Hiring a General Contractor? Read This First …
Maybe it’s accidental, and maybe some businesses feel they’re buying “cheap,” but as a wise man once said, “cheap is expensive.” For whatever reason, unlicensed construction companies are hired for major projects every year, and every year someone pays for it.
Why is it so important to hire licensed workers? It all boils down to protecting yourself and your assets. Here’s what you need to know about licensed versus unlicensed contractors in South Florida.
In Florida, like most states, a license is required to perform any type of skilled construction labor on a commercial property. The license isn’t just a formality, either. It represents the fulfillment of certain qualifications, plus the required ongoing education in the construction industry.
These qualifications mean the contractor is always current in the industry and that he’s compliant with state regulatory laws. The license also means that the contractor understands the full scope of any project that he takes on. If he or his team isn’t equipped for any part of the job, he’ll hire licensed subcontractors who are.
A building contractor who is licensed knows state and local code. That means no matter what type of job it is – whether it’s a renovation or a ground-up build – each part of that job will be performed within prescribed industry guidelines. That saves you the risk of defective or inferior work, fines, and it also means the job will have much fewer headaches. If not, as a consumer you will have recourse to hold a licensed contractor accountable.
Licensed General Construction Workers Protect You
In addition to a properly completed job, licensing protects you against loss. To maintain a license and take on commercial work, a building general contractor must possess insurance, and he must also be bonded.
There are different types of insurance. General liability is what it sounds like and is similar amongst many businesses, while completed operations insurance will provide coverage post-construction when your builder is long gone. Errors and omissions insurance (or E&O) protects you against errors on the part of the contractor, and it also protects against omissions, which is failing to perform work in a certain way. This means fewer risks for you, because if there is a problem, insurance will cover your loss.
Claims of loss are honored where insurance exists. Where it doesn’t, you might win a case but never collect any damages. That’s the same as not winning at all.
All of South Florida Suffers When Unlicensed Workers Take Jobs
When an unlicensed contractor takes on commercial projects, the general public is put at risk. Commercial projects are typically considered public spaces, so the risk of unlicensed workers and the poor workmanship that often accompanies them is spread out to Broward County and the entire community. There’s also the risk of a worker injury, and you being liable for damages. Without licensing, the contractor likely doesn’t have worker’s compensation coverage. So any worker who is injured on your project could sue you for damages.
You Can Report an Unlicensed Building Construction Company
When a major building contractor works without a license, the state of Florida wants to know about it. That’s why there’s a simple and easy-to-use system designed for just that. It’s maintained by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
If you know of a contractor working unlicensed, you can email the department at ULA@myfloridalicense.com, or give them a call at 1(866) 532-1440. You can also download their mobile app, which makes reporting unlicensed activity easier.
In the 2014 – 2015 year, DBPR received 2,557 complaints against unlicensed contractors and issued 1,590 Notices to Cease and Desist around Palm Beach County and all of south Florida. By reporting it when you see it, you’re doing your part to protect yourself and the community.
Your project needs a licensed building contractor. It’s good for safety, and it’s good for ensuring that the job will be done right the first time. It might seem tempting to hire unlicensed workers, but the risks definitely outweigh any potential rewards, and those risks can emerge at any time.
Trust GSD Contracting to manage your project from beginning to end without putting you at any unnecessary risk. Contact us online or call us at 954-961-4222.