Archive for October, 2011

City of Abilene Texas Roofing Permits

What’s bad for the homeowner is turning out to be good for the city of Abilene Texas. Since the baseball sized hail storm hit on April 24th, the city has issued over 7,200 roofing permits. The city is also getting a boost from the 2% sales tax.

Additional Roofers in Abilene

Roofers are paying sales tax on roofing supplies, estimated at $50.00 per job plus putting money into the local economy. Roofers from out of town and local roofing companies are hiring additional workers to handle all the extra roofing jobs since the storm.

According to the City of Abilene Texas website from April, 24, 2011 to October 15, 2011, 7,282 roofing permits were issued and $371,417.20 in permit fees was collected.

BBB Lists New Roofers

Abilene has seen an influx in roofers, the Better Business Bureau knows of 79 new roofing contractors in the service area of 13 counties, 11 contractors are from out of state and 13 are new to the roofing business.

The problem the homeowners are having is too many roof repairs, and not enough roofers. They can’t wait for months or years for their local contractors to have the time to repair or replace their roof. The scammers and fly by night companies are taking advantage of the situation.

Watch Out For Scams

Local roofing contractors are warning customers of scammers that chase storms, get the money and then disappear. Shoddy jobs are also a problem, costing the homeowner sometimes triple the original amount to repair the damage made by inexperienced roofers.

Insurance companies are paying the claims, the homeowners and businesses are paying the roofing contractors who are in turn buying the permits, roofing supplies and paying their employees, who pay their insurance…and the city of Abilene Texas is getting a nice increase in revenue.

New Rooftop Solar Shingle

Dow Chemical and a Fort Worth Texas based Homebuilder D.R.Horton will be showcasing the new Dow “Powerhouse” shingle in a Denver suburb. Dow called its new solar shingle “a revolutionary new roofing product that combines the performance and protection of a conventional asphalt roof with an integrated photovoltaic (PV) system that powers the home. It is designed to install, look and function in a way that has never been done before.”

It is not clear how much the shingles will cost or how much energy they will create, but the company says the shingles will be cost-competitive and the total cost will be less than buying the components separately.

Low Cost Photovoltaic Cells

The shingle made by Dow based in Midland, Michigan, will unveil its new Powerhouse shingle at the Spring Mesa project in Arvada Colorado. The company says the shingles will be in a dozen other states next year. The technology from Dow Solar Solutions integrates low cost, thin film CIGS photovoltaic cells into a proprietary standard asphalt shingle materials.


Jane Palmieri, Managing Director of Dow Solar Solutions said, “Consumers reap the benefits of our innovation. This is about providing roof protection and electricity generation all from one product, with lower costs, improved aesthetics, easier installation and long-lasting performance”.

Easily Installed by Roofing Contractors

Roofing contractors are showing enthusiasm for the product since they don’t need solar array installation knowledge or special skills to install the shingles.

Roofing Company Gets Technological Boost

roofingAs companies from all industries strive to stay afloat in a struggling economy, many have turned to technology to increase profitability. Whether profits stream from additional online advertising or from newly created customer service systems, many roofers are jumping at the chance to ride the technological waves of advancement.


A New Era Of Customer Service

One roofing company in the United Kingdom has taken an old practice into new times. Weatherproofing Advisors, Ltd. has created an online customer service portal to help better serve their customers. As one of the UK’s leading roofing companies, Weatherproofing Advisors began to think of new ways to serve more customers while maintaining high customer service ratings.

The new system will allow customers to access all the data regarding their roof. The portal will provide customers access to maintenance data such as survey reports, roof condition index and engineer drawings of the roof.  Each customer has a private and unique portfolio that outlines the details of their roof and their roof repair history.

The idea was to bring roofing into the digital age, save money, make service more efficient, all while maximizing communication and service expectations with the customer. One of the first of its kind, the system is sure to benchmark the changes ahead.

Meteorite Hits Roof

A family in France was surprised to find a 4.5 million year old meteorite had crashed through their tile roof and was lodged in their attic insulation.

The Comette family (really, that’s their name) arrived home from their vacation and noticed their roof was leaking. When the roofer saw the hole in the roof he said: ‘You need to be Superman to break a tile like that! It must be a meteorite.”

Chrondrite Rock

The 3 oz. egg shaped meteorite came from an asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars says Alain Carion a mineral scientist. “The iron-rich celestial rock known as a “chondrite” was easily identifiable thanks to a black fusion crust that characterizes the crossing of the Earth’s atmosphere”.

Estimated 10,000 meteorites hit each year

A surprisingly large amount of meteors crash through roofs with incredible speed and force.

