Along with Disney World, swampland, and brightly colored oranges, Florida is known for its humid subtropical climate that maintains warm to sweltering temperatures throughout the year. Combine these atmospheric conditions with the state’s location jutting just off of the southeastern region of the United States, and you have a perfect recipe for regular tropical storms, floods, and hurricanes. And while this may be great for avid storm chasers, it can be extremely detrimental for roofing contractors.
To learn more about how Florida weather affects your roofing contracts, continue reading. To speak with a roofing attorney in Florida about any of the issues laid out in this article, give us a call at 1 (866) 259-1894 or fill out our quick contact form.
Heat and Weakened Roofing Materials
Prior to beginning work on any roofing project for the day, you should check your local weather service for the heat index and review your guidelines for the maximum heat index that it’s safe to work in. Not only can these high temperatures lead to heatstroke and exhaustion in your employees, but high humidity levels can also make it nearly impossible to get shingles to adhere properly to the roof. The faster the adhesive dries out because of the heat, the more likely that your shingles cannot be properly installed and will be torn off by the next thunderstorm.
If that wasn’t enough, heat also causes materials to expand, meaning that wood roof rafters, roof decking, and roofing joints can stretch and break as a result. Additionally, without resistant materials like clay tiles or metal panels, thermal energy can decay your roof coatings and create extra work for the HVAC systems. To avoid being held responsible for heat-related injuries and similar problems with the installation of roofing materials, it would be in your best interest to lay out explicit guidelines for working in extreme temperatures in your contract. For any assistance drafting, reviewing, or negotiating your next roofing contract, reach out to a roofing lawyer.
Hurricanes and Extensive Delays
While hurricanes and severe tropical storms in Florida may represent a silver lining for those looking to cash in on repair and reconstruction jobs, such natural disasters also cause extensive disruptions and delays to roofing projects that were underway prior to the storm rolling in. Even after something as seemingly minor as a torrential downpour means that roofing contractors must wait for all of the moisture to dry up so that the roofing materials can be properly attached and sealed. When something as serious as a hurricane comes through the area, you could face anything from changed conditions to supply and demand issues.
When the demand for roofing materials skyrockets after thousands of intact homes are suddenly in need of a new roof, it can have a significant impact on the availability of common roofing materials and lead to delays in shipping as more and more materials are put on backorder. If any factories sustain damage during this time, then the backlog becomes even greater. This, of course, doesn’t even begin to account for the reduction in labor productivity and the possibility that the hurricane enabled the release of hazardous materials. Even the smallest amount of rainwater intrusion following flooding could leave you with mold contamination throughout the project site. If you need any assistance with properly documenting damage arising from a hurricane, don’t hesitate to reach out to a roofing attorney.
Arm Yourself With a Force Majeure Clause
The general rule is that if the contract does not have specific procedures for weather delays, then the contractor will be held responsible for such delays. To counteract this, your contract should have a provision in place which removes liability for unforeseen and controllable events, such as extreme weather, and dictates what happens to performance should this event restrict workers from fulfilling their contractual obligations. These types of provisions are known as force majeure clauses and cover a number of common natural disasters as well as certain man-made events, such as terrorism, strikes, explosions, and military disturbances. Essentially, this clause accounts for anything that could not be anticipated while drafting the contract but still impedes progress on the project.
Categorizing weather delays as excusable allows roofing contractors additional time to complete their obligations under the contract without recouping additional costs incurred due to the delay. This is to protect all project participants, including the owner, who may also be facing additional costs because of the delay. To make sure that the extreme weather event can be properly categorized as excusable, it must meet certain requirements, such as reasonable anticipation. If you begin work at the peak of hurricane season and your project is subject to damage from a routine tropical storm, this may be considered reasonably anticipatable. To speak with a roofing attorney in Florida who can help you add a force majeure clause and otherwise limit risk throughout your roofing contracts, contact Cotney Construction Law today.