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Facing,Custom,Built-in,Shelves,And,Cabinets,Design,Drawing,Gradating,To

Guide to Obtaining a New Commercial Building Permit

The Florida Building Code is a group of regulations specified in Florida Statute 553.79. It requires businesses, individuals, and contractors to obtain necessary permits when “constructing, erecting, altering, repairing, or demolishing” a building. These regulations are intended to keep employees, patrons, and visitors safe while on the premises and help buildings withstand natural disasters like hurricanes. While the state dictates the requirements that make up the Florida Building Code, each county has specific requirements for obtaining a building permit. In addition, different permits are needed if you are constructing a new commercial building, renovating an old one, or building a new residential property. Below, we discuss the requirements for obtaining a new construction commercial building permit in Orange County, Florida.

Required Documents for New Commercial Building Permit Application

Contractors must submit various documents online to apply for a new commercial construction permit in Orange County. In most cases, contractors must be the ones to apply for the permit and accept the issuance once it is approved. A business owner can apply for a permit if the project costs less than $75,000. Contractors must submit their application for new construction along with the appropriate documents through Orange County’s Fast Track online permit system (described in detail below). Necessary documents that are required to accompany the initial application include:

  • Site plan or survey (including dimensions and location)
  • Project scope signed and sealed by a licensed Florida architect or engineer
  • Life safety plans
  • Floor plan
  • Construction type
  • Occupancy classification
  • Energy conservation code
  • Fire flow calculation
  • Door and window installation plan and product description

 How to Apply for a New Commercial Building Permit

1. Fill out the Fast Track application.

Orange County uses an online portal called Fast Track for all permit applications. Filling out the online application and uploading the necessary documents is the first step in obtaining a new commercial construction permit.

2. Upload documents.

Follow the instructions for uploading documents carefully, including required file types and names to ensure your application is processed promptly. In addition to the documents mentioned above, you must complete a Commercial Plan Review checklist and pay a deposit fee.

3. Project and plans review.

An inspector will review the online application and ensure it complies with all elements of the Florida Building and Fire Prevention codes. Depending on the type of construction, there may be additional reviews that are required.

4. Approval or denial.

After the review process, you will receive an email with either a permit approval notice or a denial. If you are denied, you can utilize the comments within the application to resubmit your permit after revising your building plans. If your application is accepted, the permit status will change to “final issuance,” and you will be emailed a final issue letter. You will also need to sign and notarize the second page of the new building application and resubmit it to Fast Track.

5. Pay permit fees.

6. Apply for sub-permits.

Additional permits may be required depending on the type of building. You may need to apply for a sub-permit for the building’s electrical, roofing, gas, irrigation, plumbing, or mechanical elements.

7. Notice of commencement.

This notice needs to be signed with a certified copy uploaded into the Fast Track system before the first inspection.

8. Schedule the first inspection.

9. Final inspection and permit completion.

Boutty Law Firm: Business and Construction Attorney in Central Florida

 Attorney Shane Boutty, P.A., has over 20 years of experience in the construction industry and is experienced in all aspects of commercial law. If you believe your new construction project has been denied unfairly, or you have issues regarding new building inspections, we can help ensure your project stays on track and up to code. Call our office in Maitland at 407-710-0461 for a free initial consultation.

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Woman,Using,Smart,Phone,On,The,Table,While,Her,Husband

What is a “Damage To Your Work” Exclusion?

As a general contractor, your business must have Commercial General Liability insurance (CGL). This type of insurance is required for most construction contracts. Primarily, CGL covers personal injuries and property damages to others during the job or on your completed work. Most CGL insurance policies include clauses for exclusion—specific times that insurance will not cover damages. One common exclusion in contractor policies is the “Damage to Your Work” or “Your Work” exclusion. Below, we discuss what this exclusion means, common scenarios where it is used, and how it impacts a claim against your insurance as a general contractor.

What is the “Damage to Your Work” Exclusion?

 The Damage to Your Work exclusion protects the insurance company from paying to cover the cost of replacement materials and structures resulting from faulty or defective work. The policy may word this exclusion similar to this:

“This insurance does not apply to property damage to work performed by or on behalf of the Named Insured arising out of the work or any portion thereof, or out of materials, parts, or equipment furnished in connection therewith. This exclusion does not apply if the damaged work or the work out of which the damage arises was performed on your behalf by a subcontractor.”

Most CGL policies cover property damage and bodily injuries caused by defects or construction errors but will not cover replacement costs for fixing the damaged work. The Damage to Your Work exclusion allows insurance companies to deny covering the costs of repairs or replacement for materials for work you performed.

Why Do Insurance Companies Include Damage to Your Work Exclusions?

Insurance covers property damage and personal injuries to clients or customers caused by general business risks. These policies are not meant to act as a warranty, covering the replacement or repair of defective parts related to the claim. The Damage to Your Work exclusion prevents insured business owners from receiving funds to repair or replace the faulty work that caused the damage in the first place. It includes denying claims for building materials like shingles, flooring, drywall, and the cost of labor to repair what was damaged.

