Section 489.131, Florida Statutes 2003
(1) This part applies to all contractors, including, but not limited to, those performing work for the state or any county or municipality. Officers of the state or any county or municipality shall determine compliance with this part before awarding any contract for construction, improvement, remodeling, or repair.
(2) The state or any county or municipality shall require that bids submitted for construction, improvement, remodeling, or repair on public projects be accompanied by evidence that the bidder holds an appropriate certificate or registration, unless the work to be performed is exempt under s. 489.103.
(3) Nothing in this part limits the power of a municipality or county:
(a) To regulate the quality and character of work performed by contractors through a system of permits, fees, and inspections which is designed to secure compliance with and aid in the implementation of state and local building laws.
(b) To enforce other laws for the protection of the public health and safety.
(c) To collect occupational license taxes, subject to s. 205.065, and inspection fees for engaging in contracting or examination fees from persons who are registered with the board pursuant to local examination requirements and issue occupational license tax certificates. However, nothing in this part shall be construed to require general contractors, building contractors, or residential contractors to obtain additional occupational license tax certificates for specialty work when such specialty work is performed by employees of such contractors on projects for which they have substantially full responsibility and such contractors do not hold themselves out to the public as being specialty contractors.
(d) To adopt any system of permits requiring submission to and approval by the municipality or county of plans and specifications for work to be performed by contractors before commencement of the work.
(e) To require one bond for each contractor in an amount not to exceed $5,000, which bond shall be conditioned only upon compliance with the Florida Building Code adopted pursuant to s. 553.73. Any such bond must be equally available to all contractors without regard to the period of time a contractor has been certified or registered and without regard to any financial responsibility requirements. Any such bonds shall be payable to the Construction Industry Recovery Fund and filed in each county or municipality in which a building permit is requested. Bond reciprocity shall be granted statewide. All such bonds shall be included in meeting any financial responsibility requirements imposed by any statute or rule. Any contractor who provides a third party insured warranty policy in connection with a new building or structure for the benefit of the purchaser or owner shall be exempt from the bond requirements under this subsection with respect to such building or structure.
(f) To refuse to issue permits or issue permits with specific conditions to a contractor who has committed multiple violations, when he or she has been disciplined for each of them by the board and when each disciplinary action has involved revocation or suspension of a license, imposition of an administrative fine of at least $1,000, or probation; or to issue permits with specific conditions to a contractor who, within the previous 12 months, has had disciplinary action other than a citation or letter of guidance taken against him or her by the department or by a local board or agency which licenses contractors and has reported the action pursuant to paragraph (6)(c), for engaging in the business or acting in the capacity of a contractor without a license. However, this subsection does not supersede the provisions of s. 489.113(4), and no county or municipality may require any certificateholder to obtain a local professional license or pay a local professional license fee as a condition of performing any services within the scope of the certificateholder's statewide license as established under this part.
(4) Nothing in this part shall be construed to waive any requirement of any ordinance or resolution existing on October 1, 1979, of a board of county commissioners regulating the type of work required to be performed by a specialty contractor.
(5) Any official authorized to issue building or other related permits shall, before issuing a permit, ascertain that the applicant contractor is certified or is registered in the area where the construction is to take place.
(6)(a) No municipality or county may require the holder of a certificate issued pursuant to this part to sit for examination to operate within the scope of such certificate.
(b) To engage in contracting in the territorial area, an applicant shall also be registered with the board, as required by s. 489.117.
(c) Each local board or agency that licenses contractors must transmit quarterly to the board a report of any disciplinary action taken against contractors and of any administrative or disciplinary action taken against unlicensed persons for engaging in the business or acting in the capacity of a contractor including any cease and desist orders issued pursuant to s. 489.113(2)(b) and any fine issued pursuant to s. 489.127(5).
(7)(a) It is the policy of the state that the purpose of regulation is to protect the public by attaining compliance with the policies established in law. Fines and other penalties are provided in order to ensure compliance; however, the collection of fines and the imposition of penalties are intended to be secondary to the primary goal of attaining compliance with state laws and local jurisdiction ordinances. It is the intent of the Legislature that a local jurisdiction agency charged with enforcing regulatory laws shall issue a notice of noncompliance as its first response to a minor violation of a regulatory law in any instance in which it is reasonable to assume that the violator was unaware of such a law or unclear as to how to comply with it. A violation of a regulatory law is a "minor violation" if it does not result in economic or physical harm to a person or adversely affect the public health, safety, or welfare or create a significant threat of such harm. A "notice of noncompliance" is a notification by the local jurisdiction agency charged with enforcing the ordinance, which is issued to the licensee that is subject to the ordinance. A notice of noncompliance should not be accompanied with a fine or other disciplinary penalty. It should identify the specific ordinance that is being violated, provide information on how to comply with the ordinance, and specify a reasonable time for the violator to comply with the ordinance. Failure of a licensee to take action correcting the violation within a set period of time would then result in the institution of further disciplinary proceedings.
