Ultimate Guide

Lien Waiver: Ultimate Guide

A Lien Waiver is an essential tool in the construction industry. It helps to protect your company by reducing potential liabilities and allows you to provide a better service to your end customer. Since a Lien Waiver is issued at several different times through the life of a project, this document requires some special attention.

You may be asking yourself “What is a Lien Waiver and how does it affect a construction project?”. This guide aims to answer that and more. Having a solid Lien Waiver process can make a big difference in protecting your project, client and reputation.

What is a Lien Waiver?

A Lien Waiver is a legal document that is signed, usually by a Subcontractor, that relinquishes their right to issue a Lien against your project. A Subcontractor, by virtue of being Subcontracted, has the right to issue a Lien against your project for non-payment.

Normally, a Lien Waiver is exchanged prior to, and after payment has been made on a Subcontractors invoice. It states that the owner, either intends to, or has already made payment for the work performed on the job and due to that the Subcontractor relinquishes their right to issue a Lien against the property.

If that sounds complicated, here is an easier way to understand it. Consider a Lien Waiver as a form of receipt. It’s a document that proves a Subcontractor will or has received payment for their part in a project. Because of that, they agree that they will not file a Lien against the property.

Trouble with Lien Waivers

For such a simple, “I pay you, you don’t sue me” premise, Lien Waiver can be a very time-consuming process for issuers in the construction industry. This is because, depending on your Lien Waiver process, they may require lots of manual work.

This includes; identifying the invoices and vendors that require Lien Waivers, compiling the information for the Lien Waiver, sending it out, as well as tracking and review to ensure that Subcontractors have executed them.

The Premier Lien Waiver module aims to solve all of this by automating and simplifying the Lien Waiver process. Before you use the Lien Waiver module it is helpful to know the different types of Lien Waivers and the situations as to when you might issue each.

Types of Lien Waivers

As with anything construction related, one form of a document is never enough. Lien Waivers come in two main forms (Conditional and Unconditional) with two subtypes (Partial and Final).

Conditional Lien Waivers

Conditional Lien Waivers are sent prior to payment being made on an invoice. They state that on the condition that the Vendor receives payment for a specific invoice, they will relinquish their right to issue a Lien against the project in that amount.

These are conditional because they are dependent on the General Contractor actually issuing the payment. If no payment is issued the Subcontractor retains their right to issue a Lien against the property.

Unconditional Lien Waivers

Unconditional Lien Waivers are a little bit trickier. This is because they go into effect the second a Subcontractor signs them. This requires an act of good faith, usually by the General Contractor, that after they send the payment the Subcontractor will sign the Unconditional Lien Waiver. This act of good faith is reduced if your process is to send a Conditional Lien Waiver prior to sending an Unconditional Lien Waiver.

Man typing on the computer.

Partial and Final Lien Waivers

A Final or Partial Lien Waiver is a sub type of a Conditional or Unconditional Lien Waiver. A majority of the time a Lien Waiver is going to be sent for invoices that are tied to a Subcontract. This is because a Subcontractor has the right to issue a Lien against a project by virtue of being Subcontracted to work on that project. A Partial or Final Lien Waiver therefore refers to the status of the Subcontract.

A Partial Conditional or Unconditional Lien Waiver is sent when the invoice is for part, but not all, of the Subcontract.

A Final Conditional or Unconditional Lien Waiver is sent when the invoice is for the final amount of the Subcontract.

No matter the type of Lien Waiver they all help protect your business from the portion of the Subcontract that has been completed. Selecting the appropriate type of Lien Waiver at the appropriate time in the Subcontract is crucial to fully protecting your company.

Who should be concerned with Lien Waivers?

As Lien Waivers are such a critical part in the construction process it is helpful to think of all the parties involved in the process.

General Contractors

General Contractors are the ones who arrange the work on the project and the ones who are most likely to deal directly with Subcontractors. Whether the project is their own, or if they were contracted by a client, they need to protect the project. Lien Waivers help reduce their own company’s liability, as well as their end client.

