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Construction Law

Construction Licensing

Few contractors can legally do business without considering Florida’s often complicated licensing framework.

State Licenses

State laws require a contractor to have a license to perform certain kinds of construction work, and businesses performing such work are required to have a license-holder registered with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) as a qualifying agent. Various state-required licenses include general contractor, roofing contractor, mechanical contractor, plumbing contractor, underground utility and excavation contractor, solar contractor, and electrical contractor licenses. Performing this kind of work without the state-required license is known as “unlicensed contracting,” and aside from being a crime in the state of Florida, can lead to civil penalties and even the complete invalidation of a construction contract. Other common licensing violations include aiding and abetting unlicensed contracting, fraud, gross negligence, financial mismanagement, incompetence, and “renting” a license to a business without fulfilling the obligations a contractor has to be involved in the operations and finances of the business.

Local Licenses

In addition, local laws vary greatly across the state of Florida, but often require some sort of licensure for work that falls outside the scope of the state-required licenses, such as painting, drywall, irrigation, and fencing work. A growing assortment of state-issued “specialty licenses” (such as drywall work and irrigation work) have been created that save contractors from having to obtain such local licenses across several different jurisdictions. While not as severe as the penalties for not having a state-required license, there are potential consequences for failure to obtain a locally-required license, and contractors should be aware of the requirements in the jurisdictions in which they operate.

Licensing Boards

Licensing boards on state and local levels are tasked with the civil enforcement of the various licensing laws, the most prominent of which are the Construction Industry Licensing Board (CILB) and the Electrical Contractors’ Licensing Board (ECLB). This includes the investigation of complaints, the adjudication of guilt, and the assessment of penalties such as fines, mandated educational classes, or even suspension or termination of a license.

Marlowe McNabb Machnik can draft a qualifying agent agreement, advise you on licensing compliance, help you defend your license against complaints, and represent you in other licensing board proceedings.

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