The members of the Scout team at Levelset are constantly searching for things, trying to track down project information that’s accurate and complete. Sometimes, we’re looking for an elusive property owner. Other times, there is a confusing Legal Property Description that must be sorted out. And just last week, I had to help one of my teammates find a clean coffee mug in the kitchen!
As a result of constantly searching for things, we’ve gotten to be pretty good at finding what we’re looking for. (Except for my coworker’s car keys – those have disappeared, seemingly for good!) Tracking down project information in the state of Florida can be a challenge, and in this article, we’re going to discuss how to find a Notice of Commencement for a Florida construction project.
Where can I Find the Notice of Commencement for a Florida Construction Project?
Generally speaking, a Notice of Commencement can be found in one of two places:
- posted at the construction site in an easy to see place, or
- filed with the Assessor’s office in the county where the project is located
So in this case, if you’re still delivering materials to or banging hammers and nails at the job site, you should be able to find the Notice of Commencement posted in a conspicuous place somewhere in the general vicinity.
But let’s say you’re an out-of-state material supplier sitting at a desk in your office which is located hundreds of miles away from the job site and/or the county recorder’s office. The materials you sold were shipped to the job site from your warehouse, and you haven’t even stepped foot in the state of Florida, let alone visited the job site in question or the county assessor office. What do you do then?
Luckily for all of us, we live in an age of technology and many of Florida’s county assessor’s records are only a few clicks and keystrokes away. (The website for the Orange County Assessor is my personal favorite.)
Entering “Official Records _______ County” in your search engine usually gets you right to the search homepage page and as an added plus we’ve added a few of the more popular county links below. At this point you can usually filter your search to just Notice of Commencements, by date filed with the county and even your hiring party if you know they’re the general contractor on the job.
Free Form Template Download: Florida Notice of Commencement
But, a cautionary note: not everyone on a construction project is hired by the project’s general contractor, and that can sometimes be an issue since you can usually only find a Notice of Commencement online if you have either the Grantor, Grantee, or Instrument number associated with the document.
Often (but not in every case), the grantor is the equivalent of the property owner and the grantee is the general contractor when searching within the county assessor’s site for your Notice of Commencement. These contacts can be difficult to find when you’re either a material supplier contracting with a subcontractor on a job or even a sub-subcontractor.
What Is a Florida Notice of Commencement?
We consider the Notice of Commencement as the Holy Grail of project information for construction jobs in the state of Florida. Set forth by the Florida Construction Lien Statute, a Notice of Commencement is a document filed at the start of a construction project that outlines important project details like:
- the property owner
- the project’s general contractor
- the project’s physical address
- the property’s Legal Property Description or tax folio #
- and other important project contacts
(this last category could include lenders, mortgagees, owner designees, etc…)
These blessed treasure troves of useful information come in handy when researching preliminary notices or lien claims for our users, especially those lower down the payment chain like the subcontractors or material suppliers who may not always have access to this kind of information.
In essence, a Florida Notice of Commencement is like a one-stop shop for just about all of the information you’d need to protect your lien rights when working on a construction project. But as great as they are, Notice of Commencements are not always easy to find or readily accessible. Luckily, this isn’t the Scout team’s first treasure hunt, and we’re happy to share what we’ve learned in our past adventures.