This helps to provide a better end service and many clients will require the General Contractors to provide the Lien Waivers they have received from their Subcontractors when they submit their own billing applications.


Subcontractors are the ones with the right to issue a Lien against a project. As such, they will pay close attention to the wording of a Lien Waiver and when they sign it. This is because signing the Lien Waiver essentially takes away their leverage.

Before they sign they will want to be sure that they have received payment for their work, or that it is conditional on payment being made. Ensuring the buy-in to the Lien Waiver process by your Subcontractors is vital and a requirement that could be included in the original Subcontract agreement.

Project Owners

As mentioned above, the end owner of the project which a Lien could be registered against, may not be the General Contractor. If the Project Owner hired a General Contractor to complete the work then it is their project that the Lien may be registered against.

Therefore, being able to provide the end customer with a full listing of Subcontractors hired on the project and the fully executed Lien Waivers, provides a better service to your end customer as you have reduced their liability.

Material Suppliers

Though a lot of attention is given to Subcontractors in the Lien Waiver process it is important to remember that anybody who has provided a service or materials to a project may be able to issue a Lien against that project for non-payment. Consider sending Lien Waivers to material suppliers on a project in addition to the Subcontractors to further reduce potential liabilities.

Lien Waivers in Premier

Premier has a robust Lien Waiver module to help your company easily automate the entire process. In Premier you can track the Subcontractors and Vendors that require a Lien Waiver. You can fully customer all 4 types of Lien Waiver forms, and even upload multiple versions of each, if they differ from State to State, for instance.

You can generate Lien Waivers in Premier at point of AP Approval (Conditional), AP Payment (Unconditional) or Ad-Hoc at any time through the Lien Waiver screen. Request a demo now and learn how the Premier Lien Waiver module can help your business!


Industry Insight Resources

Construction Submittals: What Are They & Why Are They Important?

Many steps are essential to construction projects in order to avoid setbacks and misuse of funds. An example is construction submittals, which help kick-start the fieldwork in a much more streamlined way, guaranteeing that all people involved are on the same page.

Along with that, construction management software is transforming the industry landscape and changing the way everyday tasks are handled. It does so by automating complex processes and creating a more efficient approach to project management. Learn more about how that can be done below.

What are construction submittals?

Construction submittals are critical documents that contractors and suppliers provide to the project owner or architect/engineer for approval before starting construction. These documents include details about materials, products, equipment, and methods that will be used in the project.

Submittals ensure that the proposed items meet the project’s specifications, standards, and requirements. They help the project team review and approve the proposed components before actual construction work begins, making sure everything aligns with the project’s design and quality standards.

This helps mitigate any unnecessary setbacks to the timeline or budget. The quality of submittals is important, as the level of detail and accuracy will directly impact the overall success of the project. That’s why learning how to properly create these construction documents is essential to every worker in the field.

How does the submittals process work?

The submittals process begins early, guiding the project’s execution, cost, quality, and success. It’s one of the first steps taken by a project manager or contractor after the execution of a construction contract and issuance of the “Notice to Proceed”.

Once the technical specifications are received, the architects and engineers use the information provided to verify the quantity of materials and products needed to complete the project. Then, they can approve, disapprove, or make comments on the documentation.

The construction submittals process also allows design architects to select colors, patterns, and types of material that were not decided before the completion of construction drawings.

However, it’s important to note that this is not an opportunity for the architect to select different materials than what was agreed upon. Rather, this serves to clarify the selection within the quality level indicated in the spec sheets and the quantities shown on plans.

After submittals are reviewed and approved by the product and design teams, they’re returned to the project manager. That signifies they’re approved for construction or fabrication.

Contractor taking a look on the iPad on a job site.

How to optimize the submittals process

Construction submittals are important because they drive the accuracy of project completion, the timeline, and line items on the budget. Therefore, managing the submittals process is one of the essential duties of the project manager or contractor.

However, the process has traditionally been considered long and arduous, given the amount of detailed data and specifications required for every facet of a project. That is because, in the past, it required tedious and time-intensive manual data entry into construction submittals samples or programs, such as Excel.

