Florida Construction Industry Law Blog



The Earth Movement Exclusion: How Does it Affect Construction Defect Cases?

One of the biggest considerations for parties on both sides of any lawsuit is whether insurance coverage will apply to the plaintiff’s claims. This is especially true in construction defect cases, where the cost of repairing the alleged damage can be significant, and quite often beyond the financial means of the construction professional being sued. However, many litigants in construction defect cases, on both sides of the litigation, do not understand the intricacies of the insurance policy at issue, including the Earth Movement Exclusion present in many policies. Read Full Post

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Everything Lienors Need to Know About Construction Releases in Florida

Extensive knowledge about lien releases in Florida is integral to proper protection of parties entering into a construction project. This is primarily evident for those involved in construction, whose life work consists of providing their expertise, labor, and construction materials, primarily at their own expense at the outset of each project. In order for those in the construction industry to best utilize the protections afforded to them by Florida law, the key component to the process is self-education. Each and every construction project is an investment; an investment of one’s education, time, expertise, and financial backing. The time it takes to delve into Florida law and the protection it provides is small in comparison to the abuse and loss of value one could experience without doing so. Read Full Post

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Calculating Prejudgment Interest in Construction Defects Cases

Prejudgment interest can be a substantial amount in construction defects cases—especially if it is a large commercial construction defects case or a community association construction defects case. In these types of cases, it is often a number of years before damage from the construction defects manifests, and it is not uncommon for the construction defects litigation to take more than five years to be resolved by the Court. Taking the aforementioned into consideration, it can often be ten years or more between the time the Certificate of Occupancy is issued and a judgment is rendered in the trial. Although the date when prejudgment interest accrues is the subject of this blog, ten years or more in prejudgment interest can often be more than half of the actual damages sought in this case. Historically, owners have waived these large prejudgment interest awards in favor of settlement. Although every case is unique and every situation is different, waiving prejudgment interest leaves significant money on the table. This blog will discuss some of the basics of prejudgment interest. Read Full Post

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A Game-Changer for Subcontractors in Payment Disputes

Though many construction professionals are generally familiar with Florida’s lien law, there is a little-known and little-used provision within the lien statutes that can prove to be a game-changer for subcontractors (or sub-subcontractors) when used correctly and in the proper factual circumstances. Read Full Post

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Three Key Steps for Material Suppliers to Ensure Payment

Florida Construction Lien law is designed to protect laborers and materialmen with the greatest protection that justice and equity afford. Tuttle/White Constructors, Inc. v. Hughes Supply, Inc. But just how should materialmen/ material suppliers (a “supplier”) go about protecting themselves under the Florida lien and bond law to better ensure payment? While the supplier certainly has payment rights under its contract for the materials, it is always better to have additional mechanisms to get paid. The focus of this post is to discuss ways in which a supplier can better protect its rights under the Florida Construction Lien Law (“Lien Law”). Read Full Post

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Can the Language of a Payment Bond Limit its Duration?

A payment bond provided by the general contractor is a valuable asset to any subcontractor or supplier on that project. Payment is assured by the bond—a subcontractor or supplier will get paid even if the general contractor doesn’t make payment. While there are certain hurdles to perfecting your bond rights that get a lot of attention, such as the Notice to Owner Requirement, there is one possibly critical question that has been largely ignored: What is the effective duration of the payment bond? In other words, does the work have to be provided during a certain time period in order for payment to be covered by the bond? Read Full Post

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Effective Document Retention in the Construction Industry

Often leaders in organizations view a document retention policy as simply a written document that a company creates or obtains and then saves on its server with every other document the company has created or obtained and now retains. Best practices dictate that an effective document retention policy be seen as a living, breathing policy memorialized in writing that is to be thoughtfully created, managed, communicated to and understood by everyone at every level in the organization—starting at the top. Read Full Post

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Florida Now Accepting Active Duty Military Experience When Granting Construction Licensure

The Legislature deems it necessary in the interest of the public health, safety, and welfare to regulate the construction industry in Florida. As a result, the Florida Legislature enacted Chapter 489, Florida Statutes. The general policy in Florida is that construction work needs to be performed by an appropriate licensed contractor unless exempt from licensure under 489.103, Florida Statutes. In order to obtain initial licensure for construction work in Florida, the applicant must demonstrate the requisite knowledge, skill and experience, in addition to good moral character and financial stability. Read Full Post

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Florida Contractors and the Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety Act

Contractors who perform excavation work in Florida must be aware of the requirements set forth in Chapter 556 of the Florida Statutes, known as the Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety Act (“Act”). Failing to follow the procedures set forth in the Act can result in civil and criminal penalties, including monetary damages. This post focuses on some of the requirements of the Act related to excavation work that is not beneath the waters of the State of Florida. Read Full Post

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Construction Licensure Exemption for Minor Apartment Repairs Effective July 1, 2016

The Legislature deems it necessary in the interest of the public health, safety, and welfare to regulate the construction industry in Florida. As a result, the Florida Legislature enacted Chapter 489, Florida Statutes. The general policy in Florida is that construction work needs to be performed by an appropriate licensed contractor unless exempt from licensure under 489.103, Florida Statutes. For example, no construction license is required for Federal or municipal work, public utilities, roads, bridges, minor or inconsequential work (“handyman”) and small repairs effectuated by a real estate professional. Read Full Post

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