Florida Construction Industry Law Blog



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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Recent Changes to Florida Homeowners Construction Recovery Fund Effective July 1, 2016

The Florida Homeowners’ Construction Recovery Fund was created under Chapter 489, Florida Statutes as a separate account in the Professional Regulation Trust Fund. The recovery fund is funded pursuant to s. 468.631. Its purpose is to provide relief for Florida homeowners who have been harmed by Florida licensed contractors. For more information on the creation and operation of the Recovery Fund, please see my blog post of September 2014. This post will discuss recent legislative changes to the Recovery Fund which expands homeowner recovery to Division II contractors. Read Full Post

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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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