With high-end residential construction again on the rise in Southwest Florida, owners, contractors, subcontractors, design professionals and others should be proactive and mindful of the various statutory requirements and legal issues involved in the construction process.
Parties should take heed in negotiating the contract language. The agreement for construction will be the governing document for the entire process, and, in many instances, will greatly impact your success or failure in avoiding, managing and resolving a future construction dispute.
Florida has strict requirements relating to certain items, including limits on indemnification and hold-harmless provisions, "pay-when-paid" clauses that are favored by contractors and loathed by subcontractors, damage limitation clauses, merger and integration clauses, notice provisions, default clauses, jury waivers and dispute resolution procedures, just to name a few.
Florida's Construction Lien Law (Chapter 713) is strictly construed, and it can be a minefield for the non-expert. Florida's Construction Defect Act (Chapter 558) continues to evolve and sets forth various notice and response deadlines and procedures to be followed by owners, contractors and subcontractors when there are "construction defects", as defined by the Act.
Before entering into a construction agreement, the parties should engage counsel to assist them with the process.