That not only consumes time but also creates room for human error and inaccuracies. Happily, nowadays, it’s possible to count on construction software like Premier to automate this process.

Our system automates this complex process by dramatically improving data accuracy, document management and sharing, team communication, and collaboration. It saves valuable time and money, contributing to project overall success.

Premier Construction Software

If you’re looking for software to help you and your team to create detailed and accurate construction submittals, Premier might just be the right fit for you. With our platform, you can:

  • Create and email submittal links to multiple parties;
  • Have live collaboration with any third party — no extra fee;
  • Add stamps, boxes, comments, and more to a construction-specific annotation toolbar;
  • Merge multiple files, sort and regroup them;
  • Track responses, due dates, version control, and full history;
  • View all submittals’ histories;
  • Customize workflow configuration;
  • Revise and resubmit documentation;
  • View and share historical responses;
  • Automate new requests for revisions;
  • Set due dates and track overdue items.

Enhance your submittal management with Premier Construction Software!

Efficiently handle construction submittals and streamline your project’s success with Premier’s advanced Financial Construction Software solution. Say goodbye to paperwork hassles and hello to a next-gen platform that empowers you to manage submittals seamlessly. Discover all that Premier has to offer by requesting a demo with our team.

Accounting Accounting Software Construction ERP Software Features

Simplified WIP Accounting

The WIP report is one of the most valuable reports that a construction company has. Also known as a Work In Progress report, this tool allows management to identify potential cash flow issues, project progress, and the overall trajectory of their projects. But these reports are tough to maintain and require constant updates. And here’s a hint: that spreadsheet won’t cut it.

This guide will explain what WIP reporting is and the benefits that construction management software can offer.

What is a WIP Report?

A WIP report, or Work in Progress report, is a document used to detail a company’s current profitability on a project quickly. It tracks the amount of money expended on the project, the amount billed, and the amount still required and compares it against the contract total.

Most companies use spreadsheets to complete their WIP reports, which means there isn’t a standard template. However, most WIP reports contain the following information:

  • Project name and identifying information
  • Total contract value sold on the project
  • Estimated cost at completion
  • Estimated profit
  • Pending Change Orders
  • Amount Billed
  • Job progress percentage
  • Over/Under budget amounts

These reports can contain data from all of the company’s projects, different aspects of one large project, or simply just one project.

WIP reports are essential (and even required by the IRS) on large, long-term projects. They’re also incredibly valuable during progress billing contracts. They help the contractor identify if there are cash flow issues before they become too large to overcome. But, that’s only if the reports are maintained correctly—and that’s pretty hard to do with a standard spreadsheet.

The Benefits of Using Premier Construction Software for WIP Accounting

WIP reports aren’t explicitly construction-specific reports. Many industries use these reports to track the process of bringing a product through the manufacturing process. For this reason, there are lots of different WIP report types and templates. But, using software designed specifically for construction can help simplify the process. The following are some of the most significant benefits of using construction software for WIP accounting.

Customized WIP Reports

Most construction companies would prefer to see the same data on their WIP reports: total amount, amount billed, amount expended, and current over or underbilling. However, there may be specific values they don’t need to see or other matters they’d like to track. Premier allows users to customize the values they see or track on their reports.

Beyond the individual values, our software will also allow users to quickly generate WIP reports for all, several, or just one of their projects. They can get a quick overview of their company’s cash flow with a general report or drill down into each project to identify the cash flow challenges they may be facing. They’ll then be able to address the issues with those projects in less time than it would take for them to assemble a complete report.

Real-Time Reporting

One of the challenges of maintaining WIP reports with standard spreadsheets is keeping them updated. Each invoice or change order that comes in will effectively change the WIP report, and without someone constantly updating the report, it won’t reflect the true status of cash flow and progress on the project.

