Massachusetts Notice of Substantial Completion FAQs

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Notice of Substantial Completion: Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, the notice of substantial completion is filed by the owner and general contractor on a project. The notice is filed when the project is complete and the owner is moving into the space.

The notice of substantial completion shortens the deadline for filing the two required documents to file a lien in Massachusetts: notice of contract and statement of account.

A notice of contract (or subcontract) is due on whichever is the earliest of:

  • 60 days after the notice of substantial completion is filed
  • 90 days after a notice of termination is filed
  • 90 days after the last day of providing labor and/or materials

A statement of account  is due on whichever is the earliest of:

  • 90 days after the notice of substantial completion is filed
  • 120 days after a notice of termination is filed
  • 120 days after the last day of providing labor and/or materials

Once the form is completed, it is recorded at the county registry of deeds office, and a copy is sent by the owner to every contractor who filed a notice of contract by certified mail return receipt requested. 

The general contractor must also send copies to everyone they are in contract with, as well as those who filed a notice of identification (contractors and suppliers who do not have a direct relationship with the GC or owner).

Liens can also be filed prior to the notice of substantial completion or notice of termination being filed.

Massachusetts Notice of Substantial Completion FAQs

There is a lot of information to digest about notices of substantial completion in Massachusetts, so a Q&A-style breakdown might be the easiest to follow. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions about Massachusetts’ notice of substantial completion rules, requirements, and implications.

How does a notice of completion affect a construction project in Massachusetts?

A notice of substantial completion reduces the amount of time claimants have to file a mechanics lien in Massachusetts; which is a two-step process: (1) Notice of Contract/Subcontract & (2) Statement of Account. 

When filed, it reduces the deadline to file a notice of contract (or subcontract) from 90 days after last furnishing work to 60 days after the notice of substantial completion was filed. It also reduces the deadline for filing a statement of account from 120 days after last furnishing work to 90 days after the notice of substantial completion was filed.

Who needs to file a notice of completion in Massachusetts?

The project owner and general contractor file a notice of substantial completion in Massachusetts.

Substantial completion is defined as when the “work under the written contract is sufficiently complete so that it can be occupied or utilized for its intended use.”

How do I find out if a notice of completion was filed?

The owner is required to send a copy of the notice of substantial completion to the general contractor and everyone who has filed a notice of contract for the project by certified mail return receipt requested.

Furthermore, the general contractor must then send a copy of the notice to everyone they’ve contracted with and any companies who have sent a notice of identification by certified mail return receipt requested.

Is a notice of completion required in Massachusetts?

No, it is not required.

Where is a notice of completion filed in Massachusetts?

It is filed and recorded at the county registry of deeds office in the county the project is located in.

Click here to see a menu of all Massachusetts counties.

What happens if a notice of completion wasn’t filed?

If a notice of substantial completion is not filed or properly served on the claimant, the filing deadlines do not change. The deadline for filing a notice of contract (or subcontract) is 90 days from the date of last furnishing work, and the statement of account is due 120 days after last furnishing work.

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Free Massachusetts Notice of Substantial Completion Forms

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Massachusetts Notice of Substantial Completion Form

The Massachusetts Notice of Substantial Completion is generally recorded at the completion of work on a construction project. The notice, once filed, must be served...

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Massachusetts Notice of Intent Statutes

The provision of the Massachusetts statutes that permit the filing of Notice of Substantial Completion can be found under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 254 §2 & §2A and is reproduced below. Updated as of September 2021.

MA Notice of Substantial Completion

§ 254:2. Written contract; notice

A person entering into a written contract with the owner of any interest in real property, or with any person acting for, on behalf of, or with the consent of such owner for the whole or part of the erection, alteration, repair or removal of a building, structure, or other improvement to real property, or for furnishing material or rental equipment, appliances, or tools therefor, shall have a lien upon such real property, land, building, structure or improvement owned by the party with whom or on behalf of whom the contract was entered into, as appears of record on the date when notice of said contract is filed or recorded in the registry of deeds for the county or district where such land lies, to secure the payment of all labor, including construction management and general contractor services, and material or rental equipment, appliances, or tools which shall be furnished by virtue of said contract. Said notice may be filed or recorded in the registry of deeds in the county or registry district where the land lies by any person entitled under this section to enforce a lien, and shall be in substantially the following form:

Notice is hereby given that by virtue of a written contract dated _________, between _________, owner, and __________, contractor, said contractor is to furnish or has furnished labor and material or rental equipment, appliances or tools for the erection, alteration, repair or removal of a building, structure, or other improvement on a lot of land or other interest in real property described as follows:

Such person may file or record the notice of contract at any time after execution of the written contract whether or not the date for performance stated in such written contract has passed and whether or not the work under such written contract has been performed, but not later than the earliest of: (i) sixty days after filing or recording of the notice of substantial completion under section two A; or (ii) ninety days after filing or recording of the notice of termination under section two B; or (iii) ninety days after such person or any person by, through or under him last performed or furnished labor or materials or both labor and materials.

§ 254:2A. Notice of substantial completion; recording.

As used in this chapter the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meaning:-

“Design professional”, an architect, landscape architect, professional engineer, licensed site professional or land surveyor who is licensed or registered as such in the commonwealth, and any corporation, partnership, limited liability company, or other legal entity that is authorized under the laws of the commonwealth to practice or hold itself out as practicing any of the foregoing professions.

“Professional services”, services that are customarily and legally performed by or under the supervision or responsible control of design professionals in the course of their professional practice, including without limitation, programming, planning, surveying, site investigation, analysis, assessment, design, preparation of drawings and specifications and construction administration services.

“Substantial completion”, that work under the written contract is sufficiently complete so that it can be occupied or utilized for its intended use.

“Written contract”, any written contract enforceable under the laws of the commonwealth.

Upon or after substantial completion of any contract subject to the provisions of section two, the owner and contractor shall execute and file or record in the appropriate registry of deeds a notice of substantial completion in substantially the following form:

Notice is hereby given that the work performed by virtue of a written contract dated __________ between ______________________ as owner, and __________ __________ as contractor, for the erection, alteration, repair or removal of a building, structure, or other improvement of real property described below, has been substantially completed as of the date of filing or recording of this notice. The lot of land or other interest in real property which is the subject of such contract is described as follows:

The undersigned owner hereby states that he has served written notice of the recording or filing of this notice of substantial completion upon every person who has filed or recorded prior to the date this notice is filed or recorded notice of contract under section four of chapter two hundred and fifty-four of the General Laws.

The undersigned contractor hereby states that he has served written notice of the recording or filing of this notice of substantial completion upon every person who has entered into a written contract directly with the contractor or who has given written notice of identification to the contractor prior to the date this notice is filed or recorded as provided in said section four of said chapter two hundred and fifty-four of the General Laws.

A copy of such notice, indicating the date of filing or recording, shall be mailed by certified mail return receipt requested by the owner to every person who has filed a notice of contract under section four and by the contractor to every person who has entered into a written contract directly with the contractor and every person who has given written notice of identification to the contractor claiming by, through, or under him as provided in section four.

The failure of the owner or contractor to give notice of the filing or recording of the notice of substantial completion to those persons so entitled shall not prejudice the rights of third parties who rely upon said notice of substantial completion in good faith and without actual knowledge of such failure of notice.

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