Notice of Commencement Overview

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

The Notice of Commencement serves as protection for the project owner or general contractor because it creates additional hurdles and limits the lien process timeline for potential lien claimants: if a required preliminary notice is sent late, lien rights may be reduced or even extinguished.

Map of Notice of Commencement Requirements

There are 5 states that require a notice of commencement to be filed on a construction project. There are 3 additional states that offer the document as an option. A majority of states’ lien laws don’t mention the notice of commencement document at all.

  • No Requirement
  • NOC Is Required
  • NOC Is Optional

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. There are 5 states that require a notice of commencement to be filed on a construction project. There are 3 additional states that offer the document as an option. A majority of states’ lien laws don’t mention this document at all.

The 5 states that require a Notice of Commencement are:

  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Ohio
  • Michigan
  • Iowa
The 3 states with an optional Notice of Commencement are:
  • Texas (where it's called an "Affidavit of Commencement")
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Louisiana (where it's called a "Notice of Contract")
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.

The lone exception is Georgia where the state's notice of commencement requirement extends to state-owned projects.

This document is not 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, the Notice of Commencement 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 with a Notice of Commencement?

As discussed above, the main effect of a notice of commencement 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 Notice of Commencement 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:

Is a Notice of Commencement typically paired with anything else?

No, it is not necessarily paired with other documents per se. However, it impacts the preliminary notice and mechanics lien timelines for other parties on a project.

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Learn More about NOCs - Video

Learn more about NOCs by watching this video explaining the document in easy to understand terms.

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!

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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Ohio Notice of Commencement Form - free from

Ohio Notice of Commencement Form

Ohio is one of the few states where a Notice of Commencement must be filed. The Notice of Commencement must be filed by the owner...

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