(b) The local governing body of a county or municipality, or its local enforcement body, is authorized to enforce the provisions of this part as well as its local ordinances against locally licensed or registered contractors, as appropriate. The local jurisdiction enforcement body may conduct disciplinary proceedings against a locally licensed or registered contractor and may require restitution, impose a suspension or revocation of his or her local license, or a fine not to exceed $5,000, or a combination thereof, against the locally licensed or registered contractor, according to ordinances which a local jurisdiction may enact. In addition, the local jurisdiction may assess reasonable investigative and legal costs for the prosecution of the violation against the violator, according to such ordinances as the local jurisdiction may enact.
(c) In addition to any action the local jurisdiction enforcement body may take against the individual's local license, and any fine the local jurisdiction may impose, the local jurisdiction enforcement body shall issue a recommended penalty for board action. This recommended penalty may include a recommendation for no further action, or a recommendation for suspension, revocation, or restriction of the registration, or a fine to be levied by the board, or a combination thereof. The local jurisdiction enforcement body shall inform the disciplined contractor and the complainant of the local license penalty imposed, the board penalty recommended, his or her rights to appeal, and the consequences should he or she decide not to appeal. The local jurisdiction enforcement body shall, upon having reached adjudication or having accepted a plea of nolo contendere, immediately inform the board of its action and the recommended board penalty.
(d) The department, the disciplined contractor, or the complainant may challenge the local jurisdiction enforcement body's recommended penalty for board action to the Construction Industry Licensing Board. A challenge shall be filed within 60 days after the issuance of the recommended penalty to the board. If challenged, there is a presumptive finding of probable cause and the case may proceed without the need for a probable cause hearing.
(e) Failure of the department, the disciplined contractor, or the complainant to challenge the local jurisdiction's recommended penalty within the time period set forth in this subsection shall constitute a waiver of the right to a hearing before the board. A waiver of the right to a hearing before the board shall be deemed an admission of the violation, and the penalty recommended shall become a final order according to procedures developed by board rule without further board action. The disciplined contractor may appeal this board action to the district court.
(f)1. The department may investigate any complaint which is made with the department. However, the department may not initiate or pursue any complaint against a registered contractor who is not also a certified contractor where a local jurisdiction enforcement body has jurisdiction over the complaint, unless summary procedures are initiated by the secretary pursuant to s. 455.225(8), or unless the local jurisdiction enforcement body has failed to investigate and prosecute a complaint, or make a finding of no violation, within 6 months of receiving the complaint. The department shall refer the complaint to the local jurisdiction enforcement body for investigation, and if appropriate, prosecution. However, the department may investigate such complaints to the extent necessary to determine whether summary procedures should be initiated.
2. Upon a recommendation by the department, the board may make conditional, suspend, or rescind its determination of the adequacy of the local government enforcement body's disciplinary procedures granted under s. 489.117(2).
(g) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to allow local jurisdictions to exercise disciplinary authority over certified contractors.
(8) A local enforcement board may petition the secretary of the department for issuance of a summary order against a certificateholder or registrant for any violation of this part.
(9) The right to create local boards in the future by any municipality or county is preserved.
(10) No municipal or county government may issue any certificate of competency or license for any contractor defined in s. 489.105(3)(a)-(o) after July 1, 1993, unless such local government exercises disciplinary control and oversight over such locally licensed contractors, including forwarding a recommended order in each action to the board as provided in subsection (7). Each local board that licenses and disciplines contractors must have at least two consumer representatives on that board. If the board has seven or more members, at least three of those members must be consumer representatives. The consumer representative may be any resident of the local jurisdiction who is not, and has never been, a member or practitioner of a profession regulated by the board or a member of any closely related profession.
(11) Any municipal or county government which enters or has in place a reciprocal agreement which accepts a certificate of competency or license issued by another municipal or county government in lieu of its own certificate of competency or license allowing contractors defined in s. 489.105(3)(a)-(o), shall file a certified copy of such agreement with the board not later than 60 days after July 1, 1993, or 30 days after the effective date of such agreement.
(12) Unless specifically provided, the provisions of this part shall not be construed to create a civil cause of action.
History.--ss. 10, 17, ch. 79-200; s. 372, ch. 81-259; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; s. 1, ch. 87-152; ss. 15, 20, 21, ch. 88-156; s. 30, ch. 89-289; s. 35, ch. 89-374; s. 40, ch. 91-137; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 6, ch. 92-55; ss. 64, 70, ch. 92-149; s. 19, ch. 93-166; s. 265, ch. 94-119; s. 4, ch. 95-240; s. 10, ch. 96-298; s. 73, ch. 96-388; s. 51, ch. 97-98; s. 1130, ch. 97-103; s. 13, ch. 97-228; s. 24, ch. 98-287; s. 10, ch. 98-419; s. 125, ch. 2000-141; s. 36, ch. 2000-154; s. 35, ch. 2001-186; s. 4, ch. 2001-372.