Legal Q and A: Before you take that Florida program … | Bilzin Sumberg | Media Pyro


Q. We have a client visiting Florida with new real estate and told us we don’t need a license (general contractor) if we are only doing a few projects. Is this true?

A. No. Although obtaining a contractor’s license in Florida can be a time-consuming and difficult process, a license is required to legally work as a contractor in the state. While newcomers to the Florida market may believe that a contractor’s license is nothing more than unnecessary red tape, one should consider hiring an unlicensed practitioner. Unlicensed doctors who practice medicine are somewhat of a pariah in society, and for good reason. They have abused the trust placed in them by their patients, and their actions have had dire consequences for those patients.

On the same note, the results of poor construction, cheap building materials, defective parts and missing contractors, unsuspecting owners are exposed to physical and economic problems that cannot lead to years of heartbreak and nightmares. In 1967, in an effort to protect the public, the Florida Legislature began state regulation of contractors, and the following year authorized contractor licensing, which is now regulated by FS Ch. 489.

Under the current Florida constitution, FS Ch. 489 provides a legal vehicle for contractor licensing, establishing a Construction Industry Licensing Board (CILB), and establishing barriers to entry based on knowledge, experience, education, requirements testing, creditworthiness, free will and moral integrity.

These requirements are complex and the contractor’s license is slightly different. Of course, being unlicensed and doing construction work that requires a license can result in many penalties for an unlicensed contractor. Consequences can be in the form of criminal and administrative penalties, loss of construction liability rights, treble damages and more.

Q. We are working on projects in Florida and have obtained a general contractor’s license. Can we do all our work?

A. No. A Certified Public Contractor is allowed to enter into contracts to build anything in Florida. The general policy in Florida is that construction work must be performed by a properly licensed contractor unless exempt from licensing under Section 489.103, FS Even if a licensed general contractor contracts for the work, even if it is allowed to they do the work which is also difficult. detailed analysis.

Section 489.113, FS, provides guidance in the analysis. As a general rule, the contractor must subcontract all electrical, mechanical, plumbing, roofing, metal, pool and insulation work. A Certified General Contractor does not have a subcontractor unless he has a state certificate or registration in the subcontractors. If they hold a retail license, then they can do it legally.

If a Certified General Contractor performs sub-commercial work on their own without a license, they can be subject to penalties for operating outside the scope of a Certified General Contractor license—subject to penalties The answer to the previous question can be determined.

Q. We are a general contractor and a trusted contractor that we work with all the time. Can they come to Florida and work under our contract license there?

A. It depends. Section 489.113(2) provides that subcontractors operating within the scope of the contractor’s license are exempt from requiring a state license. For example, if a licensed general contractor hires a contractor to do concrete installation work, and the contractor oversees and performs the work of the subcontractor, the contractor does not need to be licensed. This exception does not apply to plumbers or other subcontractors whose work requires a state license.

The Legal Q and A Column runs every Thursday. Each section addresses a specific area of ​​construction law, such as contracts, safety, pricing, etc.

*This was reprinted with permission from General Construction.

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