Have you ever walked into a room and forgotten why you went in there? Have you ever told yourself “I’ll remember that! I don’t need to write it down…” and then forgotten?
Of course you have. You’re human.
On a construction project, a similar phenomenon occurs with the start of a job. Construction jobs go on for months and months (and potentially years and years). When a project gets rolling, it’s incredibly easy to forget exactly when a job began. That is, it’s easy to forget that date when a Notice of Commencement isn’t present. Michigan is one of the very few states that require a Notice of Commencement to be filed. Let’s look at the nuts and bolts of the notice.
Who Files the Michigan Notice of Commencement?
In Michigan, the property owner (or lessee) is required to file the Notice of Commencement.
Where Is it Filed?
The notice is filed with the register of deeds for the county where the property being improved is located. The Notice of Commencement must also be posted on the job site – so it should be relatively easy to track down
The notice must be filed at the start of the project. If for some reason the notice is not filed at the beginning, it needs to be filed just after any labor/materials are furnished to the project.
What’s on the Notice Itself?
Here are the basics:
- The project’s legal description
- The name and address of the owner (or lessee)
- The name and address of the owner or lessor’s designee
- The name and address of the general contractor
Is this Information that Important?
Oh yeah. For instance, subcontractors working on Michigan construction jobs are required to file a Notice of Furnishing to the owner and prime contractor within 20 days of first furnishing labor and/or materials to a job.
Plus, you’ll notice that there is a lot of overlap between the information required on Michigan’s Notice of Commencement and on a Michigan lien claim. For claimants, gathering this information can be a virtual nightmare. But a Notice of Commencement wraps it up with a neat little bow.
Preliminary Notice Extended
Finally, and this may be the most important point: If the Notice of Commencement isn’t filed, the time to provide preliminary notice is extended. In Michigan, a Notice of Furnishing is generally required within 20 days of first furnishing labor or materials to the project. But under Sec. 108(10) of the lien statute, if a Notice of Commencement is not filed, that Notice of Furnishing isn’t required to be sent “until 20 days after the notice of commencement has been recorded.”
Now, don’t get carried away. The notice should still be sent at the start of the project, and it’s a bad idea to try and use a (potentially) missing Notice of Commencement as an excuse to not send notice. But if you forget to send a Notice of Furnishing and the Notice of Commencement wasn’t filed, you might be in luck.