Importance of Following Lien Law and Filing the Notice Commencement
Within the construction industry in Florida, deadlines and time frames are strongly enforced which means that general contractors need to have their paperwork in order. It’s also important for keeping the project on track, for example knowing the start date of a project is important, but how does one know the exact date? It’s available in the Notice of Commencement.
What is the Notice of Commencement?
The notice of commitment, also known as the “Affidavit of Commencement” or the “Notice of Project Commencement” is an official document that declares the starting date of a construction project. It’s the same day that the contractor, subcontractor, or support can start providing labor and materials for the project.
The NOC is thus an announcement that a project has started. It also contains information that is useful for different stakeholders at various stages of the project.
A NOC will usually contain:
- The property owner’s name and address
- A description of the property and the full address
- A brief description of the work that is to be done
- The general contractor’s name, address and contact information
- The contractor’s surety information
- The lender’s information
- Details of the property owner’s legal representatives
- The expiration date of the Notice
- The property owners’ signatures (helpful if payment issues arise)
For general contractors in Florida, this information, as well as the signatures from the property owners, is very important. The information can be used if payment issues arise. Additionally, pre-lien notices (such as the Notice to Owner and the mechanic’s liens) will rely on this information. It is therefore recommended that general contractors, as well as subcontractors and suppliers, take note of the information provided in the Notice of Commencement.
Who files the Notice of Commencement?
The NOC is typically filed by the property owner, and in some cases, the general contractor. It is served just before or just after work is carried out on a project. It must be officially recorded at the local state office where the project is based, in Florida.
It must be signed by the property owner, and their legal name must be stated on the NOC. That person will also be required to sign the document. In situations where there are multiple numbers, for full compliance, it is recommended that all property owners provide their signatures.
Why is a Notice of Commencement Filed?
The lien laws in Florida explicitly require the property owner or the general contractor to file a notice of commencement. And in Florida, the Notice of Commencement is the starting point for the mechanic’s lien process. The information found on the NOC will be used to fill pre-lien notices by participants on the project because a Notice to Owner is a legal requirement in Florida.
The NOC also allows a general contractor in Florida (as well as subcontractors and suppliers) to schedule the filing of other important documentation. For example, the preliminary notice needs to be sent within the first 15 days of the project, and that 15-day count begins on the date recorded in the notice.
Are There Consequences if An NOC is Not Filed?
In Florida, the general contractor will not be able to secure a building permit unless they are able to produce a correctly filed NOC. It may also lead to double payment for the property owner if the contractor leaves before paying subcontractors and suppliers because, without an NOC, the property owner will have violated Florida’s rulings on mechanics liens. This will then make them responsible for all payments to stakeholders even if the contractor has been paid in full.
Contractors Reporting Services in Tampa, FL, understands the importance of filing all required paperwork correctly and on-time. They help general contractors and other construction stakeholders ensure that all the documentation for a project is in order to ensure that their clients can focus on the project, rather than papers.