Florida Construction Industry Law Blog



Florida’s 2015 Legislative Session: Impact to the Construction Industry

The Florida Legislature’s 2015 Regular Session is complete. This blog addresses the bills, which passed, that we think have the greatest impact on the construction industry. We provide the highlights for each bill, in no particular order: Read Full Post

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Construction and Design Claims: Beware of the Statute of Limitations and Repose

Contractors, developers, owners, and anyone involved in the construction and design industry must be aware of the time periods for bringing suit to enforce construction and design related claims. Florida law has various limitations periods for filing of lawsuits. 95.11 Florida Statutes. These time periods are referred to as the statutes of limitation. If a lawsuit is not filed during the requisite time periods, the claim is deemed to be time barred. Read Full Post

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Construction Industry Licensing Board Part IV – Qualifying Additional Business Entities

Many Florida contractors and license holders have a general understanding of the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board (“CILB”), but like many quasi-judicial bodies, it can remain a mystery to those who practice and appear in front of the CILB. This post will cover some specific information regarding applications for license holders to qualify an additional business entity. Read Full Post

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Construction Defects: What Insurance Policy Applies

In construction defect claims, various insurance policies are often implicated. These policies can span many years, so it is critical to determine what policy or policies may provide insurance coverage for the damages that ensue. The insurance policies at play, for general contractors, subcontractors and suppliers, are typically comprehensive general liability policies. Assuming these parties have such policies, the question then becomes what policies apply and do the policies cover the claims. Read Full Post

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Florida Statute Chapter 558: Changes Are Brewing

By: James O. Birr, III

Florida Statute Chapter 558 was adopted to serve as an alternative method to resolve construction and design disputes in order to reduce the need for litigation, while protecting the rights of property owners. While the nuances of Florida Statute Chapter 558 are outside the focus of this post, there are some proposed changes making their way through the Florida legislature. See House Bill 87 and Senate Bill 418. These changes include specific information to be included in the notice of claim, frivolous claims, sanctions, and the exchange of documents. Read Full Post

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General Contractors May Seek Treble Damages Against Unlicensed Subcontractors Pursuant to Section 768.0425, Florida Statutes

In Florida, unlicensed contracting is a crime. Florida Statutes provide special civil remedies for those harmed by unlicensed contracting. For instance, Section 768.0425 provides that a consumer harmed by an unlicensed contractor is entitled to treble damages and attorney’s fees. These are extreme remedies intended to punish unlicensed contractors. We typically think of a homeowner as the “consumer” in this context. However, a general contractor is likewise entitled to the civil remedies of §768.0425 if the contractor is harmed by its unlicensed subcontractor. Home Construction Management, LLC v. Comet, Inc., 125 So.3d 221 (Fla. 4th DCA 2013). Read Full Post

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Contingent Payment Provisions in Florida Construction Contracts

By: James O. Birr, III

One of the most important provisions in any construction contract, or any contract for that matter, is the payment provision. Before signing the contract, parties must understand how and when they get paid and, in turn, when they are required to make payment. One way parties, particularly contractors, attempt to handle payment uncertainties is to include contingent payment provisions or time of payment provisions in their construction contracts. These provisions are commonly referred to as pay-if-paid and pay-when-paid provisions and are enforceable in Florida. While these provisions sound the same, they operate very differently and, as such, may have unintended consequences for the parties. Read Full Post

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Fixing or Addressing Mistakes in Public Construction Contract Bids

By: Charles B. Jimerson, Esq.

What happens if you make a mistake in your bid response and need to correct it? This is a common circumstance in practice because the timing of solicitations and responses creates a pressure packed situation. Often subcontractor pricing is received and updated until the very last moments before a response is due. This often causes mistakes, both in the form and in the substance of bids submitted. It is not unusual for contractors to make mistakes in their bids, some resulting from mathematical errors, some from typographical miscues, while still others may be based upon errors in judgment or the failure to conduct a proper site investigation prior to bidding. Mistakes happen quite regularly and reasons for mistakes are abundant. If you realize that you have made a mistake in your bid or proposal prior to the bid opening date and time, you should immediately contact the agency to see if you may withdraw your bid, correct it and resubmit prior to the bid opening date and time, or in the alternative whether you may submit a sealed statement clarifying the error before the bid opening date and time. This blog post deals with what happens in Florida when you aren’t able to correct your mistake in public construction contract bidding. Read Full Post

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The Bidding Process for Public Construction Contracts In Florida

By: Charles B. Jimerson, Esq. & Kellie Elliott

For many small and mid-size contractors, the award of a single public contract can make or break their business. Because of this, it is important for a contractor to know and understand the requirements and processes involved when bidding on a public construction contract. A contractor must first make sure the contract is worth the time and money spent in preforming the contract. Knowing whether you, as a contractor, can perform the contract and provide all requested information is vital in determining whether you should bid on a specified contract. In addition, meeting specified deadlines is extremely important for the response to be accepted. In order for a contractor to navigate this bidding process, knowledge of the process is elemental. Read Full Post

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Owner’s Partial Use of the Property Does Not Preclude Loss of Use Damages in Construction Defects Cases

Owner’s Partial Use of the Property Does Not Preclude Loss of Use Damages in Construction Defects Cases

By Austin B. Calhoun, Esq.

Under Florida law, a property owner may be entitled to “loss of use” damages if construction delay or defects deprive the owner of use of the property. Loss of use damages are measured by the reasonable rental value of the property. These rules raise some questions. For instance, can an owner claim “loss of use” for the period that owner refuses to inhabit the property while construction defects are being repaired? What if owner partially uses the property during such time? These questions were addressed in a recent Florida Third District Court of Appeals case: Gonzalez v. Barrenechea, 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 647 (Fla. 3d DCA Jan. 21, 2015). This blog examines the Gonzalez case and the answers provided therein. Read Full Post

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