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Florida Construction Law Blog

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.

How can a contractor keep drugs out of the workforce?

If you're a South Florida contractor, you can't afford to let a drugged-out construction crew jeopardize your company's reputation and results. Employee drug use puts the entire crew at risk of injury (or worse) and can increase the possibility of legal action being taken against the company.

Drugged-out workers affect the business in the following ways:

  • Lowered work performances
  • Higher worker turnover
  • Less productivity
  • Increased absenteeism
  • Tardiness
  • Rising workers' comp and medical
  • Enhanced likelihood of workplace violence and/or crime

Warning signs of difficult construction clients

The construction industry has seen its fair share of criticism throughout Florida and the rest of the country. Contractors tend to get a bad rap because of one or two bad eggs.

But, what about the clients who cause problems for contractors? If you are a contractor you need to be on the lookout for the following warning signs of a difficult construction client.

Will a noncompete construction clause hold up in court?

Almost every industry uses some version of a noncompete contract to protect its customer databases and proprietary information from being siphoned off by competitors. The problem arises when those contracts are deemed to be too broad or otherwise unenforceable by the courts.

In the construction industry where workers are hired and dismissed routinely from projects, no court is going to rule that a noncompete contract is valid for day-laborers or carpenters. However, positions like project managers and other white collar jobs bring employees into contact with vulnerable information and profitability figures that could sink a company if it falls into the wrong pair of hands.

4-year bridge project began this week

If you are a South Florida contractor, chances are good that you didn't need to read it in the Miami Herald to know that a large bridge reconstruction project was about to get underway.

This week began the complex redesign of Interstate 395. The first part of the sprawling project is expected to cost $800 million and involves portions of State Road 836 and Interstate 95.

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