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    February 19, 2021

    Roof, plumbing and electrical repair tips after storms

    ice dam on a roof gutter with icicles

    Typically after a winter storm such as we have just experienced, there will be damages from leaking roofs due to ice and tree limbs, downed service lines and broken water pipes. The affected area will have an influx of contractors from other areas to help with the request for repairs from property owners. The following are tips you can use to make sure you find a reputable contractor and to help ensure the repair work is done well and meets minimum code requirements.

    Permits

    • A building permit is required in the City of Bryan for replacing a roof finish (shingles, metal roofs, etc.).
    • Electrical permits are required by licensed electrical contractors for electrical service repairs.
    • Plumbing permits are required for pipes in ground or inside walls (gas and non-homestead repairs requires licensed plumber).
    • These requirements are to make sure a contractor registers with the city and to require inspections to ensure work is safe and meets code.

    Check things out

    • Contractors can only place a contractor business sign on private property that has a valid roof repair permit.
    • Shop around for contractors, check references, and obtain at least three comparable “apple to apple” itemized bids.
    • Check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if a contractor is a member and check for complaints.

    Documentation and payment

    • Make sure you have a signed contract for the work and or bid proposals.
    • Do not pay the contractor for the entire job up front or let a contractor use your credit card. Make a small down payment only if contractor asks or payments are agreed to in a contract. Normally down payments are 10% of the cost of the job. If the contractor does not have the credit or cash flow to buy materials they will need, that is usually a red flag to keep searching for the right contractor.
    • Obtain copies of the contractor’s insurance coverage. Contractors should have liability, workers compensation, and property damage coverage.
    • Contractors are responsible for obtaining a building permit from the city for most repairs. Make sure the permit card is posted on your house or in a window visible from the street before allowing the contractor to start work.
    • Ask about the contractor’s warranty policy, always try to get at least a one year warranty for the work.
    • Make sure you have an agreed timeline for completion of the work with the contractor and it is in the contract.
    • Get everything in writing. Make sure you feel comfortable with the contractor. If you think someone is suspicious, don’t hire them.
    • Don’t make final payment or sign off on the job until you are satisfied with the work and you know that all suppliers have been paid. Material suppliers could place a lien on your property if not paid by the contractor. Don’t make the final payment even if there is just a “few little things left to do”.

    Inspections

    • A contractor is required to call for an inspection. The city will issue a green tag if the work is acceptable or a red tag when work is not acceptable, with corrections needed noted on the tag. The tag will be posted on the house by permit card.
    • A city inspector may need access to your attic to confirm the repairs and work. The city inspector and contractor will need to be coordinated with the home owner to arrange for photos of the work, video conference, or a time for an inspector to come out when the owner or owner’s representative is present to allow access to the home.

    Remember, most contractors are honest, and chances are you will hire a reputable contractor anyway. Employing even a few of these tips can increase your odds for a successful project and help protect you from the less than ethical or less than competent contractor.

    If you have any questions about permits and code requirements, please contact Development Services at 979.209.5010 or email building@bryantx.gov .

     
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