Although the expert’s figures vary, according to the British National Space Center, they estimate 10,000 football sized meteorites hit the earth each year.

Other Roof Hits

January 2010, in Lorton, VA a 308gram stone chondrite meteorite crashed through a dental office roof. In August 2006, a 25 ounce meteorite smashed a hole in a steel plate on the roof of a warehouse in Moss Norway. In 1954 a meteorite crashed through the roof of a house in Alabama. The homeowner was sleeping when the grapefruit sized meteorite fell into her bedroom.

Homeowner Learns Hard Lesson About Roofing

roof scamA homeowner calls multiple companies to evaluate her roof and provide a quote for potential services. She receives a visit from several high quality roof contractors, each providing a bid on the job. One company provides her with a document titled “Job Proposal” and asked her to sign the document to “verify receipt of the document”. To the woman’s surprise, the document wasn’t a proposal but a contract, and is now being sued for hiring another roofer to complete the job.

Sounds like the plot from a fiction story, right? Unfortunately, for one Texas woman, this is exactly what happened to her when she tried to shop around for multiple quotes.

Falling Through The Cracks

For every ten reputable and professional roofing companies, there is one unscrupulous company out looking to make easy money. Like the Texas woman, many people fall victim to these scams when they try and do what they thought was the smart thing: shop around for the best quote. In some cases, what seems like the best deal, really isn’t. In the case of the Texas woman, what seemed like a harmless document turned out to be a contractually binding agreement that now has her tied up in court.

This woman is experiencing the effects of roof repair scams that have swept many unsuspecting victims around the company, but your story doesn’t have to be the same. There are a few things you can do to arm yourself against non-reputable companies when searching for the right roofer:

  • Have another person present with you at the time of the evaluation and quote.This will give the appearance of having a representative on your side and make you less vulnerable to potential scammers.
  • Walk around with the roof contractor and ask questions about the roof repair or replacement job. Find out the details of the work and the workers that will be present on your property.
  • Ask for documentation of the company’s license and insurance agreements. Contact the better business bureau to make sure the company is legitimate and does not have any complaints filed against them.
  • Always check up on the contractor by obtaining copies of the paperwork but never sign anything unless you are ready to begin work. Even if the paperwork doesn’t specify a “contract”, a signature can make it legally binding if you aren’t careful.

“No Roof Left Behind” Gives Away A Free Roof

For the third year in a row Roofing Contractors, Ridgecon Construction in Shelby Township, Michigan, gave away a free roof to a family in need. Ridgecon owners Jay and Matt Elie, let the online community decide by casting votes for the families to receive a free new roof.

Single Mother Wins

Annmarie Earhart of Sterling Heights, was one of the three finalists in this year’s contest.  Earhart is a single mother of three who was about to lose the insurance on her home if she did not replace her roof.  She has been unable to work in her career as a registered nurse for the last 3 years since she was hit by a drunk driver.

All the supplies were donated and Ridgecon Construction came out to her home on September 24th to install the free roof. Ridgecon Construction has been in business since 1994.  The “No Roof Left Behind” initiative came about when the Elie brothers spoke to hundreds of homeowners who were struggling in the bad economy.

Good People

“I think what they’re doing is an amazing thing,” said Earhart. “I could never repay them.” Rosalie Gawrowski, Earhart’s mother, said, “I think it’s a blessing. It shows that there’s still good people in this world.”

Previous winners are the Brunicardi family of Macomb County and Debbie and Dave Hill of Sterling Heights.

Cheyenne Roofers

Roofing contractors in Cheyenne Wyoming are scrambling to repair thousands of damaged roofs. According to Bruce Wilson, the city’s chief building inspector, 830 permits were issued by this time last year and over 3,000 roof repair permits have been issued since the two July hail storms this year. He estimates as many as 5,100 homes incurred roof damage.

Golf Ball Size Hail

The storms on July 12 and again on July 24th produced golf balls size hail. Intersections were flooded with water and hail. Residents and city employees cleared debris from storm drains until the city snow plow and front loader arrived to clear the intersections. It looked like a blanket of snow on the rooftops and ground in the middle of July.

More Permits

Contractors are speculating there will be many more roof repair permits as some homeowners have not inspected their roofs. Roofing companies are expecting to be repairing the storm damaged roofs for the next couple of years. Homeowners are being warned to beware of storm chasers who come into town and scam people into paying for roof repairs that will never get done. As always, check with the Better Business Bureau, ask for references and get their brick and mortar address and phone number.

