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Florida Construction Law Blog

Get your legal ducks in line on big construction projects

The bigger the construction project on which you embark, the more opportunities there are for something to go wrong somewhere down the line.

That's why it is so essential to make sure that you involve your construction law attorney in the pertinent aspects of your business. For instance, if you are about to sign a major contract, make sure that your attorney reviews its terms before ever signing anything.

Management tips for construction crews

Proper management of your crew is essential to your construction company's bottom line. But because you can't be everywhere at all times, you have to make sure that you hire the right people for supervisory positions.

Below are some tips for better managing your construction crew.

A good contract can fend off construction disputes

Construction disputes can be the bane of a contractor's existence. These disputes can arise from subcontractors failing to comply with the agreed-upon specifications with the project, supply-chain delays or many other factors.

All construction disputes have the potential to cost contractors a great deal of money. They can also spawn secondary disputes with the property owners who are understandably peeved about delays arising from the disputes with the subs.

Dealing with clients who micromanage the project

Every contractor has a horror story about working with micromanaging clients who need almost daily reassurance that the project is chugging along seamlessly. Clients who need a lot of handholding and updating can actually slow a project down considerably. After all, for every call that you return, that's minutes diverted from your supervision of the project — and those minutes add up.

The best way to protect yourself and your company from these types of clients is to include a clause in the contract that specifies how frequently and under what circumstances you will update the client on the progress. You may agree on an update every two weeks, but if a supplier backs out or fails to deliver, your client has a right to know this because it could significantly impact the deadline of the project.

What makes a contractor successful?

There are a lot of contractors in South Florida, and some are definitely more successful than others. But just what rubric determines the success or failure of a contractor?

It's an important consideration, as each contractor seeks to stand head and shoulders above the competition. One industry leader offered some thoughts on the matter earlier this year at the convention for the Associated General Contractors of America. They include these key points:

What constitutes breach of contract?

A South Florida homeowner hires you to oversee a major renovation project. At first, all appears to be fine between you and the clients. But as time passes, you begin to question your decision to sign a contract with the homeowners.

Maybe they are suddenly unable or unwilling to meet the terms of the payment schedule. Or perhaps "scope creep" has reared its ugly head and fomented trouble between you and your client. Either way, you are hovering in the danger zone of breach of contract.

Stay compliant with asbestos requirements

Florida contractors must remain in compliance at all times with both federal and state regulations regarding the removal and disposal of asbestos during renovations and other projects.

The intent of our state's Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) Asbestos National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) program is to substantially lower the number of asbestos fibers that are released into the atmosphere during the removal process. There are specific practices that must be followed, according to the Asbestos NESHAP guidelines.

Can contractors seek damages for project delays?

South Florida contractors are likely familiar with the problem of a subcontractor or other party involved in a construction project who is woefully behind schedule and hangs up the project for those crews working on a build or remodel with them.

When delays begin to mount, those affected may look to their contracts to determine whether the Florida civil court system can provide them with some relief. Here's how that actually played out in Perez-Gurri v. McLeod, 238 So.3d 347 (Fl. Ct. App. 2018).

Written agreements trump verbal ones in legal disputes

In the words of one anonymous British humorist, "Oral agreements aren't worth the paper they're not written on." Those tongue-in-cheek words could come back to haunt you if you are not careful.

Suppose you and a homeowner are having a dispute about some facet of the construction project being done on their property. The two of you huddle in talks and hash out an agreement to go forth with the project.

3 firms bidding on Tampa Bay bridge project

According to the state Department of Transportation (FDOT), there are three construction firms on their short list to design and construct the $814 million bridge over Old Tampa Bay. The span will be adjacent to the present I-275 Howard Frankland Bridge linking St. Petersburg with Tampa.

Firms on the short list include joint ventures of Massman Construction Co. and Kiewit Infrastructure South, Traylor Bros. and Archer Western Construction and Boh Bros. Construction and Granite Construction Co.

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