Metal Roof Requirements Unlikely to Pass in The Keys Post-Irma

Metal roofs could now become standard when it comes to putting a roof over your head in Florida Keys. A proposed ordinance that has yet to hold a hearing would require the less costly roofing like asphalt shingles to be replaced by the more expensive and stronger metal roofs, if passed by the Monroe County Commission. 

The proposed ordinance requires metal roofs to be installed as replacement for all destroyed or damaged roofs in most homes in the Florida Keys. This move comes after the post Hurricane Irma observation that houses that had metal roofs were better shielded than those with asphalt shingle roofs. While it is generally agreed upon that something must change to better shield the houses, this particular move has not been supported by the locals affected, who claim that the proposed ordinance tries to handle an extremely complex issue with a one-dimensional and ill-planned move. Moreover roofing professionals have claimed that one just type of metal roof can’t cover all the houses in Florida Keys.

Residents who had their roofs damaged in Hurricane Irma (or lost them altogether) have asked if there is a way to get some help from the government to pay to upgrade their houses from traditional shingles to metal. This would help them harden their homes and stay protected in case of any unfortunate occurrence in the future. However, the residents believe that all the houses’ roofing needs cannot be provided for with a one-size-fits-all solution like the ordinance has proposed. “There are so many problems with this [metal standing-seam requirement] that I could not possibly cover them in the time allowed”, said Michael Silvers of the Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors Association.

The concern also extends to the building contractors and their rates after Hurricane Irma. Locals claim that even if they were willing to upgrade to a metal roof, the exorbitant rates the building contractors are charging post- Hurricane Irma will prevent them from doing anything. The difference in the costs between metal roofs and asphalt-shingle roofs is substantial. Moreover, the requirement for metal roofs is also slated to increase the prices of new houses, hence making housing in the Florida Keys even costlier for the residents. Even commercial buildings are often constructed with flat roofs because the metal roofs are not deemed practical. Additionally, the windstorm insurers will also have to pay more for the costlier metal roofing requirement. The roofing representatives also claimed that the installers available to do the job competently are low in number. This is because of the nature of the metal roofing being more complex.

The Commissioner Heather Carruthers believes that the devastation caused in Hurricane Irma’s Lower Keys makes it clear that things must change. They claim that the ordinance has been proposed to get the homeowners to upgrade their roofs for more protected housing. They believe that the roofs that have been built with asphalt shingles are not sufficient to meet the latest standards requirements and have gotten even weaker with age. They believe that the roofs damaged by Hurricane Irma required a higher wind resistance. This ordinance, they believe, will help provide a higher level of safety for the homeowners. They claim that there is adequate evidence to suggest that that shingle roofs are not capable of withstanding impact in the case a major hurricane.

The material manufacturer’s representative and roofing-association executives have urged the board to consider other options.

Research has shown that metal roofs tend to have a much higher life span when compared to asphalt shingles. Their life span is higher by around 30 to 70 years. They have also shown the ability to better withstand impact damage and storms – and are also more energy efficient than other, less costly roofing options.

The law would to apply to manufactured houses that have regulation by the state. Existing houses that do not have substantial roof damage are also not required to immediately upgrade their roof, but will have to eventually get a metal roof in the course to maintain the house structure.

The ordinance draft reads that the repair and replacement costs of the destroyed shingle roofs to the proposed metal roofs will be taken up by the insurance providers and not the owners of the homes. The Assistant County Attorney Steve Williams pointed out in his report that that the law already lays out that any housing requirements must not discriminate against any kind of construction techniques, products or materials that have demonstrated their capabilities. However, the proposed ordinance seems to have overlooked this aspect. Moreover, the law in Florida required that the modular, factory built houses will be certified under state standards but will not be subjected to even more strict local building laws.

 The metal roof ordinance was proposed by Monroe County’s legal staff and was initially delayed as the national roofing and housing-material associations representatives contended that the proposed requirement for standing seam metal has overlooked alternative, more feasible and less costly options like advanced shingles that can better withstand high wind resistance. The Commissioners will now be asked if they want to proceed further with this ordinance and will also be asked to settle the decision of removing the restrictions on the adoption of local requirements for new construction, roof replacement and roof repair.

 

Citations:

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/florida-keys/article184093341.html

http://www.flkeysnews.com/news/local/article189493939.html

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