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Roof repair permits needed in most cases

by Eric Mullens

At first glance, this roof damage from the January 2017 windstorm in Walsenburg may appear to qualify as a simple patch job, but it is important for homeowners to have a qualified inspection to determine if this would be a repair, or replacement and if a building permit is necessary. Photo by Eric Mullens

WALSENBURG — With the extremely high winds that blasted through Walsenburg and the Spanish Peaks region last month, many homeowners are now faced with roof repairs or roofing replacement projects.

Walsenburg Building Inspector Rick Dunn said this week there have been about a dozen building permits for roofing projects pulled in association with the January wind storm.

Dunn explained a roofing construction permit is necessary in most, but not all cases. “If a homeowner is faced with a small, let’s say six foot square patch job, just replacing some missing shingles, there is no need to pull a permit.” He said defining a simple patch job can be a sort of grey area, but if a homeowner calls his office, arrangements may be made for Dunn to drive by the home and talk with the resident.

But, in larger projects, like a full re-roofing job, the building permit is absolutely necessary and is one of the items that protects a homeowner. He said in most cases a legitimate roofing company will pull the permit associated with their contract with their client, the homeowner. Any full roofing job will require a building permit under the 2015 International Residential Building Code the City of Walsenburg operates under. In the area of commercial buildings, permits are necessary and work is defined under the 2017 International Commercial Building Code.

One of the issues found in Walsenburg and with older homes in many communities, is the number of actual roofs in place on a residential building. Dunn said if there are two or more layers of roofing on a structure, they would need to be torn off before it is repaired or replaced. There are other mandatory requirements homeowners should be aware of such as the inclusion of under laminate; an ice and water protective layer that is installed within 36 inches of the end of the roof, where water, ice and snow gathers in bad weather.

Dunn said during the construction process he will inspect the job at the midway point and when the project is completed.

Dunn said if a homeowner chooses to repair a small area themselves, they need to remain mindful they are liable for any damage that could possibly happen to a neighbor’s property or if a helper is injured.

Dunn stressed the importance of the consumer work only with licensed (to do contracting/ roofing work in Walsenburg) and insured contractors. “If someone offers to do the work, saying they don’t need to pull a permit, the homeowner should be suspicious,” he said.

Huerfano County Planner/ Code Enforcement Officer Steve Channel echoed much of what Dunn told the World Journal, but said there are some county-only requirements homeowners need to know about. For example, for homes located west of I-25 the county requires installation of an ice barrier, similar, but not the exact same thing as the under laminate Dunn described. Channel too, said homeowners need to obtain county issued building permits and a number of people have already done that. Channel also does a mid-project inspection, checking the condition of the roof decking, materials being used and for proper installation. For information about Huerfano County Regulations contact Channel at 719-738-1220.

When a contractor pulls a city issued building permit they sign a letter stating they are licensed, and have both liability and workers’ compensation insurance. “That building permit really protects the homeowner,” Dunn said.

While the building inspector’s office in most communities in Colorado and New Mexico operate under one of the generally accepted professional building code standards, it is important the consumer contact the inspector’s office before having any roofing or other structural work done on their home.

Protect yourself

In the wake of most natural disasters or damaging weather-related events, unethical opportunists usually show up and try to take advantage of consumers who may have no knowledge of local rules and regulations. This may be as simple as paying for work up front and the contractor just disappears, to more elaborate schemes.

Stop Fraud Colorado, a product of the Colorado Attorney General’s Office offers some basic tips to avoid roofing scams: • Never allow an uninvited contractor to inspect your roof or to contact your insurance company directly;

• Say NO to contractors using high pressure sales tactics or requesting that you make an immediate decision;

• Before you spend any significant amount of money on a new roof, contact your insurance company yourself and arrange to have an authorized adjuster come to your home; and

•Obtain bids from at least three different contractors and check each one with organizations like your local Better Business Bureau.

Know your basic rights:

Colorado law requires that a roofing contractor MUST provide a written contract that includes: the approximate dates of service; the approximate costs of the services; the roofing contractor’s contact information; identification of the roofing contractor’s surety and liability coverage insurer; and information regarding your right to rescind the contract within 72-hours if your insurance company denies your claim, and;

A roofing contractor MUST include, on the face of the contract, in bold-faced type, a statement indicating that the roofing contractor shall hold in trust any payment from the property owner until the roofing contractor has delivered roofing materials at the residential property site or has performed a majority of the roofing work on the residential property.

For additional information visit www.stopfraudcolorado.gov.

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