Notice of Commencement Overview

A Notice of Commencement (sometimes called ‘Notice of Project Commencement’ or ‘Affidavit of Commencement’ of ‘Notice of Contract’) is a document that formally designates the beginning of a project.

Unlike other construction notices (such as the preliminary notice), the Notice of Commnecement is:

  • Recorded:  These notices are filed with the county recorder offices in the county where the construction project is located.
  • Filed by the General Contractor:  The general contractor is frequently excused from sending a preliminary notice, but this notice is usually the general contractor’s duty.
  • Required by Law:  When these notices are mentioned in a state’s lien law, they are usually required, and general contractors will sustain consequences if they are not recorded.

The Notice of Commencement serves as a notice to the public that construction is beginning or has begun, and specifically exists to provide information about the job to all subcontractors, suppliers, and vendors who will work on the project. Finding job information is a big challenge for subcontractors and suppliers in the construction industry, but states that have a formal notice process like this make things a little easier on these parties.

When these commencement notices are required (and properly filed), they typically have some impact on the lien rights of subcontractors and suppliers on the affected jobs. Usually, the filed notice will create an additional layer of protection for general contractors and property owners by creating additional hurdles and limits to the lien process. A properly filed notice of commencement can, for example, require preliminary notices be sent when otherwise they are not required, or can shorten the period of time that subs & suppliers may file liens.

Since this notice can impact a company’s right to file a mechanics lien, it’s important that subcontractors and suppliers know whether a NOC is filed or not, and know the information contained on any filed notices.  Since these notices are filed in county records and are not generally accessible, and are filed with different methods of indexing, this can be more difficult than it may seem.

This page provides a guide, frequently asked questions, forms, and all the information you need to know about Notices of Commencement. Whether you’re preparing & filing these notices, looking for them, or just trying to understand them better, this information will help you understand and master this document and process. And since these notices are so sensitive to the state’s rules, this page will also help you navigate the NOC requirements in each state. For a longer discussion about this notice generally and how it works, refer to our Ultimate Guide to Notices of Commencement.

Map of Notice of Commencement Requirements

Some states have strict requirements for notices of commencement, and other states have this type of mechanism mentioned in their laws with some impact. A majority of states’ lien laws don’t mention this document at all. You can rely on the color-coded map below to see which states have NOC rules and which don't.

NOC Requirements Private Jobs
  • NOC Requirements Private Jobs
  •  
  • NOC Requirements State Jobs
  •  
  • Does Not Exist
  • NOCs Are Filed
  • Does Not Exist
  • NOCs Are Filed

Frequently Asked Questions about NOCs

The rules and laws on Notices of Commencements can be confusing, but it's important to get the details right if you're in a state where these documents are required. Here are some helpful questions and answers that you may have.

Who needs to use a Notice of Commencement?

Typically, a Notice of Commencement is filed by the property owner or another top-of-chain party on a construction project such as the prime contractor.

This document affects the preliminary notice and mechanics lien requirements and deadlines for subcontractors, material suppliers, and other parties down the contracting chain.

Who needs to get the notice of commencement recorded -- the owner, the GC, or someone else?

There's always a question about who actually needs to do the work of getting the notice of commencement recorded. The laws can be a little unclear on this, too. This is further complicated because construction contracts sometimes put the obligation of filing these documents on someone (such as a general contractor), when the legal obligation actually rests with the property owner, etc.

The answer to this question will depend on the state where the project is located, as each state is slightly different. We explored the requirement in Florida, for example, in this question on our expert center.

Note that while the construction contract may say one thing, the safest thing to do is to just follow the law on this point. If you are not legally required to file the NOC, but the contract puts the obligation on you, you'll want to comply with your contract just to be safe.

Does a Notice of Commencement vary according to the project location?

Yes. Whether a commencement notice is required or contemplated varies from state-to-state and even depending on the project itself (i.e. commercial & residential jobs v. public jobs). Some states have strict requirements for these notices, and other states have this type of mechanism mentioned in their laws with some impact. A majority of states’ lien laws don’t mention the notice of commencement document at all.

