Four Alternative Methods To Obtain a Construction License In Florida

The Department and CILB have several alternative construction licensing processes that are worth discussing.  While these provisions still utilize the normal application process, they are alternatives to the normal examination/experience or registration requirements of section 489.111, Florida Statutes.

 1. Certification of Registered Contractors License (Grandfathering)

Pursuant to Section 489.118, Florida Statutes, contractors holding a current registered local license may apply to the Department to receive a certified (state wide) contractors license in the same category which they are currently registered.   The contractor must establish the following five (5) elements to grandfather:

 a.  applicant must hold a current valid registered local license in one of the contractor categories defined in s. 489.105(3)(a)-(p).

b.  applicant has, for that category, passed a substantially similar examination to the one required to be licensed as a certified contractor under this part.

c.  applicant has at least five years of experience as a contractor in that contracting category, or as an inspector or building administrator with oversight over that category, at the time of application. For contractors, only time periods in which the contractor license is active and the contractor is not on probation shall count toward the five years required by this subsection.

d.  applicant has not had his or her contractor’s license revoked at any time, had his or her contractor’s license suspended, or been fined in excess of $500 within the last five years.

e.  applicant must be in compliance with the insurance and financial responsibility requirements in s. 489.115(5).

NOTE: The grandfathering provision terminated on November 1, 2015.  Any application to grandfather a registered license submitted after the November 1, 2015 deadline will be denied.  It is unknown whether the legislature will extent any grandfathering.

 2. Joint Ventures

Pursuant to section 489.119(2)(e), Florida Statutes, a joint venture is treated as a separate business entity and must be qualified just like any other business organization in accordance with Board rules.  However, rule 61G4-15.0022(2), Florida Administrative Code, permits a joint venture to receive authorization from the Board to bid on a project prior to completing the qualification process when one of the joint venture members is a business entity qualified by a licensed contractor and all members sign authorizations giving the licensed contractor full authority to conduct the contracting business of the participant. Bid authority requests must be submitted in writing and include a copy of the joint venture agreement and signed authorizations from each member.  The joint venture must complete the qualification process within ninety (90) days of being awarded the bid.

  1. Emergency Registration upon Death of Qualifier

Pursuant to section 489.121, Florida Statutes, a qualified business organization whose qualifier has passed away may request an emergency registration for the purpose of completing current contracts.  A person may request an emergency registration even if he or she is not currently licensed as a contractor.  The registrant must notify the Board within thirty (30) days and submit a list of all pending contracts along with a letter outlining the registrant’s knowledge of the contracts and the ability to complete those contracts. Once approved, the registrant may complete the pending claims.  There is no limit on the amount of time that the registrant may take to complete the contracts.

  1. Retirement or Termination of a Qualifier

If a qualified business’s only certified or registered contractor terminates his or her affiliation with the business, the business shall have sixty (60) days from the termination of the qualifying agent’s affiliation to employ a new qualifier. The business organization may not engage in contracting until a qualifying agent is employed, unless the executive director or chair of the Board has granted a temporary nonrenewable certificate or registration to an appropriate officer of the business, who assumes all responsibilities of a primary qualifying agent for the business organization. This temporary certificate or registration allows the business to proceed on incomplete contracts only during the sixty-day time frame. The business cannot enter any new contracts until they retain a new qualifying agent.

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