Section 489.115, Florida Statutes 2008
489.115 Certification and registration; endorsement; reciprocity; renewals; continuing education.--
(1) No person may engage in the business of contracting in this state without first being certified or registered in the proper classification.
(2)(a) The department shall issue a certificate or registration to each person qualified by the board and upon receipt of the original license fee.
(b) Certification allows the certificateholder to engage in contracting only for the type of work covered by the certificate and only while the certificate is on active status.
(3) The board shall certify as qualified for certification by endorsement any applicant who:
(a) Meets the requirements for certification as set forth in this section; has passed a national, regional, state, or United States territorial licensing examination that is substantially equivalent to the examination required by this part; and has satisfied the requirements set forth in s. 489.111;
(b) Holds a valid license to practice contracting issued by another state or territory of the United States, if the criteria for issuance of such license were substantially equivalent to Florida's current certification criteria; or
(c) Holds a valid, current license to practice contracting issued by another state or territory of the United States, if the state or territory has entered into a reciprocal agreement with the board for the recognition of contractor licenses issued in that state, based on criteria for the issuance of such licenses that are substantially equivalent to the criteria for certification in this state.
(4)(a) Each certificateholder or registrant who desires to continue as a certificateholder or registrant shall renew the certificate or registration every 2 years. The department shall mail each certificateholder and registrant an application for renewal.
(b)1. Each certificateholder or registrant shall provide proof, in a form established by rule of the board, that the certificateholder or registrant has completed at least 14 classroom hours of at least 50 minutes each of continuing education courses during each biennium since the issuance or renewal of the certificate or registration. The board shall establish by rule that a portion of the required 14 hours must deal with the subject of workers' compensation, business practices, workplace safety, and, for applicable licensure categories, wind mitigation methodologies, and 1 hour of which must deal with laws and rules. The board shall by rule establish criteria for the approval of continuing education courses and providers, including requirements relating to the content of courses and standards for approval of providers, and may by rule establish criteria for accepting alternative nonclassroom continuing education on an hour-for-hour basis. The board shall prescribe by rule the continuing education, if any, which is required during the first biennium of initial licensure. A person who has been licensed for less than an entire biennium must not be required to complete the full 14 hours of continuing education.
2. In addition, the board may approve specialized continuing education courses on compliance with the wind resistance provisions for one and two family dwellings contained in the Florida Building Code and any alternate methodologies for providing such wind resistance which have been approved for use by the Florida Building Commission. Division I certificateholders or registrants who demonstrate proficiency upon completion of such specialized courses may certify plans and specifications for one and two family dwellings to be in compliance with the code or alternate methodologies, as appropriate, except for dwellings located in floodways or coastal hazard areas as defined in ss. 60.3D and E of the National Flood Insurance Program.
3. Each certificateholder or registrant shall provide to the board proof of completion of the core curriculum courses, or passing the equivalency test of the Building Code Training Program established under s. 553.841, specific to the licensing category sought, within 2 years after commencement of the program or of initial certification or registration, whichever is later. Classroom hours spent taking core curriculum courses shall count toward the number required for renewal of certificates or registration. A certificateholder or registrant who passes the equivalency test in lieu of taking the core curriculum courses shall receive full credit for core curriculum course hours.
4. The board shall require, by rule adopted pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54, a specified number of hours in specialized or advanced module courses, approved by the Florida Building Commission, on any portion of the Florida Building Code, adopted pursuant to part IV of chapter 553, relating to the contractor's respective discipline.
(c) The certificateholder or registrant shall complete, sign, and forward the renewal application to the department, together with the appropriate fee. Upon receipt of the application and fee, the department shall renew the certificate or registration.
(5)(a) As a prerequisite to the initial issuance or the renewal of a certificate or registration, the applicant shall submit an affidavit on a form provided by the board attesting to the fact that the applicant has obtained workers' compensation insurance as required by chapter 440, public liability insurance, and property damage insurance for the safety and welfare of the public, in amounts determined by rule of the board. The board shall by rule establish a procedure to verify the accuracy of such affidavits based upon a random sample method.
