Little Miller Acts are active in just about everywhere you go in this nation. They’re in place to provide essential protections to subcontractors and vendors on construction projects. They are named after the Federal Miller Act which began life as the Heard Act of 1894, and gradually evolved into its current form.

What exactly is the Miller Act, however, and what does a Little Miller Act mean, and do, for the people it protects? Let’s explore the Illinois Little Miller Act, the protections it provides, and what it means for you as a contracting business, and the bonds the law requires you to hold.

The Miller Act

The Heard Act of 1894 was the first law that required contractors to carry a performance and payment bond to afford a degree of protection to those subcontractors and material providers that worked on a job. Unfortunately, this act was severely limited with red tape and procedural issues so it was difficult to enforce.

In 1935, the Heard Act was revised into and superseded by the Miller Act, which directly addresses two important concerns regarding government construction projects. These require contractors to carry performance bonds for the purpose of compensating those who would suffer if the contractor doesn’t complete their responsibilities. Secondly, contractors must carry payment bonds to ensure that material providers and subcontractors get paid if the job isn’t completed.

Little Miller Acts

The Federal Miller Act, unfortunately, only covers federal contracting jobs. This is where Little Miller Acts come into play. State after state has been following the federal government’s suit, and enacting acts that cover jobs at the state and regional levels. These acts require specific bonding requirements be carried by contractors bidding and working on state construction projects. Each state has its own specific requirements.

Illinois Little Miller Act

The Illinois Little Miller Act requires any job whose contract is valued at more than $50,000 and is a state project, or is valued at $5,000 and is a state subdivision project, to carry both a performance bond to ensure completion of the contractor, and a payment bond to ensure payment of subcontractors and materials vendors, should the contractor not be able to complete their agreed-upon responsibilities.

These bonds are enforced by filing a suit 120 days after the last work or the final settlement, and are limited by the filing of a suit within 6 months of the project’s final acceptance. In order to pursue a lien against these bonds, the obligee must file a notice to the government within 180 days of the final work, plus provide a 10-day notice to the contractor thereafter.

Getting the Right Bonds

If you’re bidding on a government project in Illinois and you need to get in compliance with the Illinois Little Miller Act, National Surety Services, Inc, is here to help. We’ve got decades of experience taking the pain out of the bonding process and getting contractors the surety they need to take their business to the next level. If you’d like more information on getting the right performance bonds and payment bonds for your business in Illinois, get in touch with us today.

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