Preliminary Notice

Preliminary notices are sent on construction projects by contractors and suppliers at the beginning of a job to notify all parties about their work, to help streamline the pay application & payment process, and to preserve the sender’s rights to later file a mechanics lien if unpaid for their work/materials.

This document goes by many different names across the United States, including the Notice to Owner or NTO (in Florida), the 20-day notice (in California & Arizona), the Notice of Furnishing (in Ohio), etc. Typically, a contractor or supplier must deliver a preliminary notice to the property owner and general contractor within a certain number of days at the start of a job. If unsent, the contractor or supplier forfeits their lien rights, and in some cases, may also be fined.

The preliminary notice requirements are different from state-to-state, and you may have many questions about how it works. It’s important to know the requirements for the state where your project is located. View the 50-State Preliminary Notice Requirements here, where you can also select your state from a map for the rules that apply where you are working.  If you need help with researching, preparing, and sending preliminary notices, here is a review of the 10 best preliminary notice services.

Note also that these construction documents are just one type of notice sent and received on construction jobs. These are different than other types of notices, such as notices of commencement, notices of completion, stop notices, notices of termination, notice of intent to lien, contract notices, notices of change orders, and notices of request for information.

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