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Commercial Litigation

Can You Perform Construction Work in Florida Without a General Contractor License?

By March 18, 2024No Comments

ConstructionAs a general proposition, anyone engaged in construction work has to be certified as a general contractor by Florida’s Department of Business & Professional Regulation.

However, there is an exception to this general rule, such as when the contractor acts as a subcontractor under a licensed contractor. In fact, the Florida Statutes explicitly state the following:

However, for purposes of complying with the provisions of this chapter, a subcontractor who is not certified or registered may perform construction work under the supervision of a person who is certified or registered, provided that the work is within the scope of the supervising contractor’s license, the supervising contractor is responsible for the work, and the subcontractor being supervised is not engaged in construction work that would require a license as a contractor under any of the categories listed in s. 489.105(3)(d)-(o).

Four key elements must be met in order to be exempt from the certification requirements of § 489.113. Firstly, the work is performed “under the supervision of a person who is certified or registered with the FCBPR.” Secondly, the work is “within the scope of the supervising contractor’s license.” Thirdly, the supervising contractor is ultimately responsible for the work. This essentially means that the supervising contractor—not the subcontractor—would be liable for any non-conforming work performed by the subcontractor. Finally, the subcontractor should not perform work that is outside the scope of the main contractor’s license.

It is important to note that courts take the “supervision” requirement seriously. A general contractor cannot simply sign on the project without engaging in active supervision. Full Circle Dairy, LLC v. McKinney, 467 F. Supp. 2d 1343, 1348 (M.D. Fla. 2006) (holding that the subcontractor was required to have a license since it was clear that he was not supervised by the main contractor). Confront Fla. Att’y Gen. Op. 2001-25 (2001).

As you can see, it’s crucial for contractors to ensure they adequately supervise subcontractors because any mishap by a subcontractor could be attributed to the main contractor. Similarly, subcontractors should align with responsible, engaged general contractors. Partnering with disengaged general contractors could expose subcontractors to liability for engaging in unlicensed activities.

For more information on construction or contractors’ disputes, contact one of our experienced litigation attorneys at 305-570-2208. You can also email our lead attorney Eduardo directly at 

We at Ayala Law PA are passionate about helping those in legal need, so please don’t hesitate to schedule a case evaluation with us online here.

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