The Florida legislature has had a busy 2023 thus far. Governor DeSantis signed several bills into law, many of which affected the construction industry. One of the most important bills signed into law on June 20, 2023, was HB 1383, which provided additional guidance to HB 735, which was signed into law after the previous legislative session.
If you want the history of HB 735 and HD 1383, please read my previous article on these topics for important background and context. For this article, I wanted to highlight the most important aspects of the new law and how it may affect contractors across the state of Florida.
Please note: I am not a lawyer, and I am not offering legal advice or legal opinions. Contact your legal counsel for advice on how this new law affects you and your business.
The New Law And What It Means For Florida Contractors
House Bill 1383 was signed into law and is now in the Florida Statutes. Here are five important excerpts from the law, followed by some notes explaining what each excerpt could mean for Florida contractors.
“Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: Section 1. Paragraph (a) of subsection (2) of section 163.211, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
163.211 Licensing of occupations preempted to state.— (2) PREEMPTION OF OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING TO THE STATE. The licensing of occupations is expressly preempted to the state, and this section supersedes any local government licensing requirement of occupations with the exception of the following: (a) Any local government that imposed licenses on occupations before January 1, 2021. However, any such local government licensing of occupations expires on July 1, 2024.”
This provision of the law extends the deadline for those local licenses that will be eliminated to July 1, 2024. If you hold a local license that will be preempted at that time, you will most likely have to renew your local license for a prorated year-long period. Contact your local municipality for clarification.
“Section 2. Subsection (6) of section 489.113, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
489.113 Qualifications for practice; restrictions.—
(6)(a) The board shall, by rule, designate those types of specialty contractors which may be certified under this part. The limit of the scope of work and responsibility of a specialty contractor shall be established by the board by rule. However, a certified specialty contractor category established by board rule exists as a voluntary statewide licensing category and does not create a mandatory licensing requirement. Any mandatory statewide construction contracting licensure requirement may only be established through specific statutory provision.
(b) By July 1, 2024, the board shall, by rule, establish certified specialty contractor categories for voluntary licensure for all of the following:
- Structural aluminum or screen enclosures.
- Marine seawall work.
- Marine bulkhead work.
- Marine dock work.
- Marine pile driving.
- Structural masonry.
- Structural prestressed, precast concrete work.
- Rooftop solar heating installation.
- Structural steel.
- Window and door installation, including garage door installation and hurricane or windstorm protection.
- Plaster and lath.
- Structural carpentry.”
These additional specialty license categories are required by the law, but the Construction Industry Licensing Board (CILB) recently opened Board Rule 61-G4 – Chapter 15. This chapter of the Board Rules lays out the definitions and requirements for each license type.
By opening this rule, they not only start the process for developing the rules for the new categories, but also potentially creating new categories above and beyond the legislative requirement.
Stay tuned to this issue. New licensing categories could be coming in 2024.
“Section 3. Paragraph (a) of subsection (4) of section 489.117, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
489.117 Registration; specialty contractors.—
(4)(a)1. A person whose job scope does not substantially correspond to either the job scope of one of the contractor categories defined in s. 489.105(3)(a)-(o), or the job scope of one of the certified specialty contractor categories established by board rule, is not required to register with the board. A local government, as defined in s. 163.211, may not require a person to obtain a license, issued by the local government or the state, for a job scope which does not substantially correspond to the job scope of one of the contractor categories defined in s. 489.105(3)(a)-(o) and (q) or authorized in s. 489.1455(1), or the job scope of one of the certified specialty contractor categories established pursuant to s. 489.113(6).”
This is a very important provision of the new law. Basically, this section prohibits local governments from requiring a local license for any license category that is not available at the state level.
This is why there could be discussion for new categories added to Chapter 15 of the Board Rule above and beyond the legal mandate.
“A local government may not require a state or local license to obtain a permit for such job scopes. For purposes of this section, job scopes for which a local government may not require a license include, but are not limited to, painting; flooring; cabinetry; interior remodeling when the scope of the project does not include a task for which a state license is required; driveway or tennis court installation; handyman services; decorative stone, tile, marble, granite, or terrazzo installation; plastering; pressure washing; stuccoing; caulking; and canvas awning and ornamental iron installation.”
This was a huge issue with the previous law—the legislature did not address the permitting and licensing requirement issue. The new law now specifically states local governments cannot require a license to pull permits for scopes of work that fall under the preempted categories.
This allows unlicensed contractors to perform work legally and pull permits for the categories defined in the statue above. In other words, if you are a painting contractor, you would still be required to pull a permit for work over $2,500 as per Florida Building Code, but the local government cannot require you to be licensed to obtain the permit.
Insurance and local business tax requirements are still in effect (verify with your local municipality).
“3. A local government may continue to offer a license for veneer, including aluminum or vinyl gutters, siding, soffit, or fascia; rooftop painting, coating, and cleaning above three stories in height; or fence installation and erection if the local government imposed such a licensing requirement before January 1, 2021.”
This is another important provision of the new law. The legislature preserved the local licenses that include veneer, rooftop painting, and fencing. If you are licensed locally for these categories, your local government will most likely keep these license categories moving forward. They will not expire on July 1, 2024.
Verify with your local municipality, but this is great news for locally licensed contractors in these categories.
Guidance For Locally Licensed Florida Contractors By County
Each Florida county is still trying to determine how to proceed with the provisions of the new law. If you are not sure how your local government will proceed, please contact them directly and tell me what they say.
Some governments have provided guidance on this issue, others have not. I am happy to post updates for any county if you send me a link to the notice.
Here are links to a few Florida counties regarding their guidance for locally licensed contractors:
Finally, click here for a link to the 2023 Legislative Session Final Report written by the Florida Association of Counties.