Widerman Malek Law Blog

Contracting for Hurricane Repairs, A Primer

If you suffered damage from Hurricane Irma, you need to notify your insurance company immediately. If you are having repairs done at your home you need to: Ensure the work is being done by a Florida licensed contractor. If you are told a Florida license is not needed, confirm with your local building department. You […]

Lessons Learned from Construction Case Law

On July 21, 2017, the District Court of Appeals of Florida, Fifth District issued a decision that has a couple of key points for contractors to keep in mind when involved in a dispute with another party. Don Facciobene, Inc. v. Hough Roofing, Inc., involved a suit by a subcontractor to collect payment for installing […]

Proper Notice to the Surety is Important

Most contractors and subcontractors know there are notice provisions in their contracts, but they are not always followed to the letter. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals just sent a clear message that if you do not follow the notice and termination provisions of a bond, the surety may be off the hook. What is […]

What Every Florida Contractor Needs to Have in Their Contracts

Over the years, I have reviewed many estimates and contracts from various types of contractors and homeowners. In most cases, I have found that the contractor did not include several items required by Florida law to be in their estimates or contracts. These are:

Paying the Debt of Another

Paying the Debt of Another

A question arose not too long ago about whether paying the debt of another would require continued payments. In other words if company A pays company B’s existing creditor for one month, or even several months, does company B now have an obligation to continue paying company A’s creditor? If company B does have an obligation, then the creditor can likely come after company B for company A’s debt should both companies fail to make a payment.

Neglected Fire Escape Collapses Killing Albert Suh

Last month’s fire escape collapse in Rittenhouse Square Philadelphia left one man dead and two women seriously injured. The roomates, Albert Suh, a 22-year-old financial analyst, Laura O’Brien, a 24-year-old kindergarten teacher and 22-year-old Nancy Chen, were throwing a birthday party when around midnight, they went out onto the corroded stairwell to smoke a cigarette. […]

Filing and Terminating a Construction/Mechanic’s Lien

Filing and Avoiding a Construction/Mechanic’s Lien

Chapter 713, Florida Statutes addresses construction liens (otherwise known as mechanic’s liens) in Florida. The law in this area can be pretty straight forward so long as you know the statutes and can interpret some of the terminology, which can be a bit tricky and usually takes knowing the case law pretty well, i.e., it helps to have a lawyer’s help. In order to perfect a lien, the claim of lien must be recorded and state several items which are addressed in Section 713.08, Florida Statutes. Section 713.08(3) even provides an example form with the required warning.

Why is the Timing of Substantial Completion so Important?

Why is the Timing of Substantial Completion so Important?

The contract is the first place to look to determine the specifics of when a certificate of substantial completion should be issued. Assuming it is the point where a certificate of occupancy (CO) is also issued, this means that the governing authority has to approve the building to be occupied and used for its intended use. At this point, the contractor will often prepare a list of items to be completed for the architect and/or engineer to review and inspect. The architect and/or engineer will prepare the certificate of substantial completion and set a deadline to complete the final items. Depending on the contract, this is usually the point where the owner will have to pay the “final” payment minus costs to complete the final items. This is the number one reason issuance of the certificate of substantial completion is so important to a contractor (and/or subcontractor).

Construction Liens, Landlords, and Tenants

Construction Liens, Landlords, and Tenants

A landlord can be liable for a construction lien (or mechanics’ liens) if the landlord fails to take proper precautions or fails to timely respond to a contractor or other lienor. An “owner” must sign the notice of commencement for construction or improvements to begin on a premises.

What is a Certificate of Occupancy and do you need one?

What is a Certificate of Occupancy?

A certificate of occupancy or CO in theory is very simple. It is the approval from the local jurisdiction that allows anyone other than construction workers, engineers, etc. to occupy the structure, with some exceptions that this article does not address, such as for industrial structures and projects. This sounds simple enough, but in order to receive a CO, the structure is typically required to be nearly finished, but not necessarily completely finished. It is often times the point at which substantial completion occurs, but case law is clear that they are not necessarily the same and in fact, receiving a CO is certainly strong evidence that substantial completion has occurred, but not necessarily the only evidence needed. For further information about substantial completion, visit my blog on substantial completion.

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