Just like the Little Miller Acts for Georgia and Alabama, Florida’s Little Miller Act statutes aim to protect public agencies from liens and legal actions by requiring contractors to secure surety bonds. Under Florida Statutes, Title XVIII, Chapter 255, §255.05, all projects valued at more than $100,000 must have a performance bond and payment bond in place. Exceptions are made for projects valued at $200,000 or less based on individual arrangements “at the discretion of the official or board awarding such contract.”
Vendors have a limited window to seek claims on bonds for non-payment. Other restrictions and exceptions are laid out in the remainder of the statute. Learn more about the fine print of Florida’s Little Miller Act and how it could affect both contract holders and those seeking payment from them by reading on.
Minimum Bonding Requirements Under Florida’s Little Miller Act
As stated above, all contracts that are publicly funded by Florida citizens or granted by public agencies controlled under the state of Florida must have bonding in place, unless they have a total value of $200,000 or less. Contracts between $100,000 and $200,000 can have exemptions put in place but only at the discretion of the controlling official or board and under an express written agreement.
All performance bonds must cover the value of the contract in full, and all payment bonds must similarly equal the total amount of estimated value of all subcontracts and material costs proposed within the initial bid. Florida provides exceptions for contracts valued in excess of $250 million, where the contract recipient must have the highest amount of bonding “reasonably available, but not less than $250 million.”
Combination contracts, such as construction-management or design-build, may not include the cost of non-construction work in the stipulated bond amount for the contract recipient. In these instances, performance bonds may not stipulate performance for the specific non-construction activities or the payment of contractors who aid in performing the non-construction work.
Before commencing their contract work, the contract recipient must provide to the public agency a certified copy of their recorded bonds.
Time Limits for Bond Claims Under Florida’s Little Miller Act
For subcontractors and suppliers seeking claims on payment bonds, they have to wait at least 45 days after “first furnishing of labor, services or materials” but no later than 90 days after the “final furnishing.”
If a vendor has finally and officially stopped working on a project, then the contract recipient can shorten the claim duration to 60 days by providing a boilerplate notice contained within the Little Miller Act.
Contract recipients can also enter into waiver agreements with vendors to exchange their right to make a claim on a bond for an agreed-upon settlement amount.
In addition to the requirements above, there are many other minute details involved in Florida’s Little Miller Act, including the limited actions the public and others can take against the public agencies awarding the contract.