Construction Contracting 101: Florida Requirements For Licensing

This article will discuss when a construction license is required in Florida.  Under Chapter 489, Florida Statutes, there are specific guidelines regarding construction contracting for work you intend to perform.  Being unlicensed and performing construction work that requires licensure can lead to a variety of issues.  Read on to find out if the work you are contracting for requires licensure.

Read about which construction contracting activities that you intend to perform in the state require licensing under Chapter 489 of the Florida Statutes.

Definition of Contracting

Pursuant to § 489.105(6), Florida Statutes, “contracting” means, “except as exempted in [chapter 489, part I, Florida Statutes], engaging in business as a contractor and includes, but is not limited to, performance of any of the acts as set forth in subsection (3) which define types of contractors.”  You are probably asking yourself, what does this really mean?  To fully understand the definition of contracting, you have to first analyze what a contractor means.

According to § 489.105(3), Florida Statutes, a “contractor” is the person who, for compensation:

  1. undertakes to, submits a bid to, or does himself or herself or by others
  2. construct, repair, alter, remodel, add to, demolish, subtract from, or improve any building or structure, including related improvements to real estate, for others or for resale to others; and
  3. whose job scope is substantially similar to the job scope described in one of the paragraphs of this subsection.

Construction Contracting Licenses in Florida

The phrase “this subsection” in paragraph 3 above means all of the subparts of § 489.105(3), Florida Statutes, which cover most of the licenses issued by the Construction Industry Licensing Board (“CILB”).  These licenses are specifically cited in § 489.105(3)(a) – (q), Florida Statutes, and include:

  • General Contractor
  • Commercial Pool/Spa Contractor
  • Swimming Pool/Spa Service Contractor
  • Residential Pool/Spa Contractor
  • Building Contractor
  • Sheet Metal Contractor
  • Roofing Contractor
  • Plumbing Contractor
  • Underground Utility & Excavation Contractor
  • Class A Air-Conditioning Contractor
  • Class B Air-Conditioning Contractor
  • Class C Air-Conditioning Contractor
  • Solar Contractor
  • Pollutant Storage Systems Contractor
  • Mechanical Contractor
  • Specialty Contractor

Each license/trade referenced above has a specific scope of work identified in the statute.  If the work you are performing and/or contracting for is included in one of the definitions, more than likely, a license is required.  Additionally, § 489.105(6), Florida Statutes, makes clear that contracting includes the attempted sale of contracting services and the negotiation or bid for a contract on these services also constitutes contracting.

Conclusion

There are some exemptions to licensure; however, they are very specific and limited.  There are huge ramifications for performing unlicensed contracting.  If you are unsure of whether a license is required for the work you intend to perform, you may want to discuss with your attorney.  Preferably, you should do this prior to submitting a proposal or bid for the work you intend to perform.


For additional information related to this topic, read these additional blog articles:

CATEGORY: Florida Construction Industry Law Blog Practice Areas: ,