On June 14, 2017, Governor Scott signed House Bill 377 into law, clarifying that Florida’s ten-year Statute of Repose commences either when the work is completed or when final payment becomes due, whichever is latest. The new law resolves a problem for contractors created by a recent Florida court ruling that held the Statute of Repose to commence as late as when the owner made final payment. The applicable amendments to Florida Statue Section 95.11 take effect on July 1, 2017 and apply to all causes of action that accrue on or after that date.
Perhaps the most critical component of a construction professional’s risk management program is the length of time that it is liable for the work performed on a project. While contractual warranty periods typically run one or two years from substantial completion, the true length of a contractor’s post-completion obligation is measured by the “Statute of Repose,” which establishes the period of time following the completion of construction that a lawsuit can be filed for construction defects.