When you've built improvements to someone's property, but the owner or general contractor has not paid for them, you still own them. If you aren't paid, you can retrieve the value of your property by foreclosing on the loan. If by agreement you've provided labor or material that was incorporated into (and presumably increased the value of) real estate or improvements to it, you have a mechanics lien on the improved property. The lien comes into being by "action of law," that is, automatically. But certain steps must be taken to make the lien enforceable. Lien statutes are construed strictly, against the lienholder-concrete firm. Because of this strict construction of the statutes, the details for perfecting your mechanics lien cannot be standardized over a large, multistate area.