by failing to update their documents.
By: W. Ryan Snow
Crenshaw, Ware & Martin, P.L.C.