Metal-roofs plan returns to board

A proposed Monroe County ordinance on metal roofs returns to the County Commission today.
A proposed Monroe County ordinance on metal roofs returns to the County Commission today. Keynoter

State law may need to change if Monroe County aims to impose its proposed rule on mandatory metal roofs.

Monroe County commissioners, meeting today at Key Largo’s Murray E. Nelson Government and Cultural Center, will again review a draft ordinance that would require traditional homes and structures to replace damaged or deteriorated roofs with metal instead of less-expensive shingles.

Assistant County Attorney Steve Williams noted in a report to commissioners that state law allows requiring upgrades to building standards, but the law cautions that upgraded requirements must not discriminate “against materials, products or construction techniques of demonstrated capabilities.”

In addition, Florida law provides that factory-built modular homes will be certified under a state standard, and not subject to more stringent local building codes.

“The limitations [cited in the report] impair the county’s ability to simply mandate that every roof in the county be made a metal roof,” Williams wrote. “Moreover, the prohibition on applying local requirements to manufactured buildings ... prohibits the county from applying such an ordinance to new manufactured homes.”

The proposed change to the local building code was written to help owners who want to replace roofing severely damaged by Sept. 10’s Hurricane Irma with stronger metal roofs, considered by many building experts to be the preferred choice in storm-prone areas like the Florida Keys.

If approved retroactively to early September, windstorm-insurance policyholders with the state’s Citizens Property Insurance Corp. likely would qualify to have their Irma-damage roofs replaced with more costly metal roofs at the insurer’s expense.

If the proposal becomes law, many other Keys homes also would be required to adopt the metal standard during replacement of aging roofs, which would raise costs for the owners. Metal roofs also would be required for new homes.

The metal-roof ordinance drafted by the county’s legal staff was delayed last month, when representatives of national roofing and housing-material associations contended the county’s proposed requirement for a metal “standing seam” roof does not account for alternative metal roofs, or improved shingles designed to withstand higher wind speeds.

Williams wrote that Monroe County may be able to adopt the metal-roof law if it can make a case at the state level to show it is “applicable to replacement and/or repairs of roofs that were damaged by Irma, if there is sufficient evidence to support a determination that shingle roofs are incapable of surviving intact during a major hurricane.”

Commissioners will be asked to decide if they want to move forward on the ordinance, and also “seek a legislative change to remove the restrictions on adopting a local requirement for roof repair, replacement and new construction.”

The metal-roof hearing is scheduled to begin around 3 p.m.

Kevin Wadlow: 305-440-3206