33 CFR § 210.3 - Notice to proceed.
(a) General. When the contract specifies the time when the contractor is to proceed with the work under the contract, a notice to proceed will not be required. However, in any case where the contract requires the issuance of a notice to proceed the notice will fix the time for the commencement of the work and also, if appropriate, will fix the time for the completion of the work. The notice to proceed should be issued on a form letter, reproduced on local letterhead paper from a master copy, which will preclude repetitive typing of stereotype data. The notice to proceed will be executed in a sufficient number of copies to meet the contract distribution requirements in paragraph 30-206, Engineer Contract Instructions (ER 1180-1-1), and will bear the contract number in the upper right-hand corner of the notice.
(b) Contractor's acknowledgment. When a notice to proceed is issued, the contractor will acknowledge receipt thereof by signing and dating all copies of the acknowledgment and returning all but one copy to the contracting officer.
(c) Proceeding before approval of bonds. It is not necessary to delay commencement under the contract pending approval of bonds by The Judge Advocate General. Such action will be at the discretion of the contracting officer. In the event exceptions are taken to the bonds the contractor will immediately take steps to remove such exceptions or submit new bonds.
(d) Commencing performance. Contractors in no case will be required to commence performance prior to the commencement date fixed in the contract or in the notice to proceed. If they voluntarily do so and the contract is not ultimately signed, or approved when required, such action is at their own risk and without liability on the part of the Government. Contractors will not be required to commence performance until:
(1) Performance and payment bonds have been furnished, when required;
(2) The award has been approved when approval is required; and
(3) Notice to proceed has been forwarded to the contractor where required.