Every contractor or subcontractor who has furnished or is furnishing labor, materials, services, fixtures, apparatus or machinery, or forms or form work to the owner, general, or sub. Unions do have lien rights for benefit claims; they are NOT preempted by ERISA. [Central Laborers’ Pension Fund v. Nicholas and Associates, Inc., 956 N.E.2d 609, 2011 IL App (2d) 100, (Ill.App. 2 Dist.2011)] NOTE ALSO that the claimant’s work must be completed within three years of the claimant commencing work (and not three years after entering into the contract) on a residential project, and within five years on all other projects. [60/1, 60/6; Cordeck Sales, Inc. v. Construction Systems, Inc., 917 N.E.2d 536, 394 Ill.App.3d 870 (Ill.App. 1 Dist.,2009); In re Estes Group, Inc., 299 B.R. 502 (Bkrtcy.N.D.Ill.2003); Doornbos Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. v. James D. Schlenker, 932 N.E.2d 1073 (Ill.App. 1 Dist.,2010)] Note that if the work continues for a longer period of time, the lien can only cover work performed or materials provided within the 3-year or 5-year period prior to the lien filing. [CLP II, Inc. v. Telkow Const. Co., Not Reported in N.E.3d, 2014 IL App (1st) 133587-U (Ill.App. 1 Dist., 2014)] Suppliers to suppliers have lien rights. [770 ILCS 60/21 and 60/22; A.Y. McDonald Mfg. Co. v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 225 Ill.App.3d 851, 587 N.E.2d 623 (App. 4 Dist.1992), appeal denied 596 N.E.2d 625; Brady Brick & Supply Co. v. Lotito, 356 N.E.2d 1126 (App. 2 Dist.1976); Koenig v. McCarthy Const. Co., 100 N.E.2d 338, 344 Ill.App. 93 (App.1951)] Providers of construction management services have lien rights, but suppliers of temporary contract employees to subcontractor do not. A consultant who provides a feasibility study for a project, at least when the project is not built and the consultant does not provide any actual design services, does not have lien rights. NOTE that contractors and subcontractors who lease construction equipment to another have lien rights, as long as the equipment is used on or about the site of the improvement, and as long as the improvement is NOT a single family residence or a multi-family residence of fewer than 12 units in a single building.
According to a recent bankruptcy case, subcontractors, second-tier subcontractors and more remote subcontractors have lien rights. NOTE ALSO that architects, structural engineers, professional engineers, land surveyors also have lien rights. Architects, at least, must be licensed to practice in Illinois. [In re Estes Group, Inc., 299 B.R. 502 (Bkrtcy. N.D.Ill. 2003); 60/1, 60/1.2, 60/2, 60/21, 60/22; Cordeck Sales, Inc. v. Construction Systems, Inc., 887 N.E.2d 474 (Ill.App. 1 Dist., 2008); Onsite Engineering & Management, Inc. v. Illinois Tool Works, Inc., 253 Ill.Dec. 195, 319 Ill.App.3d 362, 744 N.E.2d 928 (App. 1 Dist.2001); Mostardi-Platt Associates, Inc. v. Czerniejewski, 929 N.E.2d 94
(Ill.App. 5 Dist.,2010); Fedorchak & Assocs., Inc. v. Chicago Title Land Trust Co., 822 N.E.2d 905 (Ill.App. 3d Dist.2005)] NOTE, however, that where engineering work is performed relating to the platting of the land, that work is not considered an improvement to the land, and is not lienable, at least where the development is abandoned. This is the case even where the plat is recorded, the bank required the platting to secure financing, and the municipality required the plat before the property could be developed. [Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd. v. Heritage Bank of Cent. Illinois, 25 N.E.3d 1223 (Ill.App. 3 Dist 2015)]
NOTE that on residential repair or remodel projects of up to 6-family dwellings, which cost more than $1,000, the general contractor must give specific notices, and if the contractor fails to do so, he or she will be unable to claim breach of contract. Prior to starting work, the general contractor must furnish the customer, for signature, a written contract or work order, and prior to doing or charging for the work the general contractor must also obtain a signed contract or work order, and must have the customer’s signature either accepting or rejecting the binding arbitration clause and the jury trial waiver clause. Failure to obtain these things bars the contractor from bringing a lien claim or a breach of contract claim. The contractor may still, however, be allowed to bring a quantum meruit or unjust enrichment claim. One case has allowed the claimant to file a lien where there was a valid oral contract, which the contractor performed, but no written contract, and claimant did not provide the required notices. The purpose of the Act is to protect consumers from ‘fly-by-night’ deceptive contractors, not to bar an honest contractor from recovering payment for services actually performed. [815 ILCS 513/1 et seq.; 815 ILCS 513/30; MD Elec. Contractors, Inc. v. Abrams, 888 N.E.2d 54, 228 Ill.2d 281 (Ill.,2008); K. Miller Const. Co., Inc. v. McGinnis, 938 N.E.2d 471 (Ill.,2010); Universal Structures, Ltd. v. Buchman, 937 N.E.2d 668 (Ill.App.1 Dist.,2010); Fleissner v. Fitzgerald, 937N.E.2d 1152 (Ill.App. 2 Dist.,2010)] NOTE, however, that where the claimant performs the work contracted for, and the only problem is that the claimant did require the homeowner to sign the contract and did not give the homeowner the required brochure, the claimant will still be allowed to recover on the contract. The homeowner must prove actual damages as a result of the claimant’s failure to provide the required information. The statute does not explicitly provide for a homeowner to bring a cause of action against a contractor for failure to provide the required information; it is up to the attorney general. [Fandel v. Allen, Not reported in N.E.2d, 398 Ill.App.3d 177, (Ill.App. 3Dist.,2010)] NOTE ALSO that substantial compliance with the act may suffice, where there is a writing between the parties and evidence that each party accepted the writing as their contract. It is also relevant if the homeowner approached the contractor about performing the work, as the purpose of the act is to protect homeowners from being approached by dishonest individuals who hope to deceive them. [Behl v. Gingerich, 396 Ill.App.3d 1078, 920 N.E.2d 665 (Ill.App.4Dist., 2009)]
NOTE ALSO that the activity of removing and disposing of drums containing hazardous waste, in and of itself, is not considered an improvement to real property, and therefore is not lienable. This is especially true where the removal work is part of an overall plan to improve the property. [Inter-Rail Systems, Inc. v. Ravi Corp. 900 N.E.2d 407 (Ill.App. 1 Dist.2008)]