A mechanical and electrical contractor has filed a $1.7-million lien on an Omni resort-hotel near Austin, seeking payment for work on a major renovation and expansion project.

The Brandt Cos., which worked on the $165-million Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa project, filed a lien affidavit in Texas on Feb. 14. It states that Brandt started working on the project July 18, 2017, and finished last Oct. 31.

The official opening of the renovated resort was May 2019, according to an industry website.

What is clear is that although the project finished close to on schedule, the amount of punch-list work after the opening bothered the hotel chain, according to its construction chief.

The lien against the hotel showed up in a new public payment practices rating website introduced by Levelset, the payment services company.

It is unclear exactly how and where any problems began along the payment chain. Liens are considered a sign of diminished confidence by the filing party that it can collect what it believes it is owed. That's partly because there is a natural reluctance to file a lien that may alienate a future customer.

What is clear is that although the project finished nearly on time, the amount of punch-list work after the opening bothered the hotel chain, according to statements by Brett Cimonelli, Omni’s vice president of construction and development.

Cimonelli made a presentation about the project in November that was reported on and videotaped by an industry media outlet, Hotel Spaces.

“Don’t gasp too much. I think we had about 1,000 items on punch-list, not something we’re proud of,” Ciminelli stated. “I think today we’re down to 60 so still have quite a few left. Not nearly as many as we had before but still unacceptable.”

He did not attribute the punch-list items to any particular trouble or trade other than saying there were challenges in joining different old building systems to new ones. He traced some of the punch-list issues to construction labor shortages.

Cimonelli and Omni could not be reached for comment or clarification.

Brandt Cos., which is based in Carrollton, Texas, also could not be reached for comment.

Design-Build Prime Contract

The Beck Group, the project’s design-build contractor, had been hired originally as architect and later became the prime contractor, too, Cimonelli said.

In an emailed statement, Beck Group said it “values its relationship with the project owners and will continue to do the right thing for all subcontractors and third parties involved. We are looking into recent issues, but these are standard business practices and ordinary in the course of a project, especially during close-out.”

Texas’ prompt-pay law for private work provides for quick payment to subs and suppliers after the general or prime contractor has been paid. And there is a contingent payment law that provides that the pay-if-paid clauses in many construction contracts are unenforceable against a subcontractor if the cause of the payment delay is the general contractor or another subcontractor.