Florida Construction Industry Law Blog



Get By with a Little Help from Your Friends: Important Considerations to Make When Entering into a Joint Venture in Construction

As the construction industry continues to boom, joint ventures have become increasingly common for contractors. Entering into a joint venture with another company can have enormous upside: it can provide a contractor with access to a new market, a broader geographic reach, new building techniques or knowledge, access to new and evolving equipment, and additional financing and bonding capacity. Further, a joint venture instantly increases working capital, manpower, equipment, specialized expertise and talent, and other resources that can be committed to a large project. Lastly, by allocating risk associated with a project among two or more contractors, each contractor’s risk is reduced. Read Full Post

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Unlicensed Contractors: Statute of Limitations Defense

Unlicensed contracting is a huge problem in Florida, and the Florida Legislature and Courts have fashioned a host of penalties. See Penalties for Unlicensed Contracting in Florida. However, according to a recent opinion from Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeals, the loss of a “statute of limitations defense” is not one of those penalties. See Brock v. Garner Window & Door Sales, Inc., 5D14-1472, 2016 WL 830452 (Fla. 5th DCA Mar. 4, 2016). Read Full Post

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Owner Builder Permits – Why Acting as Your Own Contractor in Florida Can Be Risky Business

The Legislature deems it necessary in the interest of the public health, safety, and welfare to regulate the construction industry. As a result, the Florida Legislature enacted Chapter 489, Florida Statutes. From that statutory authority, the Construction Industry Licensing Board was created and along with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, promulgated 61G4 of the Florida Administrative Code to further set forth rules and standards that govern the construction industry in Florida. Read Full Post

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Notice to Owner – Exceptions to Serving in Florida

In Florida, performing construction work carries many technical requirements in order to properly perform the work. The technical requirements also apply to the contractor, subcontractor and material supplier who wants to protect its lien rights in the event the Owner does not pay. The first step in preserving subcontractor and material supplier lien rights is serving a Notice to Owner. The purpose of the Notice to Owner is literally contained within its own title. The purpose is to inform the Owner that the subcontractor (who does not have a contract with the owner) is providing labor, services, or materials for the improvement of the property. The Notice to Owner also lets the Owner know that the subcontractor has a right to lien the property if not paid and that the Owner could pay twice if it makes payment to the Contractor without getting a release from the subcontractor. The failure of the subcontractor to timely service a Notice to Owner is, however, a complete defense to enforcement of a construction lien. § 713.06(2)(a), Fla. Stat. Read Full Post

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Do You Need Expert Testimony Regarding Interpretation of the Florida Building Code?

Is trial looming close and are you thinking to yourself who is going to make the best expert for interpretation of the Florida Building Code on that construction defect case? Guess what? You don’t need an expert. In fact, it would be improper for the court to allow this type of testimony other than in very limited circumstances for very limited purposes.Construction litigation frequently requires fact finders, whether judges, juries or arbitrators, to determine whether there has been a violation of the Florida Building Code as an ultimate issue in causes of action for statutory violations of the Code, negligence of contractors and professional negligence of design professionals. This might leave some practitioners scratching their head pondering how they will prove that a violation of the Code may or may not have occurred in a given case. The following is a discussion of why expert testimony regarding the proper interpretation of the Code is improper and the solution to this seemingly perplexing problem. This doesn’t mean that you don’t need an expert for any issues dealing with whether or not there has been a violation of the building code, but it is important to realize the proper use of expert testimony for building code issues. Read Full Post

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Florida Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act

In Florida, drowning is the leading cause of death of young children and is also a significant cause of death for medically frail elderly persons. Adult supervision is the key to accomplishing the objective of reducing the number of submersion incidents, and when lapses in supervision occur a pool safety feature designed to deny, delay, or detect unsupervised entry to the swimming pool, spa, or hot tub will reduce drowning and near-drowning incidents. In furtherance of this initiative, the Florida Legislature enacted the “Preston de Ibern/Mckenzie Merriam Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act” in 2000. See Chapter 515, Florida Statutes. Read Full Post

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Penalties For Unlicensed Contracting In Florida

Unlicensed contracting in the State of Florida occurs every day and is a huge problem in this state. Chapter 489, Florida Statutes, regulates the “construction industry” in Florida “in the interest of the public health, safety, and welfare.” § 489.101, Fla. Stat.. In the fight against unlicensed contracting activities, the Florida Legislature and Courts have fashioned a host of remedies. Read Full Post

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Florida Construction Liens and Bonds: Beware of the Notice to Owner/Notice to Contractor Requirement

Florida construction lien and bond law is filled with many requirements that must be strictly followed and that are strictly construed by Florida courts. Indeed, the Florida Construction Lien Law of Chapter 713 of the Florida Statutes, governing private construction projects, is designed to help ensure payment for work performed and to protect owners from paying for work more than once. Read Full Post

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Protecting Property Interests and Rights in Eminent Domain Actions and Government Takings: Part V

This blog post is part V in a series of posts to assist private property owners with protecting their property interests and rights in eminent domain actions and government takings. Part I provided a general overview of eminent domain and the government’s ability to take private property for public use. Part II discussed Florida law on the allowable scope for the taking of private property, which is determined by the element of reasonable necessity. Part III addressed regulatory takings, and Part IV explained how “just compensation” is determined. The fifth and final addition to this series concerns a property owner’s entitlement to attorney’s fees in eminent domain proceedings. Read Full Post

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Florida Building Code: Violations and Claims

The purpose of the Florida Building Code (“Code”) is to establish minimum requirements to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public. Its provisions apply to, among other things, construction, alteration, modification and repairs of buildings and structures. Therefore, it is no surprise that construction and design defect claims in Florida often involve one party alleging that a contractor, developer, design professional, subcontractor, or even a supplier are liable for violations of the Code. Read Full Post

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