Re-roofing permits increase sharply after Harvey

Jessica Priest By Jessica Priest

Jan. 13, 2018 at 9:36 p.m.
Updated Jan. 14, 2018 at 6 a.m.

Edward Roberts, 52, right, helps another worker make adjustments to help keep the roofing paper from moving.

Edward Roberts, 52, right, helps another worker make adjustments to help keep the roofing paper from moving.   Olivia Vanni/ovanni@vicad.com for The Victoria Advocate

One only needs to look at re-roofing permits issued throughout Victoria to see that Hurricane Harvey didn't discriminate.

Since the hurricane, the city has issued 2,952 re-roofing permits or about four times the yearly average.

"Anecdotally, I've heard the south side has more damage, but that is also older housing stock, so I'm not sure it's because the storm was any worse (there)," said Julie Fulgham, the director of the city's development services department.

She said after the hurricane, the department temporarily extended its hours and pulled an employee from another department to help with the onslaught of permit requests.

That employee has now been officially transferred to Fulgham's department, which has not yet caught up with performing the required inspections of the new roofs.

Fulgham said some cities don't inspect new roofs, so roofers who don't normally work here may not have notified the city they completed their work.

"We can usually get to an inspection in 24 to 48 hours, and that time limit has definitely lengthened," she said. "Now, it's anywhere from three to five days depending on what we have going on."

Residents eager to get back to normal after Harvey sometimes cut corners that will cost them thousands, said Kelly Trevino, the regional director of the Better Business Bureau.

She urges vigilance.

"We ask that people report scams even if they didn't lose money so we can get that information," Trevino said, adding the BBB works with the Texas Attorney General's Office if it notices trends. "Knowledge is power."

To avoid becoming a victim of a scam:

  • Do not be pressured into hiring a roofer on the spot. Look up roofers on the Better Business Bureau's website, bbb.org, which rates businesses on an A-F scale. See the number of complaints they've had and how they've addressed them.
  • Ensure there's a physical address on a roofer's business cards that you can visit. Take note of the roofer's vehicle. Be suspicious of a roofer driving a small vehicle that wouldn't be able to hold materials or equipment.
  • Do not make a verbal agreement. Instead, have a written one that each party signs. Write when the work will begin, when it is expected to be finished and what materials will be used. This can be used in court if the deal somehow goes bad.
  • Do not provide full payment upfront. Pay with a check or credit card. If the work is not performed, your bank can see who cashed the check or you can dispute the credit card charge.

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