(b) In addition to the affidavit of insurance, as a prerequisite to the initial issuance of a certificate, the applicant shall furnish a credit report from a nationally recognized credit agency that reflects the financial responsibility of the applicant and evidence of financial responsibility, credit, and business reputation of either himself or herself or the business organization he or she desires to qualify. The board shall adopt rules defining financial responsibility based upon the applicant's credit history, ability to be bonded, and any history of bankruptcy or assignment of receivers. The board may also adopt rules that would allow applicants to demonstrate financial responsibility, as an alternative to the foregoing, by providing minimum credit scores or bonds payable as prescribed for financially responsible officers. Such rules shall specify the financial responsibility grounds on which the board may refuse to qualify an applicant for certification.
(c) If, within 60 days from the date the applicant is notified that he or she has qualified, he or she does not provide the evidence required, he or she shall apply to the department for an extension of time which shall be granted upon a showing of just cause.
(d) An applicant for initial issuance of a certificate or registration shall submit as a prerequisite to qualifying for an exemption from workers' compensation coverage requirements under s. 440.05 an affidavit attesting to the fact that the applicant will obtain an exemption within 30 days after the date the initial certificate or registration is issued by the board.
(6) An applicant for initial issuance of a certificate or registration shall submit to a statewide criminal history records check through the Department of Law Enforcement. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation shall submit the requests for the criminal history records check to the Department of Law Enforcement for state processing, and the Department of Law Enforcement shall return the results to the department to determine if the applicant meets certification or registration requirements. If the applicant has been convicted of a felony, the board may deny licensure to the applicant based upon the severity of the crime, the relationship of the crime to contracting, or the potential for public harm. The board shall also, in denying or approving licensure, consider the length of time since the commission of the crime and the rehabilitation of the applicant. The board may not deny licensure to an applicant based solely upon a felony conviction or the applicant's failure to provide proof of restoration of civil rights.
(7) An initial applicant shall, along with the application, and a certificateholder or registrant shall, upon requesting a change of status, submit to the board a credit report from a nationally recognized credit agency that reflects the financial responsibility of the applicant or certificateholder or registrant. The credit report required for the initial applicant shall be considered the minimum evidence necessary to satisfy the board that he or she is financially responsible to be certified, has the necessary credit and business reputation to engage in contracting in the state, and has the minimum financial stability necessary to avoid the problem of financial mismanagement or misconduct. The board shall, by rule, adopt guidelines for determination of financial stability, which may include minimum requirements for net worth, cash, and bonding for Division I certificateholders of no more than $20,000 and for Division II certificateholders of no more than $10,000. Fifty percent of the financial requirements may be met by completing a 14-hour financial responsibility course approved by the board.
(8) If a certificateholder or registrant holds a license under both this part and part II and is required to have continuing education courses under s. 489.517(3), the certificateholder or registrant may apply those course hours for workers' compensation, workplace safety, and business practices obtained under part II to the requirements under this part.
(9) An initial applicant shall submit, along with the application, a complete set of fingerprints in a form and manner required by the department. The fingerprints shall be submitted to the Department of Law Enforcement for state processing, and the Department of Law Enforcement shall forward them to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the purpose of conducting a level 2 background check pursuant to s. 435.04. The department shall and the board may review the background results to determine if an applicant meets licensure requirements. The cost for the fingerprint processing shall be borne by the person subject to the background screening. These fees are to be collected by the authorized agencies or vendors. The authorized agencies or vendors are responsible for paying the processing costs to the Department of Law Enforcement.
History.--ss. 7, 17, ch. 79-200; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; s. 85, ch. 83-329; ss. 8, 20, 21, ch. 88-156; s. 2, ch. 89-5; s. 33, ch. 89-374; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 60, ch. 92-149; s. 10, ch. 93-166; s. 75, ch. 93-415; s. 259, ch. 94-119; s. 6, ch. 94-284; s. 482, ch. 97-103; s. 8, ch. 97-228; s. 3, ch. 98-116; ss. 20, 21, ch. 98-287; s. 29, ch. 98-419; ss. 41, 42, ch. 2000-141; s. 31, ch. 2001-91; s. 35, ch. 2001-186; s. 4, ch. 2001-372; s. 3, ch. 2007-86; s. 2, ch. 2007-126; s. 6, ch. 2007-227; s. 130, ch. 2008-4.