But with Premier Construction Management Software, keeping up with the latest data isn’t a problem. Our software allows for electronic payments and approvals, meaning any payments going in or out as well as any potential profit changes are automatically tracked in the system. Any values those payments impact will automatically update across multiple reports, including the WIP, ensuring the data is always up to date in real-time.

Improved Communication

WIP reports bring two parties together: project management and the accounting staff. Both parties need to watch these reports carefully to ensure that the project is on track and remains profitable. Unless that document is easily available to both parties at the same time, communication becomes a challenge.

A software like Premier, which is designed for construction can simplify the communication process. Our reports are cloud-based and easily accessible by project management and accounting staff. Both parties can be looking at the same WIP report at the same time, and since the system updates the report automatically, they’re sure that the data is up to date. Any questions or concerns they have can be expressed and discussed in real time because the software ensures everyone is on the same page.

Accurate Data

Manually updating spreadsheets and subsequent reports is a recipe for disaster. Every data point entered by a person is an opportunity for human error, meaning values might not jive and the reports generated might not be accurate. For this reason, contractors can never be entirely sure that the WIP report they’re looking at is full-proof and accurate, and just one decision based on bad data can be disastrous.

Using our software won’t remove every chance for error (a human has to input the original data, after all), but it can help reduce mistakes drastically. Since our software will automatically update values affected by the latest data, there won’t be any forgotten changes, misplaced decimal points, or mathematical errors. This helps contractors make the best decisions possible by knowing the data is accurate.

Correct Cash Flow Issues Before They Become Severe

Construction is a cash-hungry business, and tracking cash flow is essential to staying on top. That is the point of a WIP report in the first place. However, when it’s a spreadsheet that is updated infrequently, cash flow issues can become severe before anyone notices them.

With an automatically updating, accurate WIP report generated by software like Premier, users can identify cash flow issues when they’re small enough to correct. As project progress continues and management recognizes they’ve underbilled, they can send an invoice to get things back on track. And, since many of these programs can be customized to send budget warnings, project management might be able to get ahead of a budgetary issue before even checking the WIP report.

Impress Stakeholders

WIP reports are some of the only reports the average investor even cares about. These reports tell them where the project is headed, how much money it will make, and where it stands from a cash flow standpoint. They want these reports to be simultaneously comprehensive and simple to understand.

Premier can do just that. With the ability to instantly generate a report, project managers can show investors exactly what they want to see and when they want to see it. And, since the data is accurate, those stakeholders will be able to make better decisions in less time, making them happier with the project and contractor involved.

Let Premier Construction Software Simplify Your WIP Reports

With reports this important, does it make sense to take a chance with a spreadsheet? Improve cash flow & communication while reducing errors with Premier Construction Management Software. Let us simplify the WIP process while offering real-time data that you and your investors can rely on.

Accounting Accounting Software Construction Job Costing Trends & Technology

Time is Money: How Premier Construction Software Can Save You Both

While a project can take months or years to complete, the reality is that construction moves fast. A company that knows time is money and knows how to make the most of both is on the path to success.  Premier Construction Software can help with time and money, and in this guide, we’ll discuss how it can save your company both. 

How Premier Can Save Time and Money

Would you put trust in a software program that can save your business both time and money? It seems like a no-brainer. That’s what our construction ERP solution was designed to do, and the following features or abilities are just some of the ways that Premier can impact your company.

Automated Processes

All of the data entry, report creation, and updating required to keep a construction business on track requires a lot of time. One of the most significant benefits of using Premier Construction Software is its ability to automate processes. 

When a user inputs or changes a value in the system, the software knows to update every related value affected by the change without a person having to track down the specific pay app, change order, or report.

One-click updates might seem the big time and money saver here, but consider this: Updating reports and budgets manually introduces multiple opportunities for human error. The time it takes to realize there is a mistake, track it down, and change it can be tremendous. And, should that mistake affect the project, it may translate to real money wasted. 

Customizable Workflows

The amount of time it takes to get a document, budget transfer, or change order in front of all the people that need to see it is often time wasted. With customizable workflows, users can design a free-flowing system that automatically moves important documents from person to person.