Example Scenarios

To understand how the Damage to Your Work exclusion may be utilized in the real world, here are two instances where this exclusion may come into play:

Bathroom Remodel

During a bathroom remodel, a contractor retiled the shower. Before installing the tile, the contractor placed a waterproof rubber membrane underneath the shower pan to prevent water from entering the subfloor. During installation, the membrane ripped, causing a hole that the contractor did not notice before continuing to install the shower. Several months after the remodel was complete, water began to leak and caused damage to the surrounding shower drywall and the shower’s subfloor. To fix the leak, the contractor had to remove some of their previously completed tile work and replace part of the subfloor. The contractor made a claim through his CGL insurance, which paid for the client’s property damage. He also claimed to recover the cost of labor, and for replacing the tile he had to tear out. The claim was denied under the contractor’s Damage to Your Work exclusion, citing the tile repairs were only needed due to the contractor’s poor workmanship caused by the tear in the membrane. 

Roof

A contractor oversaw a roof install for a client. However, the shingles were not installed properly. Several months later, the roof leaked during a bad thunderstorm, causing damage to the client’s belongings stored in the attic. To fix the damage, the contractor had to replace the entire roof. The contractor filed a claim with his CGL insurance, which covered damage to the homeowner’s belongings. However, the insurance denied coverage for the cost of replacing the roof, citing the Damage to Your Work clause as the roof damage was caused by faulty shingle placement.

Damage to Your Work and Subcontractors

As in the sample wording above, the Damage to Your Work exclusion often includes phrasing regarding subcontractors. In these instances, CGL may cover the cost of repairs if the damage was caused by work done on your behalf by a contractor. This is because the subcontractor should have a similar exclusion within their own CGL policy. In this instance, the subcontractor would be responsible for the costs of repairs and damages.

Appealing a Damage to Your Work Exclusion

The Damage to Your Work exclusion is common in construction contracts. However, it is often contested and regularly misinterpreted. If you believe your insurance company has unfairly denied your claim under the Damage to Your Work exclusion, contact the Boutty Law Firm. Attorney Shane Boutty is a certified contractor and former construction business owner. He understands construction law, claims, and insurance policies, fighting for your rights as a construction professional. Schedule a consultation by calling 407-710-0461 or stop by our office in Maitland for a consultation to discuss your case. 

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What Makes a Will Legal in Florida?

A will is a legal document that allows you to specify how you would like your possessions and property distributed to family, friends, and charitable organizations after you pass away. A will is the most comprehensive way to explain your last wishes to your loved ones. After passing, your will goes through the probate process to ensure its validity and properly distribute your assets. For a will to be valid in Florida, it must adhere to the requirements stated in Chapter 732.502 of the Florida Statutes. Here is how to ensure you create a legal will in Florida. 

Be Legally Eligible

The first requirement for a will to be valid in Florida is to ensure the person creating the will (called the testator) is legally eligible to create one. You must be over 18 or an emancipated minor to make a will. You must be of “sound mind” and understand the full effect of the document you create. Your will should also be made freely and voluntarily, not under the threat of force or coercion. 

Get it in Writing

Wills must be written, typed documents. Handwritten (also called holographic) or oral wills are not valid in Florida unless considered legal in another state. Wills can also be submitted and signed electronically. No official phrasing or terms need to be included in the document for it to be recognized as a will. 

Properly Signed by the Testator 

According to Florida statutes, the testator must sign a will at the end of the document to be valid. The testator can use any mark as a signature; it does not need to be their full name. However, the testator must acknowledge the mark as their signature. If the testator cannot write, they may appoint someone else to sign it on their behalf. 

Have it Signed by Two Witnesses 

Two witnesses need to sign the will for it to be valid. Witnesses can be anyone the testator desires, as long as they are mentally competent and understand what they are signing. It is recommended that the two witnesses are not named beneficiaries in the will, but this is not a requirement according to Florida law. 

Modifying a Will 

There are a few options if you previously created a valid will and want to make changes. One way is to create a new will and revoke the old one. When creating a new will, you should state that the new will revokes the older version. To avoid confusion, destroy any older versions and only keep the most recent document on hand. You can also modify a will by creating a codicil, or amendment, to the original document. Codicils work well when changing a small portion of the will without revoking the entire document. Like a will, codicils must be signed by two witnesses.

Contesting a Will 

Someone can contest a will if they believe it was made under duress or undue influence, meaning you were pressured or persuaded to make the will. A will may also be contested if a potential beneficiary believes they were unfairly left out or removed from it. 

Boutty Law Firm Creates Valid Florida Wills 

One way to ensure your will is valid is to have an experienced estate planning attorney review it. It is wise to seek legal counsel to ensure the probate process is simple and efficient for your family members. Call our office today at 407-710-0461 to schedule an appointment.

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Homeownership,Concept

Understanding Common Property Disputes in Florida

A property dispute is a type of real estate dispute that can occur during any part of the homeownership process. Property disputes can arise whether you are buying a home or have lived in the same place for several decades. A property dispute is a disagreement over how a piece of property is used, such as a home, business, waterway, or vacant land. Below, we break down the most common property disputes in Florida and how to resolve them. 

