To perform work as a contractor, an individual must be licensed within the State of Florida. Contracting and licensing are regulated by the Department of Business and Professional Regulations (DBPR), the Construction Industry Licensing Board (CILB), and other specialized licensing boards in accordance with Chapter 489 of the Florida Statutes. The ability to perform construction work as a business organization is much different, however, because a business organization can not acquire a contractor’s license. The business organization must instead apply for a Certificate of Authority naming a qualifying agent responsible for all work provided by the firm, as well as authority and responsibility over business matters such as contracts, specifications, checks, drafts, and payments.
As contractor lawyers in St. Petersburg, we believe it is important for qualifying agents to not only be aware of their responsibilities in this role, but also the liability of this designation.
How Does the Process Work?
Before engaging in a construction contract, a business organization will designate their responsible qualifying agent with a sworn affidavit to the CILB stating that the applicant has final approval on all construction work performed. The qualifying agent is also responsible for financial matters related to the project, unless a Financial Responsible Officer is named by the firm. The business organization may also name a Secondary Qualifying Agent who is only responsible for the supervision of the projects where a building permit was pulled under his/her license.
Our St. Petersburg contractor lawyers would also like to note that should a qualifying agent step down from their position or be terminated by their employer, the business may no longer engage in contracting until a new qualifying agent is approved by the CILB.
Liability of a Qualifying Agent
The duty of the qualifying agent is that of a supervisor. They are to oversee work being performed and ensure that it is in line with regulations set forth by the DBPR and CILB. If a qualifying agent does not fulfill their obligations, however, the contractor will face administrative sanctions which could include fines, suspensions, criminal charges, and license revocation. However, the role of the qualification agent does not allow for private cause of action. For example, a homeowner does not have the right to sue the qualifying agent based on their status. Only state agencies may take legal action against a qualifying agent.
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.