Ultimately, these custom-designed workflows ensure that important documents or changes make it through all of the required stops faster. Whether these documents need approvals, modifications, or updates, the company will receive feedback in less time using automated workflows.

Cloud-Based Storage

Upgrading document and drawing storage is a great way to save time and money. While most construction companies have evolved away from running to the shop every day for the latest revisions, their access to these documents is still antiquated and slow. 

For example, loading drawings onto a drive and then having to access those drawings with a computer is slow. Or, attempting to send large files through email only to have it take forever. And what if that drawing wasn’t the most updated version? Or just the older version the other party was looking for?

With cloud-based storage, contractors can move past those old, slow document management solutions. Premier Construction Software allows users to access the cloud for documents, drawings, photos, pay applications, and more from any internet-enabled device. It’s one of the fastest ways to share information with a team, and it can save time and money right away.

Report Generation

No one wants to blow that meeting in front of the investors or stakeholders, but time spent compiling data for a custom report may be a waste. Premier has the ability to automatically generate important reports with the very latest updates, as well. 

Not only are these reports easy to generate, but they take into account all of the most up-to-date information. Rather than stressing out about that report all week, it’s possible to simply click a button to create a report that’s not only instantaneous but also more accurate than anything you could compile.

Electronic Signatures

The construction world runs on agreements and signatures. Waiting to get those signatures on a paper agreement takes lifetimes (or at least it feels that way). The documents either need to be sent via courier or downloaded, printed, and sent back. Or, the agreement has to wait until a meeting can be scheduled for everyone to review the documents together before anyone can sign anything.

With electronic signatures, this entire process can take a fraction of the time. Documents can be sent electronically, which recipients can open from any internet-enabled device. Once they’ve reviewed the contract, change order, proposal, RFI, pay application, or any of the many compatible docs, they can sign electronically. This instantly updates the status in the system, cutting down on data entry or errors, and saving time and money.

Subcontractor Management

Minimizing the amount of time spent collecting lien waivers, monitoring compliance, calculating payment retainage, and ensuring everyone gets paid costs contractors and project managers lots of valuable time. But with a construction ERP like Premier, which is designed to make subcontractor management easier, users can save time and money.

For instance, Premier can track licensing and insurance compliance documents and alert the users and sub to possible expiration. It can also automatically generate subcontractor agreements and change orders instantly and ensure that those documents make it to the sub for an electronic signature. It’s also easy to set up automatic retainage for each payment, as well as distribute payments automatically (and accurately) by setting up pay-when-paid AP. 

Premier is All About Strengthening Your Business

Premier Construction Software’s goal is to strengthen your business using simplicity and automation. This means less time spent doing the remedial tasks that are always prone to error. When you’re not paying them to handle these tasks, you’re saving money and freeing them up to be creative and focus on projects that create more revenue for your business—and that’s a recipe for success. 

Accounting Industry Insight

Understanding Change Orders in Construction

Every company sees change orders slightly differently. Some see them as a time and resource vacuum, while others see them as opportunities to make more money. And the fact that there are many different outlooks on the subject makes truly understanding change orders in construction and the impacts they have a challenge. In this guide, we’ll take a look at these important documents, what they are, and how to manage them.

What is a Change Order?

A change order is a document used to modify the original contract on a construction project. These documents detail changes in the scope of work for the contractor as well as any adjustments to the amount of money the contractor will make on a project. They’re essentially miniature contracts (sometimes with not-so-miniature impacts) that steer the project after the original contract is awarded.

For example, let’s say a contractor won a bid to build an apartment building with eight identical apartments inside. At some point during the project, the project owner realizes that the bathrooms could benefit from half-walls alongside the toilets. The project owner will approach the contractor, they’ll discuss the details, and the contractor (or project owner) will draw up a change order that states the contractor will build half-walls in the bathroom for an agreed-upon price. It’s simply a contract within a contract that denotes a change in plan, materials, or pricing. 

