Hiring a design-build firm presents many benefits to both commercial builders and homeowners. All parties are on the same team, which keeps the project in-line with expectations, and removes the client from being a middle-man between a contractor and designer. The entirety of the project is outlined in one contract, with one firm, but behind the scenes there are challenges for a design-build firm to operate their business, and hold the appropriate license as mandated by the Florida Statutes.
To help you get a grasp on the licensing expectations, our team of Clearwater construction lawyers have outlined some important areas to consider.
Contractors, architects, and engineers are very unique fields within the construction industry, but because of an exemption within the Florida Statutes, design-build services may still be offered if a license in only one of those disciplines is held. However, parties that perform work related to a different discipline than the license must have the appropriate license.
Florida Statute 489.229(3):
Notwithstanding the provisions of this part, a general contractor who is certified or registered pursuant to the provisions of chapter 489 is not required to be licensed as an architect when negotiating or performing services under a design-build contract as long as the architectural services offered or rendered in connection with the contract are offered and rendered by an architect licensed in accordance with this chapter.
Protecting your Business
Having the ability to operate as a design-build firm can be a great opportunity for your business, but it must be done the right way. If you’re licensed as a general contractor, your duties in the project should only involve those allowed by your license. When it comes to the design plans and other areas that you are unlicensed to complete, protect your business by engaging with only licensed professionals. If not, you can be charged with contracting without a license. This makes your company vulnerable to criminal charges and makes any contract you enter invalid.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.