Am I responsible for filing the Notice of Commencement in GA?

2 weeks ago

Usually, I’m hired directly by the property owner for restoration work in Georgia, and I feel a bit confused about the Notice of Commencement requirement. I see that it’s required to be filed by the PO or GC (or owner designee). Does that mean that if I search for it and cannot find it (either on the jobsite or online), that I should go ahead and be the one to file it? Should this be a conversation I open with the PO first to see if they’re going to do it or just go ahead and do it to be safe? How often is the GC the one to file this Notice of Commencement?

Senior Legal Associate Levelset

As you mention above, a Notice of Commencement is generally filed by the property owner or the project’s general contractor. To assess whether or not to file a Notice of Commencement when an owner hasn’t made that filing – it should be helpful to look at what happens when one isn’t filed.

But, to determine who should (or should not) file a Notice of Commencement on the project, a discussion with the project’s property owner would likely be beneficial.

What happens if no Notice of Commencement is filed on a Georgia restoration project?

Filing a Georgia Notice of Commencement creates preliminary notice requirements for any subcontractors and suppliers working on the given job. That’s the biggest benefit of filing the notice – if subcontractors and suppliers provide work to the job, they’ll only be able to preserve lien rights for their work if the required preliminary notice is sent.

But what happens if the Notice of Commencement isn’t filed?

Not much, really. Preliminary notices won’t be required from subs and suppliers (if there are any), and an owner may end up exposed to paying for the work twice if some sub-tier claimant comes forward and makes a payment claim. But, beyond that, nothing in the Georgia mechanics lien statute seems to provide additional consequences for failing to file a Notice of Commencement.

Should a restoration contractor file a Notice of Commencement for the property owner?

That’s ultimately up to the contractor and the owner to decide among themselves. It’s common for a GC to file a Notice of Commencement rather than the owner, but it’s also common for restoration contractors to forgo filing a Notice of Commencement when there are no sub-tier participants on the job.

For an owner, if there will be multiple different companies providing work to the property, they’ll probably be interested in making sure a Notice of Commencement is filed to make sure no liens come up out of nowhere. Otherwise, they may end up paying twice for the same work.

For a contractor, a Notice of Commencement filing helps to ensure that notices are received from all lower-tiered parties on the job – and contractors should love receiving preliminary notices.But, where a restoration contractor won’t have any subs or suppliers on the job – filing a Notice of Commencement might not be that high of a priority. Plus, if an owner really wants one filed, they’re fully entitled to make that filing themselves.

Additional Georgia Notice of Commencement resources

I hope this was helpful! To ultimately decide whether a Notice of Commencement will be filed and who will file it – it might be helpful to have that discussion with the property owner. But, failure to file a Notice of Commencement – particularly on small jobs without subs or suppliers – isn’t a damning sign for a construction job.

Levelset has written quite a bit on the topic of Georgia Notices of Commencement. Here are some articles and other resources that might also be helpful:

– Georgia Notice of Commencement FAQs & Guide
– Georgia Notice of Commencement Checklist & Lien Risk Guide for Owners
– How Do You Find a Notice of Commencement in Georgia?

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