The Most Common Licensing Violations Committed by Certified Contractors: Part III

Part III of this series will discuss being disciplined by a local municipality and how this can affect a certified contractor’s license.  It is common knowledge within the construction industry that local building departments require certified contractors to obtain an occupational license.  The governing authority regarding this issue is § 489.113(4)(a), Florida Statutes.  What is not common knowledge are the effects of discipline issued by local building departments and how this can lead to discipline issued by the Construction Industry Licensing Board (“CILB”).

In relevant part, § 489.113(4)(b), Florida Statutes, states:

[A] local construction regulation board may deny, suspend, or revoke the authority of a certified contractor to obtain a building permit or limit such authority to obtaining a permit or permits with specific conditions, if the local construction regulation board has found such contractor, through the public hearing process, to be guilty of fraud or a willful building code violation within the county or municipality that the local construction regulation board represents or if the local construction regulation board has proof that such contractor, through the public hearing process, has been found guilty in another county or municipality within the past 12 months, of fraud or a willful building code violation and finds, after providing notice of an opportunity to be heard to the contractor, that such fraud or violation would have been fraud or a violation if committed in the county or municipality that the local construction board represents.

There are two essential parts of this statute: (1) the local municipality can only deny, suspend, or revoke a certified contractor’s permitting privileges, and (2) the local municipality must find the certified contractor to have committed fraud or a willful building code violation.  When prosecuting this type of violation, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (“DBPR”) cites to § 489.129(1)(h), Florida Statutes, as its governing authority.  This statute gives the DBPR authority to discipline certified contractors for, “being disciplined by any municipality or county for an act or violation of this part.”  It is important to understand the types of discipline which can be issued by a municipality or county.  The reason being, the discipline issued must be valid for the DBPR to prosecute a certified contractor’s license.

In many cases, local boards, municipalities, and/or counties have fined certified contractors for violations of the building code, local ordinances, or the Florida Statutes.  This is not valid discipline as there is no provision in the Florida Statues which allows local jurisdictions to fine a certified contractor.  In fact, the statute referenced above specifically states the type of discipline a local construction regulation board may issue.

The CILB has disciplined a myriad of certified contractors for receiving discipline by a local municipality or county.  Some of the Final Orders issued by the CILB has led to the revocation of a license.  It is imperative for a certified contractor to understand the effect local discipline can have on their license, and act accordingly when notified of a case being opened against his or her license.

The next part of the series will discuss assisting unlicensed contractors and the severe ramifications resulting from such activity.

In case you missed the previous post, here they are:

Part I: Permitting violations and the steps to take in order to avoid the DBPR pursuing disciplinary action against a contractor’s license.

Part II: Civil judgments and how they can affect a certified contractor’s license.

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