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Two Recent Legislative Changes in Florida That Could Impact Your Construction Business

Two Recent Legislative Changes in Florida That Could Impact Your Construction Business

The construction industry experiences constant change, as do the regulations that impact associations, construction firms, and contracting businesses. For example, on the federal level, every presidential election presents a potential shift in significant legislation that will affect the legal requirements and operations of your business. Similarly, when new bills are passed by state government administrations, these regulatory changes can also dramatically impact a business. 

The Importance of Regulatory Changes

When new laws are enacted, construction firms need to be on top of these changes, or else they could experience significant penalties. Alternatively, your construction firm may be missing out on a great opportunity because you were unaware of recent legislation passed in your favor. In either of these scenarios, you need an experienced advocate in your corner that understands the law and government relations. In this editorial, a construction industry advocate with Cotney Construction Lobbying will discuss two recent bills approved in 2019 by Florida Governor Ron DeSanits. These approved bills, related to construction bonds, permitting, and inspection fees, were both passed into law recently.

House Bill 1247

Introduced in March 2019, House Bill 1247 was approved by Governor DeSantis in June and will be put into law effective October 1, 2019. Relating to construction bonds, House Bill 1247 states: 

Construction Bonds; Requires notice of nonpayment to be under oath; specifies that claimant or lienor who serves fraudulent notice of nonpayment forfeits his or her rights under bond; provides that service of fraudulent notice of nonpayment is complete defense to claimant’s or lienor’s claim against bond; provides that provision relating to attorney fees applies to certain suits brought by contractors. 

The purpose of this bill is to define the regulations in place regarding how subcontractors and construction professionals can make a valid claim against a construction bond. More specifically, the bill defines the “effect of incorrect or incomplete information in a notice of nonpayment for public and private construction contracts.” 

The notice of nonpayment must include the scope of work the claimant performed, materials furnished, and the amount owed for their work; however, House Bill 1247 also addresses circumstances in which a claimant loses their bond rights because of a fraudulent notice of nonpayment. For example, if the bond claim “willfully exaggerates” the amount owed or includes a scope of work they did not perform, the claimant would lose their rights under the bond. However, the bill addresses that small mistakes in the notice or minor omissions will not impact the rights of the claim. 

House Bill 127

Another proposal introduced in March 2019, House Bill 127 was also approved by Governor DeSantis in June and became effective on July 1, 2019. House Bill 127, relating to permitting and inspections fees, states: 

Permit Fees; Requires governing bodies of counties & municipalities to post their permit & inspection fee schedules & building permit & inspection utilization reports on their websites; requires governing bodies of local governments to create building permit & inspection utilization reports & post reports on their websites by specified date; provides requirements for such governing bodies & reports.

This bill was created to provide more transparency to the industry in regard to permitting and inspection fees and requires government agencies to post this information on their website in an area that is easy to access. Further, the government agency performing this task is also required to publicly post “a required building permit and inspection utilization report.” This report will feature any budgetary information incurred from the enforcement of the Florida Building Code, including building department salaries and the total cost incurred to enforce the Florida Building Code. For example, information like the number of permit applications submitted or approved by the agency or the number of inspections requested or conducted will be featured in this report.   

Consult an Experienced Construction Industry Advocate

Because construction firms have to deal with significant regulations that can dramatically impact their business, it’s critical that your construction firm remains privy to the most recent legislative changes to state and local laws. Construction firms should have regular meetings with consultants to discuss any relevant compliance and regulations issues related to their operations. When you have close communication with the industry advocates at Cotney Construction Lobbying, you obtain direct access to experienced regulatory professionals that have an in-depth understanding of the most recent legislative issues affecting the construction industry. Whether you want to ensure that your best interests are protected or are seeking legislative change on the local or state level, get in touch with our experienced construction lobbyists today.  

At Cotney Construction Lobbying, we are committed to both monitoring regulations and creating legislative proposals on behalf of our clients on the state or local level. We are also committed to a myriad of construction-related advocacy initiatives aimed to improve and advance the industry. If you are seeking legislative change, require lobbying services, or need assistance with bid work on the state or local level, speak with a construction industry advocate from Cotney Construction Lobbying today.

If you would like to speak with a construction industry advocate from Cotney Construction Lobbying, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Cotney Construction Lobbying, LLC does not provide legal services and any statements made on this website are intended to apply only to non-legal, lobbying services.