Change Orders for Additional Work

Change orders for additional work require more time and resources. For that reason, these change orders will increase the total cost of the project, as well as extend the timeline. Impacted contractors must ensure that the change order reflects these changes to avoid issues when dealing with these types of change orders.

Change Order for Subtractions

Change orders that omit certain aspects of the agreed-upon original contract have the opposite impact on the cost and timeline. Under these change orders, project owners and GCs may expect the price and timeline to decrease. 

What Causes Change Orders?

Change orders can be caused by project owners, designers, inspectors, contractors, material suppliers, and many other possibilities. 

  • Project owners can change their minds about the budget. 
  • Designers can add design elements or colour changes. Inspectors may notice code issues that require the designer to go back to the drawing board. 
  • Contractors might not be able to do the job for the agreed-upon due to unforeseen circumstances or site conditions. 
  • Suppliers might not be able to get the chosen material.

Any one of these situations would alter the original plan. They could impact the budget or the timeline, and these changes need to be documented and agreed upon with the parties responsible for the changes. How these changes impact the project depends on what they involve.

Change Order Protect Contract Parties

Change orders can be a headache to manage, but they protect contracted parties. These documents take modifications in the course of the project and turn them into clearly-understood directives with legal backing.  

Contractors know that once they have a change order, they can move forward with the project without fear that they’ll be breaching the contract. They also know that if the project owner or designer adds something, they can adjust the timeline or project price and that they’ll have lien rights if they don’t get paid. 

Project owners know that they can alter the contract to subtract an item or design element. This will likely lower the amount of money the contractor was expecting, but the document keeps the contractor from suing or placing a lien on the project for non-payment. 

How to Manage Change Orders

Managing change orders is the most difficult aspect of these documents. Knowing how they’ll impact the budget and timeline, getting the correct signatures, communicating changes to stakeholders, and changing everything in the system at one time are all difficult tasks to coordinate. 

Budget Impacts

Change orders can cause ripple effects on a project budget. For example, if a particular material isn’t available, but a more expensive item is, it’s important to know how much that will impact the project budget before moving forward.

With construction ERP software, many of the best programs offer customers a chance to see how the change would impact the budget in real time. These systems allow users to lock original estimates or shift budgets without permanent changes. This also makes communicating the change’s impact much easier. 

Timeline Overruns

Change orders are often to blame for the project running off track and behind schedule—whether it’s true or not. But, changes typically impact the timeline a little, as they usually mean more or less work. It’s knowing how much it will throw the timeline off track that makes a difference, and the change order should reflect it. 

A construction ERP can help determine how much of an impact the change order will have on scheduling and the project delivery date. This can help the project owner decide if changing the timeline is worth the cost.

Getting Approvals

Getting approvals and signatures is always a challenging aspect of construction, and change orders are no different. Ensuring that the right eyes are seeing the change order and then get their signature can seem impossible.

A construction ERP can simplify this issue. By setting up automated workflow and capturing electronic signatures, the change order process moves along faster, saving time and money. Users can access the system from any internet-enabled device in the world.

Automated Changes

Once all of the approvals and signatures are secured it’s time to make the actual changes. Entering the change orders into whatever accounting software program the company uses is all the opportunity that’s required for multiple data entry-related issues like human error, accuracy, and a lack of thoroughness.

The right construction ERP software can handle this challenge, making automatic changes to every line item affected by the change order. With the click of a button, the changes will ripple through the entire system, automatically updating budgets, billing amounts and timelines, and more. 

All without manual data entry.

Communicating Changes

Communicating changes to the contract to company stakeholders requires data and reports. They want to know what’s changing, how it’s affecting the project delivery, and how much it’s going to cost the company.

Construction ERP software can handle those questions and more. With the ability to generate reports in real-time, project managers can provide stakeholders with the latest, most accurate information regarding these changes. 

Change Orders are Necessary, But They Require Management

Change orders are necessary, as almost all projects go through one change or another after signing the contract. But knowing how to manage these documents is important. By relying on the right program, like Premier Construction Software, contractors can minimize the negative impacts these documents have on their projects. And isn’t that what it’s all about?