Retainage Release FAQ

Q. Who files the Notice of Completion form?

A. The public entity must file the request.

Q. Why does L&I perform the contract release function?

A.We review the requests for contract release to ensure that workers' compensation premiums have been properly reported and paid, per RCW 60.28.011 (

Q. What does L&I do with the requests?

A. We check each approved Affidavit of Wages Paid submitted by the general contractor and any subcontractors. We compare the type of work and the amount of employment to the work reported for workers compensation premiums. If the work is properly reported and paid by all contractors, we send our Certificate of Release letter to the public entity and the general contractor. If premiums are not properly reported or paid, we may contact the contractor directly for correction, or pursue with the general contractor (for subcontractor issues) or the public entity.

Q. Does L&I require a Notice of Completion on all public works projects?

A. A Notice of Completion is required for public works contracts of $35,000 or more, completed after September 30, 2009.

RCW 39.04.010(4) "Public work" means all work, construction, alteration, repair, or improvement other than ordinary maintenance, executed at the cost of the state or of any municipality, or which is by law a lien or charge on any property therein.

Q. Does the $35,000 limit include sales tax?

A. No

Q. When should the Notice of Completion be submitted to L&I?

A. After completion of all work on the contract (after final acceptance) and all contractors have approved Affidavit of Wages Paid.

Q. Should I wait for all Affidavits to be approved before I submit the Notice of Completion?

A. Yes. Effective April 1, 2013, if the affidavits are not listed on the NOC, the NOC will be returned to the public agency. Previously, if L&I received a NOC and could not find an Affidavit of Wages Paid on file for all contractors, L&I would attempt to reach the contractors and remind them to file. This time-consuming effort caused significant delays for other customers. In an effort to speed the process, L&I will change its practice on April 1, 2013, and return any NOC that does not list all corresponding affidavit numbers for the project. L&I will notify the public agency and provide information as to what the problem is, how to resubmit the NOC, and request they inform the general contractor of the issue.

Q. When can the public entity release retainage?

A. In order to release retainage, the public entity must first receive approval to release retainage from the Department of Revenue, the Employment Security Department, and the Department of Labor & Industries.

In addition, an Affidavit is required from all contractors on the project and these must be approved before retainage can be released.

Search for approved Affidavits.

Also note that there are other considerations for the release of retainage. This FAQ does not address claims filed by subcontractors, suppliers, workers, etc.

Q. What things are most likely to cause a delay?

A. We check the Affidavits submitted by the general contractor and any subcontractors. If Affidavits are missing on the Notice of Completion (NOC) or we do not have an approved Affidavit for any contractor, we cannot proceed with the contract review. We will ask the public entity the resubmit the NOC once all Affidavits are approved and listed on the NOC.

Delays may also occur if we request amended workers' compensation premium reports or make a referral to audit or collections to correct premium reporting or collect unpaid premiums.

Q. How do I show on the form if retainage is in the form of a bond?

A. In the Amount Retained field, enter “Bonded”.

Q. How does L&I collect from retainage that is bonded?

A. We will send a Certificate of Lien to the public entity. This is the same process used for cash retainage. The public entity provides a copy of the lien to the bonding company with the status of other release requests.

Q. How do I file the Notice of Completion form?

A. You may download the form on the L&I website at Notice of Completion of Public Works Contract (F215-038-000).

There are three ways that you can send the form to L&I:

  1. Email the form to:
  2. Fax the form to:       360-902-6897
  3. Mail the form to:

Department of Labor & Industries
PO Box 44274
Olympia, WA 98504-4272

Q. Will this form be sent to all three agencies (DOR, ESD and L&I)?

A. No, the requests submitted to L&I are not forwarded to DOR or ESD.

Q . Who can I contact for more information?

A. You may email questions to or call 1-855-545-8163.

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