This month's topic provides a cursory checklist of items for a contractor to consider prior to starting a construction project.
- Have your attorney review the proposed construction contract prior to signing. In the event you do not consult with your attorney, at least be sure to obtain a written contract. Be sure that the owner signs the contract and that the material terms of the contract are clearly identified. That is, be clear as to the exact scope of your work, including what work is to be done and what type of material will be supplied, as well as the exact terms of how and when payment is made.
- It is the owner's responsibility to record and post a certified copy at the job site of the notice of commencement prior to any work on the project. Inform the owner of this responsibility, and also inform the owner that they must sign the notice. No one else may sign in place of the owner. When there is construction financing, the lender takes over the duty of recording the notice. However, the owner retains the duty to post it at the jobsite. Remember also that work must begin within 90 days of recording, or else the notice is void. Please also note that under recent amendments to Florida Statutes, without a properly recorded notice filed with your local permit issuing authority, they will not perform a "first inspection". The statute does state that if a local government requires a separate permit or inspection for installation of temporary electrical service or other temporary utility service, land clearing, or other preliminary site work, such permits may be issued and such inspections may be conducted prior to your providing the recorded notice.
- Remember that any bond for the project must be attached to the notice of commencement at the time of recording.
- Be sure that your contractor's license is current or you may forfeit the ability to use the court system to enforce any legal rights you may have regarding the project.