Here are the states where the Notice of Commencement concept exists and is used:

  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana (called Notice of Contract)
  • Nebraska
  • Ohio
  • Michigan
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Texas (where it's called an "Affidavit of Commencement")
  • Utah (only on state projects)
Specific filing requirements vary by state, but in most cases, the notice should be recorded with the county as well as posted at the project site.

Does a Notice of Commence vary according to the project type?

For the states that have this document as either a requirement or an option, it is almost always used in conjunction with private construction projects.

One exception is in Georgia where the state's notice of commencement requirement extends to state-owned projects. Another exception is in Utah, where the notice of commencement process exists only on public jobs.

This document is not ever applicable (not as an option nor as a requirement) for federally-owned construction projects.

In what circumstances is it normally used?

As the name suggests, this notice comes at the start of a new construction project. It is typically filed before or shortly after any labor or materials are furnished on a project.

What can go wrong?

As discussed above, the main effect of a NOC is that it shortens the timelines that potential lien claimants (typically, the subcontractors and suppliers) have to complete the required steps in the mechanic's lien process, especially with regard to sending a preliminary notice.

This is important because if a required preliminary notice is sent late, then the potential claimant's mechanics lien rights may be reduced or even extinguished.

For the parties (typically project owners or GCs) that work in states where a notice of commencement is required, missing out on filing it just means that they are depriving themselves of the extra protection that the notice of commencement affords. Thus, their exposure to mechanics lien risk would be increased.

Can I record a NOC if it's not required or optional in my project's state?

This is an interesting question, and there are a few different ways to answer it.

First things first -- if you record a notice of commencement where it's not required or optional...it likely won't have any effect at all. As such, there may not be any benefit for you in doing this, other than to create a little confusion.

However, it is possible that you can record this. Recorder offices are generally required to file anything presented to them for recording. If you created a commencement notice, formatted it according to their recording rules, and presented it to them, it would likely be recorded.

Where can I find the notice of commencement for a project?

The short answer to this question is that you can find any commencement notices at the recorder's office where NOCs are typically filed. These are public records, and you can access them directly.

However, it's not always that easy. Though recording offices are managing "public" records, these records are usually behind pay walls of some sort, and may even require you going down to the county office and pulling the record manually!!

Here are a few articles about finding NOCs in a few different states:

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Free Notice of Commencement Forms

The first step to getting a NOC properly filed is to get the form template right.  Many counties provide NOC form templates, and generally speaking, these are very straight-forward documents.  All Levelset forms are created and curated by construction attorneys and payment experts, and provided to you for free.  If you want more than just a simple Fill-able PDF notice of commencement form, just use our easy step-by-step document tool to file your NOC in minutes online!

Broward County Florida Notice of Commencement Form - free from

Broward County Florida Notice of Commencement Form

Florida’s Notice of Commencement rules requires that the property owner have this notice form recorded and filed before the start of any Florida construction project that is...

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Florida Notice of Commencement Form - free from

Florida Notice of Commencement Form

This free Notice of Commencement form is used in the state of Florida to notify parties on a project that work as begun. Sometimes this...

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Georgia Notice of Commencement (Public Projects) Form - free from

Georgia Notice of Commencement (Public Projects) Form

Prime Contractors on public works projects in Georgia must file a Notice of Commencement within 15 days of beginning work on a project.

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Georgia Notice of Commencement Form - free from

Georgia Notice of Commencement Form

In Georgia, no later than 15 days after work physically begins on the property, a Notice of Commencement is required to be filed either by...

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Iowa Notice of Commencement Form - free from

Iowa Notice of Commencement Form

On residential construction properties, a general contractor must provide a notice in order to preserve their own right to lien. This notice must be given...

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Michigan Notice of Commencement Form - free from

Michigan Notice of Commencement Form

At the start of construction, or thereafter if not previously filed, an owner is required to record a Notice of Commencement with the county where...

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