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Florida Construction Law Blog

How can I prevent a construction dispute?

A nasty construction dispute can imperil the reputation of your business. A common theme in many of these matters is that the disputes could have been easily avoided with proper planning and oversight.

Any construction project is going to have many moving parts. From suppliers to subcontractors, there are plenty of opportunities for miscommunications to arise that create hindrances to progress.

New changes released in construction contracts

Late last month, the American Institute of Architects released more than a dozen revised and new contracts they claim will better represent "trends and nuances" in the construction industry. An AIA executive announced that these changes will "ensure the design and construction industries are working under the best agreements possible for their businesses."

Revisions and changes include options for subcontractors and contractors to set conditions and terms for agreements to include multiple spheres of work. They also released updated documents they feel will more clearly address any legal issues that crop up in business relationships and joint ventures.

City of Boca Raton sued by developers

Last month, a local property management and real estate firm filed suit against the city of Boca Raton. Petitioners allege that the city refused to approve rules for the addition of as many as 2,500 new apartments and condos around the Town Center mall.

Crocker Partners seeks $137.6 million in damages for their losses. They allege that the City Council voted to reject the development of Midtown Boca, which diminishes the value of Crocker's already existing properties in addition to the value of the vacant land. Plaintiffs allege that this particular dispute decreased the value of the 67 acres owned by the company.

Should contractors sign mechanic's lien waivers?

Mechanic's lien waivers can be controversial when negotiating contracts with clients. Often, the attorneys for the clients (or the clients themselves) will request that the contractors sign mechanic's lien waivers. But is that wise for a contractor to do?

In most cases, it's not. Mechanic's liens (or materialman's supplier's or construction liens, as they are alternatively known) protect contractors and subcontractors when clients skip out on paying their bills.

Tips for a safer workplace

Contractors know and understand that the construction industry is inherently dangerous. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) ranks construction in the top-tier of industries with the most fatal occupational injuries. In a recent year, there were more than 10 deaths per 100,000 employees.

To keep your work crews safer, here are five tips:

How savvy are you about your construction contracts?

Contractors generally deal with different versions of four common construction contracts. These binding legal agreements protect both the contractor and the property owners in the event of disputes over the scope or quality of the work in question.

Below are the four types of contracts that are likely to be used by construction professionals.

Petition pushes for heat protection standards

Contractors in South Florida have to deal with year-round heat and the consequences it brings to outdoor construction workers. Most err on the side of caution and implement protocols to keep their employees hydrated and free of heat-related complications.

But if some civic groups get their way, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) may implement heat protection standards for workers. Spearheaded by Public Citizen, a nonprofit, there are over 130 additional organizations that signed petitions to establish these standards.

Should you introduce wearables to your construction crews?

One of the newest industry trends is wearable technology that can monitor construction workers' health and safety on the job. But before you decide to invest in wearable tech products, you must first fully understand the pros and cons for both you and your workers.

Research done by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan (UM) shows that wearable sensors can improve construction worker safety and reduce business costs by transmitting worker health data.

Miami contractor files suit for nonpayment

Fort Lauderdale contractors understand the trouble caused by clients who can't — or won't — pay for the new builds and renovations they ordered done. Not only does this create immeasurable difficulties for the contractors themselves, but it also wreaks havoc with the subcontractors they hired to complete various projects.

A few months ago, a South Florida contractor had to sue a client for nonpayment. Back in May, Skanska USA Building filed a $300 million lawsuit against the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science (FMOS) in Miami for nonpayment of years old invoices after Skanska assumed a lead role in the construction project, the Miami Herald reported.

Can you sue for a breach of a business contract?

If you're a Florida construction company owner, you are probably all-too-familiar with the many ways that a contract dispute with another business owner can land you in legal hot water. Perhaps the supplier of the sinks for your apartment complex went belly-up and left you with a bunch of unfinished bathrooms.

Or perhaps the supplier delivered the sinks, but they were two weeks late, which caused logistical nightmares for the rest of the subcontractors on your project.

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