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Do I need to send a Notice of Commencement on a short residential job in GA?

GeorgiaNotice of CommencementPreliminary Notice

If I am directly contracted with the Property Owner on a residential job in GA that is only lasting 3-5 days, should I file the Notice of Commencement? Is this the same thing as a preliminary notice, or should I send one of those separately? There are no other parties on the job.

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Jul 18, 2019
Great questions. Let's look at them separately - first, we'll look at how preliminary notices and Notices of Commencement differ, then at Georgia's specific rules for filing a Notice of Commencement.

Preliminary notices and Notices of Commencement
Preliminary notices and Notices of Commencement serve very different purposes. As you may know, preliminary notices provide many benefits to construction participants - namely, they work to establish a communicative and collaborative construction project, and they're also typically required in order to preserve mechanics lien rights. A Notice of Commencement is a bit different. Notices of Commencement will typically create an official start date for a construction project, which could be important in some situations if disputes later arise. But more typically, a Notice of Commencement serves as another point of communication and collaboration for the project, and one of its main uses is to disseminate project information to other participants. And, sometimes, a Notice of Commencement might play a larger regulatory role and may be required pursuant to licensing or permitting rules in some states - but every state's Notice of Commencement requirements will be different. For more background on Notices of Commencement: What Is a Notice of Commencement? Your Guide with Downloads.

As for whether one or both should be sent - that's ultimately up to the person business sending the notices. Sending both wouldn't have any drawbacks, but it might not have much positive effect, either. Plus, filing a Notice of Commencement isn't as cheap and takes a little more effort than sending a preliminary notice. So when a Notice of Commencement might not necessarily matter on a project, it wouldn't be unthinkable for a contractor to forgo the process.

Georgia's rules on Notice of Commencement
As for Georgia's Notice of Commencement rules, § 44-14-361.1 of Georgia's lien statute requires that a Notice of Commencement be filed within 15 days of physically starting work on the property. Project length doesn't really have any bearing on whether or not a Notice of Commencement should be used - though it could come into consideration for an individual owner or contractor when assessing whether to file one.

However, when it's a simple job and there will be no subs or suppliers, the question remains: What happens if no Notice of Commencement is filed?

Practically, for construction projects where the owner will hire one party who will do all of the work and provide all of the material themselves, it might not really matter much if the owner or GC decides not to file their Georgia Notice of Commencement. Based on § 44-14-361.5(d), and based on the remainder of Georgia's lien statute being silent on the topic, it seems as though the only real fallout would be that, if no Notice of Commencement is filed, then any subs and suppliers wouldn't need to comply with the lien statute's preliminary notice provisions in order to pursue a lien claim. But, in a situation where there aren't any subs or suppliers, that might not matter.
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