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Florida Construction Law Blog

Undocumented workers get hurt on Florida construction sites

There are many undocumented immigrants looking for work in south Florida's construction trade. Many are long-term residents who have worked for years under the radar with falsified or nonexistent immigration documents. However, the workers can wind up in unfortunate circumstances if they get hurt on the job.

Work-related injuries are subject to the regulations of the Florida workers' compensation system. Under the current laws of the state, all workers, even those who are without immigration documents, are entitled to receive injury benefits. However, by filing for benefits, the undocumented workers risk exposure, being arrested, prosecuted and ultimately deported back to their countries of origin.

Stoned workers a conundrum for business owners

Have you had difficulty assembling qualified construction crews to handle all of your jobs because you can't find enough reasonably competent workers who can pass pre-employment or random drug screens?

Or perhaps you're fed up with dealing with the fall-out after a series of on-the-job accidents left you and your business vulnerable to civil litigation from injured claimants.

How do you find a reliable contractor?

Who do you trust to work on your home when there are horror stories everywhere about remodeling projects gone wrong?

Finding a good contractor takes a little patience and a bit of hard work. Start with these 3 steps:

Man sues contractor who allegedly faked his own death

A man who bought a home in Florida is suing a contractor he hired to update and repair that home. He says that the contractor, perhaps trying to avoid any fees, pretended to be dead.

The man and his wife bought the home and paid the contractor around $7,600. However, they say he took way too long to do the job and didn't even do high-quality work. He didn't have the proper licenses and had not pulled permits.

Florida woman sues after allegedly falling on construction debris

Florida construction companies often have to deal with civil lawsuits long after their work on a property is done. However, sometimes the construction process itself can result in alleged injuries that can open these companies up to litigation.

Last month, an Orlando woman living in the Nassau Bay Apartments filed a lawsuit alleging that she slipped on construction debris that was left on the stairs of her building and suffered multiple injuries as a result. She filed a lawsuit against the construction company as well as the company that owns the apartment building. According to the lawsuit, the defendants did not maintain the apartment building in a reasonably safe manner.

4 mistakes made during the construction process

When starting a construction project or hashing out a contract, it's important to make sure that all parties are on the same page. Mistakes can cause disputes, slow jobs down and get very costly.

First off, both sides should be very clear about the budget. Contractors need to be transparent with prices, costs and quotes, and homeowners or business owners need to be honest about what they can afford. Misunderstandings about money can escalate quickly.

Construction contracts should cover project change orders

When drafting construction contracts, it's very important to consider project change orders. The procedures that should be followed need to be laid out in the contract. For example, some suggest notices have to be given at least 10 days in advance.

This can help both contractors and owners. The owner needs to make the contractor aware of any desired changes well in advance, and the contractor needs to give the same courtesy to the owner. This helps everyone stay on the same page regarding budgets, deadlines and more, and it can thereby reduce the amount of potential disagreements.

Why do construction jobs go over budget?

One of the most common reasons for a construction dispute is simple: The project runs over budget. The homeowner doesn't want to pay any more, but he or she also doesn't want the company to stop before the job is done. At the same time, the company doesn't want to just eat those costs.

A project can run over budget for a number of reasons; a few examples are below:

When contractors and clients don't envision the same results

Clients often look for low bids when hiring a contractor. If one bids $100,000 and the other bids $75,000, they'll go with the contractor who costs $25,000 less.

This makes sense, of course, but it can lead to some problems, especially when clients and contractors aren't envisioning the same results, the same level of quality, and the same finished product. The client thinks that the quality is exactly the same with both bids, and he or she is happy to save money. The contractor thinks that the client isn't really "saving" money at all. He or she is just paying less for a lower-quality job.

Communication can help prevent construction disputes

One of the best ways to avoid a construction dispute -- whether it's a contract dispute, a dispute over the quality of the finished product or something else entirely -- is to make sure that there is open communication on both sides. Contractors and homeowners must focus on communication from the beginning to the end of the job.

First of all, it's important to note that communication should be continuous. Don't just talk at the beginning and then check back in at the end. That often leads to disputes if there was any miscommunication at the beginning. Instead, check in at least once per week to make sure everyone is on the same page.

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