public sector construction

Public Sector Construction Vs. Private Sector Construction

There is a vast difference between public sector construction and private sector projects when it comes to reporting construction payments. It’s also critical to understand what kind of construction project you’re working on, as there’s a significant difference between the two. 

Construction businesses must weigh a variety of factors when determining whether to work in the private or public sector, including the types of contracts they will face, the rules and regulations that apply in both circumstances, and the inherent convenience or difficulty of securing a strong offer.

While working on privately owned land may have been a good option a few years ago, an increasing number of building contractors are now trying to establish higher goals in the public sector.

Public Sector Construction 

Public construction has effectively become associated with the vast category of building, construction, and architectural public works projects for general public use that are often funded by the state, local, or federal governments.

Private Sector Construction 

Private sectors are owned by individuals rather than the government. Hence projects that have the ownership of an individual will fall under private sector construction.

What is the Difference Between Public and Private Projects?

The applicable rules are established in the “Miller Act,” whether the government is the USA or a federal agency. The applicable requirements are normally contained within a “Little Miller Act” act where the government is the state. 

When working for a private school (i.e., a private university), a non-profit organization, or even a huge public firm, take extra care. These organizations are sometimes referred to as “public” agencies, although it does not always imply that they are a “public construction project.” Typically, land and projects held by the federal or state governments are given this title. If public sector construction companies are unclear, then they must inquire or engage an attorney to investigate the situation.

Why Does the Type of Construction Project Matter?

Most states enable you to file a mechanical lien against the property if you are not paid on a private project. This gives your business a stake in the property that your labor or supplies have renovated. The lien must be filed within a certain amount of time, and if it isn’t paid, you’ll have to “foreclose” on the lien to get paid, which could mean selling the property at auction to get the money you need to pay off your claim.

When working on public sector construction projects without being compensated, the situation is very different.

Most states (and the federal government) forbid any party from establishing an interest in public property, so your company won’t be able to file a mechanics lien against one. As a result, the majority of public building projects can only move forward if a “payment bond” is granted. Rather than filing a lien, the unpaid party will submit a claim against the payment bond in the case of non-payment on a public job. Rather than foreclosing on the property, the claimant will “foreclose,” – resulting in payment.

Other Construction Payment Differences Based on Project Type

  • Retainage requirements differ widely from state to state based on project type.
  • Another area where each state’s rules and obligations differ is prompt payment.
  • In other places, lien waivers are also regarded differently.

Getting the Most Out of Your Decisions

So, which path should you take? Many business owners had to do a complete 180-degree flip on the way they ran their businesses at the start of the economic crisis in 2008. Working with the government was the only option to avoid losing clients and eventually going bankrupt because the private sector was becoming increasingly unreliable.

As the economy improves, the market has become much more balanced. Private projects are becoming more common, and the only thing keeping you away from them could be the specific set of restrictions and criteria that come with working for private persons or corporations.


In summary, public contracts are still more stable, dependable, and simple than private projects, and they might provide you with the ideal opportunity to expand as a firm unless you’re just beginning out in construction.

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