The Responsibilities of Primary Qualifying Agents

The Responsibilities of Primary Qualifying Agents

By Christopher M. Cobb November 15, 2019 Posted in Construction Law

Under Chapter 489, Florida Statutes, primary qualifying agents are, typically, considered the main decision maker of the business organization.  All primary qualifying agents for a business organization are jointly and equally responsible for: (1) supervision of all operations of the business organization, (2) all field work at all job sites, and (3) financial matters, both for the organization in general and for each specific job.  Fla. Stat. § 489.1195(1)(a).  Failure to take this responsibility will result in discipline.

When a certified contractor elects to do business under the corporate form, the license holder must qualify the business entity.  The licensed contractor is solely responsible for all construction and financial aspects of the business.  Some contractors are not comfortable with the financial aspects of running a business.  In that case, the company can designate a Responsibilities Primary Qualifying Agentsfinancially responsible officer (“FRO”) to run the business aspects of the company.  This is accomplished by filling out an application to serve as the FRO.  The designated FRO is responsible for “all financial aspects of the business organization.”  Fla. Stat. § 489.1195(1)(b) and the license holder remains responsible for the supervision of the projects and construction operations.  For CILB’s purposes, the FRO is the financial manager of the business organization and can be subject to disciplinary proceedings in the event of consumer harm.  In reality and typically, the majority owner of the company controls the financial aspects of the company.  Assigning a FRO is strictly to alleviate licensure liability for primary qualifying agents pertaining to financial violations of Chapter 489, Florida Statutes.

Business organizations that have more than one qualifying agent may designate a sole primary qualifying agent for the business organization by a joint agreement.  Fla. Stat. § 489.1195(2)(a).  The agreement must be executed by all qualifying agents for the business organization and must be approved by the Construction Industry Licensing Board (“CILB”).  The qualifying agent designated for a business organization by a joint agreement is the sole primary qualifying agent for the business organization, and all other qualifying agents for the business organization are secondary qualifying agents.  Fla. Stat. § 489.1195(2)(c).  A secondary qualifying agent is only responsible for projects for which they have pulled a permit under their license.

Prior to submitting an application to qualify a business organization, think about the responsibilities and potential liability you will take on as a qualifier.  It is extremely important to consider the structure of the business organization when submitting your application.  Not being actively involved in the projects of the company can and usually will lead to discipline.  For more information on how to properly qualify a construction company, please call us.

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