Florida Construction Laws to Know

florida construction site

Florida construction laws can include laws passed by the Florida Legislature and appear in the Florida Statutes, as well as common law principles like implied warranties. Florida’s commercial construction laws and litigation relating to the same involve an expansive scope of legal rules and principles that have roots in “contract law” principles. However, there are many unique legal issues that arise almost exclusively in Florida construction law disputes. Here are some of the most commonly cited Florida laws that are implicated by south Florida commercial construction law disputes: 

Local Building Codes and Permit Requirements 

Florida’s unique geographical position and climate—as a peninsula that splits between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean—is prone to be hit by tropical storms and hurricanes. As a result, Florida state and local governments have adopted very specific and strict building codes for residential and commercial properties, respectively. General contractors, subcontractors, and materials suppliers need to adhere to and be fully aware of all zoning, permitting, materials, and building code requirements when commencing a Florida construction project.   

Construction Lien Law 

Section 713, Part 1 of the Florida Statutes and interpretive case law permit a general contractor, subcontractor, or materials distributor to file a construction lien against a subject project property. This means that a property owner may not own their real property exclusively, free and clear of any clouds to the title, if contractors, subcontractors, and materials suppliers are not paid in full pursuant to a given construction project. This mechanism ensures that—in the event that they are not fully or properly paid for their materials and/or services—general contractors, subcontractors, and material experts can protect their right to be compensated for their work.  

Warranty Liability: The Uniform Commercial Code, Common Law, and Florida Statutes 

A “warranty” is an explicit, implicit, or statutorily created “promise” that attaches to certain construction agreements and to the agreements related to the materials involved for such construction agreements. Oftentimes, construction agreements themselves will have explicitly drafted warranties that flow from the builder to the property owner, and from the property owner to the building. Additionally, Florida’s Uniform Commercial Code, common law, and statutes also imply certain warranties as a function of law. For example, a residential builder warrants that the home will be substantially compliant with applicable building codes, plans, and specifications. In other words, the builder promises that the residential structure will be substantially defect-free. 

Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act 

Lastly, Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (“FDUTPA”) protects construction project builders and consumers from any misrepresentations or unfair conduct in trade/commerce made by parties involved in a given construction project. FDUPTA allows a victim to sue a defendant party for damages for any “deceptive or unfair” trade practice that caused the victim financial harm. False advertising, capacity or experience misrepresentations, or materials fabrication are some of the many ways that a party to a construction project can expose themselves to liability under FDUTPA.  

Clayton Trial Lawyers (“CTL”) is an elite, local litigation firm based in South Florida firm whose attorneys have unique skills, expertise, and experience in Florida’s construction laws. If you or someone you know is involved in a construction law agreement or construction dispute, contact CTL to ensure you know and can enforce your legal rights and duties.