Two new laws affecting the Florida Construction Industry include Public Projects and Amendments to the Statute of Repose

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There are two new bills that you should be aware of. The first bill is House Bill 599 which deals with Public Works Projects. The hyperlink to the bill, which was signed into law by the governor is found below:

https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017/599/BillText/er/PDF

The theory is that the amendment will provide a more competitive bid process for public construction projects where state dollars represent 50% or more of the funding. Prior to this bill, local governments could establish arbitrary pre-bid mandates on contractor’s telling them who they must hire, where they must train and what benefit packages they must offer if they want to bid the job with that entity. For many small businesses, these mandates made it unaffordable to bid on many public projects. The premise is, increasing competition will benefit Florida taxpayers.

The second piece of legislation of consequence is House Bill 377 which deals with limitations on lawsuits other than for the recovery of real property. A hyperlink to the legislation is found below:

https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017/377/BillText/er/PDF

What this bill hopes to accomplish is to clarify when and how Florida’s 10-year statute of repose begins to run on a completed project. The statute of repose defines the period in which an owner can sue for alleged construction defects. In a number of recent cases, a final payment was not made for construction costs. By making final payment late, the repose period was effectively extended beyond the 10 years envisioned by the Florida legislature.

The pertinent language now states:

Completion of the contract means the later of the date of final performance of all the contracted services or the date that final payment for such services becomes due without regard to the date final payment is made. This act applies to causes of action that accrue on or after July 1, 2017.

If you have any questions please feel free to give me a call.

Christopher Weiss Attorney at Law, P.A.
Board Certified Construction Attorney
17 N. Summerlin Avenue, Ste. 200
Orlando, FL 32801
(407) 928-6737
chris@cweisslaw.com

 

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