Roofing Contract Scams

Recently the Texas Attorney General ordered a Texas roofing company to refund customers money they were scammed out of. The Houston based Holden Roofing Inc. will be giving refunds to homeowners who signed contracts they were told was a free inspection of their roof, when they were actually signing contracts to do the repairs.  If the homeowners went with another roofing company, Holden Roofing would demand the homeowner pay a penalty of 15% of the total roof replacement costs.

Read Your Contract Carefully

Unfortunately, these are not isolated cases.  It just reminds us to read our contracts, and be careful what we sign.  If you do realize you made a hasty decision, the Texas Home Solicitation Act gives homeowners the right to cancel contracts within 3 days of signing.

Check Them Out

Sometimes it’s tricky to spot a scammer.  Holden Roofing targeted homeowners in storm prone areas.  If someone comes to your home and offers a free roof consultation, ask them for their home office phone number and contact the Better Business Bureau in your area to check them out before you sign anything or let them on your roof. Sometimes your homeowner’s insurance agent will also have a list of reputable and not so reputable roofers and contractors in your area.


OSHA’s New Roofing Rules

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), have new regulations concerning safety practices for roofers. Department of Labor recorded 299 deaths caused by workers falling from rooftops between 2003 and 2010.

The new directive rescinds the Interim Fall Protection Compliance Guidelines from 1999. Employers for residential construction were allowed to use alternative methods of fall protection versus the conventional fall protection. This new directive states the construction employees must comply with the Federal Regulation 1926.501(b)(13) and may no longer use alternate safety methods.

Federal Regulation 1926.501(b)(13)

From the United States Department of Labor website; “1926.501(b) (13) “Residential construction.” Each employee engaged in residential construction activities 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above lower levels shall be protected by guardrail systems, safety net system, or personal fall arrest system unless another provision in paragraph (b) of this section provides for an alternative fall protection measure. Exception: When the employer can demonstrate that it is infeasible or creates a greater hazard to use these systems, the employer shall develop and implement a fall protection plan which meets the requirements of paragraph (k) of 1926.502.”

Note: There is a presumption that it is feasible and will not create a greater hazard to implement at least one of the above-listed fall protection systems. Accordingly, the employer has the burden of establishing that it is appropriate to implement a fall protection plan which complies with 1926.502(k) for a particular workplace situation, in lieu of implementing any of those systems.”

NCRA Appeal

The National Roofing Contractors Association (NCRA) lost their appeal in court when they tried to challenge the new rule. In their suit NCRA stated that the directive must be issued as a new standard, because it subjects employers to requirements that they have not had to meet since 1999. “OSHA is overstepping its bounds because it doesn’t understand the industry,” said Tom Shanahan of the NRCA. “They’re making a rule that is making it, in many cases, more costly to roof and less safe.”


Some roofers are complaining that the added cost of the new safety rules has to be passed on to the homeowners. While other contractors are skipping the rules and are able to give cheaper bids to the homeowners. These contractors are willing to risk the fine of approximately $2,500 for non-compliance in order to get the roofing jobs.

Commercial roofers have already been using the directive required fall protection, but now we will be seeing more of the residential roof contractors doing the same. Another decision a homeowner has to make is if they will be paying roofers that follow OSHA safety practices or not.

Bad Roofers Leave Homeowners Facing A Lien

bad rooferRoof repair and replacement is costly business and as a homeowner it is your job to make sure the work done to your home meets the standards of your insurance company. Many people assume that once they hand over the check to the roofer, their job is done. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

What happens if the roofer skips out on the bill of materials used for the job?

One would think the roof contractor should be held responsible in this situation, but many people have learned the hard way just how serious a job being a homeowner can be.

The Bill Collector

One homeowner in Bennett, Iowa learned a hard lesson when he paid a local contractor to redo the roof on his home earlier this year.  Jeremy Miller paid $7,300 for the work to be completed, only to later be contacted by the roofing material supplier attempting to collect on the bill. The material supplier said the roofing company never paid them and now Miller is trying to resolve a lien placed on his home by the supplier, who states he is responsible for the unpaid bill.

Miller now faces two choices: (1) come up with the money or (2) wait to see if the contractor pays the bill and put his house at risk of further action under the lien. Not only does Miller feel duped by the roof contractor, but he feels bullied by the roof material supplier who is pushing to get the money they were never paid by the contractor. As the homeowner, Miller already paid the contractor and doesn’t feel he should be responsible for the roofer skipping out on the bill, but what other choice does he have.

Drawing The Line

This lesson was hard learned for Jeremy Miller and people in his situation, but there are a few ways to protect yourself from experiencing a similar tragedy:

  • Get a bill of sale or receipt from the roofer showing the materials were paid for before work begins
  • Pay your roofer at the end of the job or only enough to cover the costs of the materials upfront