A Notice of Commencement is a legal document available to property owners and general contractors that signifies the date of the formal start of construction on the project. The Notice of Commencement may also include other pertinent project information* including the property owner’s name and address, and the project address. Notice of Commencement is required in Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, and Ohio. It is optional (though still available) in South Carolina, South Dakota, and Texas.
This article is going to focus on the requirements of 2 southeastern states with a lot of construction activity, Florida and Georgia. The requirements are slightly different in each state, and we’ve listed a breakdown of some of the main points for each state below.
*Both Florida and Georgia require that subcontractors and suppliers send preliminary notices, and so the additional project information the property owner or GC provides in the Notice of Commencement will help parties farther down the payment chain find all of the project information needed to complete their preliminary notices.
For Property Owners in Florida, and for Property Owners or General Contractors in Georgia:
Must notice of commencement be filed?
Who files notice of commencement?
Florida: The property owner or the owner’s agent is required to file the notice of commencement.
Georgia: The property owner, the owner’s agent, or the general contractor is required to file notice of commencement.
When must notice of commencement be filed?
Florida: Before the start of the project.
Georgia: No later than 15 days from the commencement of work.
How is the notice of commencement filed?
Florida: The notice of commencement must be recorded in the county clerk’s office and posted on the job site.
Georgia: The notice of commencement must be filed with the clerk of the superior court and posted on the job site.
Can the property owner appoint a designee?
Florida: Yes. If the owner appoints a designee, the designee will receive all notices to owner.
Must the notice of commencement be provided upon request?
Florida: The Florida lien statute does not specify whether the notice of commencement must be provided upon request.
Georgia: Yes. The notice of commencement must be provided to any subcontractor, materialman, or person who makes a written request to the party that filed the notice.
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For Contractors and Suppliers in Florida and Georgia:
How does notice of commencement affect me?
Florida: Florida requires that almost all parties furnishing labor or materials on a construction project send a Notice to Owner. The information needed to accurately fill out a valid notice to owner (or NTO) can be found in the notice of commencement. Therefore, the notice of commencement makes your life a little bit easier.
Georgia: The filing of notice of commencement affects preliminary notice (aka Notice to Contractor) requirements. Additionally, Georgia contractors, suppliers, and other parties can use the information provided in the notice of commencement to accurately fill out a valid notice to contractor.
Where do I find notice of commencement?
Florida: Florida requires that the property owner or the owner’s agent post the notice of commencement conspicuously on the job site before the project begins. If you cannot find the notice of commencement, check with the county recorder’s office.
Georgia: Georgia requires that the notice of commencement is posted on the job site. If you cannot find the notice of commencement, check with the clerk of the superior court.
Does the notice of commencement affect my notice requirements?
Florida: No. All parties furnishing labor or materials on a project are required to send notice to owner. The filing of a notice of commencement does not affect this requirement.
Georgia: Yes. If notice of commencement is filed, all potential lien claimants not in direct contractual relation with the general contractor must send a Notice to Contractor to the property owner and the general contractor. Note that notice of commencement is required to be sent in Georgia, so the only time a Notice to Contractor would not be required is if the property owner (or the owner’s agent or the general contractor) fails to send notice of commencement or sends one defectively.
Does the notice of commencement affect my deadlines?
Florida: No. In Florida, deadlines for notices and liens are not measured from the date notice of commencement is filed. Instead, they are typically measured from the date you begin work. For more on Florida deadlines, check out zlien’s Florida resource page.
Georgia: Yes. If notice of commencement is filed, Notice to Contractor must be sent within 30 days of the filing of the notice of commencement, or within 30 days of first furnishing labor or materials, whichever is later.