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Georgia Notice to Contractor: Who Must Serve and When?

Georgia Notice to Contractor: Who Must Serve and When?

March 2, 2021

Each state has different rules about who can make a bond claim for publicly funded construction projects. In Georgia, certain construction participants may need to serve a preliminary notice so they can protect their bond claim rights.

More specifically, construction parties working in public projects in Georgia may be required to serve a preliminary notice called the Notice to Contractor. This guide discusses how to properly serve a Georgia Notice to Contractor if you are working on public projects.

Send a Georgia Notice to Contractor in 60 seconds

Send a Georgia Notice to Contractor in 60 seconds

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Who must serve a Notice to Contractor for public projects in Georgia?

Parties who meet the following criteria must serve a Georgia Notice to Contractor for public projects:

  • You have no direct contract with the project’s prime contractor.
  • Your project’s prime contractor has filed a valid Notice of Commencement.

Note that if a project’s prime contractor does not file a Notice of Commencement, no construction participant is required to serve a Notice to Contractor, regardless if they have a contract with the prime contractor or not.

However, if you meet the two criteria listed above and you failed to serve a Notice to Contractor, you will lose your right to making a bond claim in case payment disputes arise later down the road.

On whom must you serve the Georgia Notice to Contractor?

For public projects, the Notice to Contractor must be served on the project’s prime contractor.

When do you serve a Georgia Notice to Contractor?

Georgia Notice to Contracto

The Georgia Notice to Contractor must be served within 30 days of the date you start working on a project or within 30 days of the date the Notice of Commencement is filed.

What happens if you fail to serve a Georgia Notice to Contractor?

You will lose your bond claim rights if you are required to serve a Notice to Contractor and you fail to do so on time.

How to serve a Georgia Notice to Contractor for public projects?

  1. Prepare the Georgia Notice to Contractor form

    The following details must be included on your Georgia Notice to Contractor form:

    • Your name, address, and phone number
    • The name and address of the party who hired you
    • The name of the project and its location, as described in the Notice of Commencement
    • A description of the services provided or to be provided
    • The contractor price or the estimated price of service

    Note that Georgia does not have a statutory template for the Notice to Contractor. If you are using a free template you found online or if you are building your own template, make sure to include all the details above. You can also generate and sign a Notice to Contractor form for Georgia on Handle.com.

    When filling out your Notice to Contractor form, be sure to double-check all information and correct any spelling or other minor mistakes.

  2. Serve the Notice to Contractor form

    After preparing the Notice to Contractor form, you must serve it to the prime contractor via registered or certified mail or via statutory overnight delivery.

    Remember that you have a 30-day time frame from the date you start working on a project or from the date the Notice of Commencement is filed. The Notice to Contractor must be served within this 30-day period in order for the notice to be valid. Note that the Notice to Contractor in Georgia is considered served at the time of mailing.

Best practices for serving a Georgia Notice to Contractor

  1. Serve a Georgia Notice to Contractor always

    If you are not sure whether a Notice of Commencement has been filed or not, serve a Georgia Notice to Contractor anyway. Be aware that there is no penalty for serving a Notice to Contractor even when you are not required by law to do so. To ensure that your bond claim rights are protected, serve the prime contractor a Notice to Contractor regardless if they filed a Notice of Commencement or not.

  2. Keep the deadline in mind

    Not only must you serve a Notice to Contractor to preserve your bond claim rights – but you must also serve it on time. You have 30 days from the date you start working on a project or from the date the Notice of Commencement is filed. It is best practice to serve the Notice to Contractor early, preferably on your first day of work, to ensure that you serve the notice on time.

  3. Make a payment bond claim if payment issues come up

    Since mechanics liens are only applicable to private projects, your best remedy against non-payment is making a payment bond claim through the prime contractor’s bond. Make sure that you have a copy of the bond itself and that you know the process for making a construction bond claim in Georgia so you can recover your payment if payment issues come up.

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