Building codes were reviewed and revised after devastating hurricanes in Florida. These changes also affected roofing standards.
Before the changes, if 25 percent of a roof was damaged, it had to be replaced to comply with the code. This requirement is known as the 25% replacement rule.
Keeping up with the latest Florida roofing laws is crucial for homeowners and professionals who perform roofing work. This article will discuss some of the most important ones.
Roofing Material Requirements
The Florida building codes contain specific stipulations that roofing contractors must follow when installing a roof in this storm-prone state. These regulations protect property owners from leaks and other problems resulting from faulty or ineffective construction.
For example, the code dictates that any high-velocity hurricane zone (HVHZ) building must use specified roofing materials. These materials include a variety of roof coverings, such as shingle, clay tile, and concrete tile. The roofing materials must be installed with precise techniques. These techniques include the proper way to install flashing and underlayment.
Another critical regulation involves the 25 percent rule. This rule stipulates that if more than 25 percent of the roof must be repaired, replaced, or recovered within 12 months, the entire roof must be replaced. This rule is essential for buildings in HVHZ, such as Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. Recent changes in the code, enacted by SB4, have made it easier for insurance companies and homeowners to meet this requirement after a storm or other damaging event.
Roofing Permit Requirements
Whether or not you need a permit for roofing work depends on your location and job scope. Minor repairs that do not affect the structure of a roof may not require a permit, while licensed roofing contractors must do extensive replacements.
Buildings in Florida must comply with the building code regulations. In the case of roof repairs, replacements, or recoveries exceeding a quarter of the roof within a year, it is required to meet the current code. Failure to comply with this regulation may result in severe consequences. This “25% rule” can lead to disputes between homeowners and insurance companies over who pays for the new roof.
The requirements for roofing underlayment on buildings with wooden roof decks have been updated in the 2020 Florida Building Code, 7th Edition, to significantly improve their resistance to hurricane-force winds and water infiltration during a storm for residential and commercial buildings. These changes include new underlayment thicknesses, lapping systems, and fastening requirements. Some of these changes are intended to reduce insurance claims by limiting the number of times shingles must be replaced during a restoration.
Roofing Inspection Requirements
The Florida Building Code, 7th Edition, states that repairs or reroofing “shall comply with the requirements of Chapter 6.” If you live in an area considered a flood hazard zone, you may need proof of your roof’s condition to obtain a homeowner’s insurance policy. A certificate from a qualified home inspector or roofer is one acceptable form of evidence.
Other requirements include a roof-in-progress inspection when the contractor is on-site and a final inspection when the roof assembly is complete. The final inspection includes examining the roofing materials, including shingles, tile, or metal, and looking for wood rot, water damage, and insect infestations.
The Florida Roofing Association has been pushing for tweaks to its roofing laws to reduce homeowners’ insurance premiums. Specifically, they want to change code language that requires the replacement of a roof or roof section if the new shingles cannot match those of the existing roof.
Roofing Contractor Requirements
The roofing codes are much stricter than those in other parts of the country because of the frequent severe weather events, including hurricanes and tornadoes, that strike the state. These codes aim to minimize the damage caused by intense storms. They also lay out precise requirements for roof construction methods and materials.
Metal electrical conduits must be encased in concrete or supported above roof decking as mandated by the codes to guarantee safety during reroofing operations. Also, in high-velocity hurricane zones (Miami-Dade and Broward counties), shingle roofs must be of a particular design to reduce the risk of blow-off.
Those who want to become roofing contractors must pass the state licensing exam and meet local licensing requirements, such as having passing credit scores and sufficient business insurance. In addition, they must be able to show proof of financial responsibility and pass a background check before applying for their license.