The Florida building code specifically deals with the different aspects of the industry, including roof installation, roof repair, reroofing, etc. All such stipulations can be obtained from the sixth edition of the Florida Building code, which came into effect on December 31, 2017. The other important roofing laws are included in Title XXXII of Florida statutes. Chapter 489 deals with the rules on contracting.
All the same, two bills have started serious controversies and speculations all around. They are Senate Bill 76 and House Bill 305. The disputes have set off about the recent amendment of House Bill 305. Another Bill that sets new building code in Florida is House Bill 7057 and Florida Statute 553.884.
Senate Bill 76
SB76 allows the insurance companies to decide the level of coverage depending on the age of the roof and the roofing materials used. The insurance companies can reduce the coverage offered to the roofs that have passed 10 years of their lives. Additionally, the coverage on the shingles roof can come down to as low as 20% of the replacement cost.
These clauses in favor of the insurance companies are considered to be unreasonable because a 10-year-old-roof is not considered to be an “old” roof because the longevity of an asphalt roof is considered to be 20+ years, and most of the other materials render longer lives to the roofs. So dropping the replacement-repair cost so low is argued to be excessive and unfair.
A second clause on this SB 76 is about the legal fees to the attorneys who take up property insurance suits. They used to be paid as per the contingency fee multiplier. However, now the attorney fees for such suits are calculated in the lodestar method. This clause stipulates that the attorney fee is calculated for the number of hours the attorney “reasonably” spends. The same is calculated on a “reasonable” hourly rate. This clause has put a damper on the acquisition of property insurance suits.
Yet another clause that has produced disquiet is the specification that the claimant should serve a 60 days’ notice to the insurance company when they go for a lawsuit against it. In the notice, the claimant should quote the expected demand, the assumed omissions on the part of the company, and the attorney fees calculated according to the lodestar method. It is a disadvantage to the claimants as the legal advice at these fee rates is hard to come by. The Bill has reduced the deadline to file a claim from 3 years to 2 years, which is a great disadvantage.
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House Bill 305
HB 305 contains specific instructions to the contractors prohibiting them from discussing the insurance claims with the homeowners. They are not to advise the homeowners on the insurance claims or interpreting the provisions on their policies. The contractors are further forbidden from offering incentives to homeowners for allowing them to inspect the roofs for insurance claims. HB 305 also limits the deadline to file a claim from 3 years to 2 years.
Florida House Bill 7057 & Florida Statute 553.884
This Bill affects the building cod of homes built in the High-Velocity Hurricane area. Stringent rules have been passed on the materials used and the construction details. Construction should be strong enough to hold out to strong winds and inclement weather conditions.
The reasons that have necessitated the recent amendments:
- Increased construction costs
- Increased insurance premiums
- Frequent insurance frauds
- Before Hurricane Andrew, Florida home-constructions were of inferior quality, and the roof inspections and repairs were rarely done, which made tweaking the building code a necessity.
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