What is a Notice of Completion?
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A notice of completion is voluntary construction document that establishes the official “date of completion” for the project. It’s also known as a Notice of Cessation. Once filed in the county clerk’s office and sent to the appropriate parties, a notice of completion can start the clock ticking on important deadlines for contractors, suppliers, and others who worked on the project.
How it works
In states where a Notice of Completion is used, it can affect the release of retainage, the deadline to file a mechanics lien, and the warranty period. The property owner is generally the party responsible for filing this notice, though the prime contractor may file it on the owner’s behalf. A subcontractor or supplier doesn’t need to file it, though they do need to know when it is filed.
For example, in California, filing a Notice of Completion can shorten the deadline to file a lien from 90 days down to 60 or even 30 days, depending on your role on the project. In Utah, this notice cuts the filing deadline in half, from 180 days down to 90 days.
States where it’s used
There are eight (8) states in which a Notice of Completion affects the payment rights and responsibilities of parties on a construction project:
How to find out if a Notice of Completion was filed
Ask the County Recorder
The owner is typically required to file the notice with the county recorder where the project took place. Check the county records for the property to get information about any documents filed.
Send preliminary notice
A preliminary notice is a document sent at the beginning of a construction project. As if there weren’t already enough arguments for why you should send preliminary notice, here’s another one. Some states, like California and Arizona, require the property owner to notify all parties who have supplied them with a preliminary notice, informing them of the Notice of Completion filing and the new mechanics lien deadline.
This means that sending preliminary notice will require the owner to give you a written notice before shortening your lien deadline.