Boundary Disputes

Boundary disputes occur when there is a disagreement over a homeowner’s property line location. Property lines should be surveyed and documented on a property owner’s deed, but discrepancies between surveys may show two people own the same land. It may not initially be a problem until constructing a shed or fence on the disputed portion of land, adding or removing trees from a property, or using the area unsatisfactorily (such as for old car part storage). 

There are two possible outcomes in a boundary dispute if the case goes to court. First, an ejectment may be ordered, determining the offending structure or possessions are trespassing on your land and must be removed. Or, a declaratory judgment may be issued, which is when a judge legally determines the property owner.

Easement Disputes 

An easement is when one person owns a piece of property, but someone else is authorized to use it for a specific purpose. For example, many utility companies and government agencies may have easements to access your property to maintain electrical poles or water lines. There are several types of easements: 

●      Easement appurtenants—do not expire within a specific timeframe and are intact despite who owns the land. 

●      Easements in gross—are tied to a person or an organization, not a particular property. Utility companies often possess easements in gross to access and maintain power, cable, and internet lines. 

●      Prescriptive easements—may be requested when there is continuous use of land over a significant period (20 years or more in Florida). 

 

Titles 

Title disputes arise when selling a home Title disagreements occur when someone opposes ownership over a particular portion of a property. If there was an error in the property survey or title search, litigation might be necessary to rectify the problem. If you are in the process of a home sale, working with an experienced real estate attorney to perform a title search can help correct any defects. 

How to Settle a Property Dispute 

Property disputes tend to come with high emotions, as they may pit neighbor against neighbor. When settling a property dispute, the most friendly outcome is for you and your neighbor to resolve the dispute independently. However, this is not always possible. If you and your neighbor cannot agree, you may need legal assistance to file an injunction and settle the dispute. When filing your claim, you will want to present documents and gather information such as surveys, titles, and boundary maps. For assistance, contact a real estate attorney at the Boutty Law Firm to help file your claim. 

Settle Property Disputes Amicably with the Boutty Law Firm

Property disputes can be very complicated and emotional, especially when dealing with neighbors. If you are facing a property dispute in Central Florida, seek the counsel of an experienced real estate attorney like the team at the Boutty Law Firm. Call our office at 407-710-0461 for an initial consultation.

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probate litigation

What is Contested Probate?

Probate is the process of executing a decedent’s will and distributing their assets to beneficiaries. While having a will is an important part of estate planning that ensures your loved ones know how you would like your estate to be handled, sometimes family members disagree about executing the will. When this happens, the will can be formally challenged in a process called contested probate. We discuss contested probate in detail below.  

Understanding Probate

Contested probate occurs when anyone with a vested interest in the decedent’s last will and testament formally challenges its validity. Someone may challenge a will if they believe they were unjustly removed from it, it was not properly executed, or it was inaccurately drafted. When probate is contested, a formal challenge (or petition) is submitted to the probate court, and a judge decides on the will’s validity. 

 

Reasons for contesting a will 

There are several reasons someone may contest a will. In these situations, the burden of proof lies with the person challenging the will. 

Validating the document 

For a will to be valid in Florida, it must meet the requirements stated in Florida Statute 732.502, such as being signed at the end of the document by the decedent and two witnesses. If the document was not properly signed or witnessed, it could be contested or revoked. 

Undue influence 

Undue influence is one of the most common ways wills are contested. Undue influence means that the will was drafted or altered due to forceful manipulation by someone who would substantially benefit from it. The person challenging the will must offer evidence that the decedent was pressured or persuaded into drafting the will in a particular way to benefit another person who was active in its creation. 

Improper removal

If someone believes they were unjustly removed from someone’s will, they can dispute it. The person may prove they were included in a previous version and that the decedent was removed by mistake or unjustly.

Capacity

The person must be of sound mind and full mental capacity to draft a will. If someone proves that the decedent was not fully aware of the will they were preparing, it could be challenged and considered invalid. The person challenging the will would have to provide evidence that the decedent had a persistent condition such as dementia or Alzheimer’s that prevented them from signing the document willfully. They may also provide evidence that the decedent suffered from delusion, meaning they were legally “insane,” which would invalidate the entire will. 

Under duress

If it is proven that someone signed or modified a will under the threat of physical harm to themselves or a loved one, the will could be challenged in court. 

Fraud

A fraudulent will is made under false pretenses, such as drafting a will based on false information from a noted beneficiary.

 

How to contest a will 

Generally, a will can be contested within 90 days of the notice of administration, the formal start of the probate process. Beneficiaries or other interested parties may challenge a will. A formal petition must be presented to the probate court where probate is taking place (the county where the decedent resided). The petition should specify whether the will should be revoked, modified, or invalidated and why the will is challenged. Once the estate is notified, the case will be settled or go to a hearing for a judge to determine the will’s validity. 

Florida contested probate attorneys 

Challenging a will can be a complex legal process, so it is beneficial to have experienced probate attorneys at The Boutty Law Firm represent you to contest a will’s validity. Call us today at 407-710-0461 for a consultation. 

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