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By Joyce Jay

We might be talking about the May hail storm until next May. It has already been described as the “worst ever” or “a doozey,” and many questions have arisen from homeowners as well as contractors about City of Wheat Ridge processes related to building permits and inspections. Ultimately, the city works to protect the homeowner through established codes to ensure quality workmanship. Such codes are specifically designed for the Colorado climate and weather events that are unusual or considered rare occurrences in other parts of the country

After sitting down with our Interim Chief Building Official, Brian Tardif, we’ve compiled the following tips that might help make sense out of our rationale for some procedures as well as provide steps that can be taken to minimize any delays in roofing repairs.

Homeowner Tips

• Hire the right contractor – Ask for proof of insurance, city license and W-9 and testimonials from happy customers

• A license with Wheat Ridge ensures the contractor is aware of codes specific to Wheat Ridge and that they have been made aware of Colorado’s high winds, extreme temperature fluctuations, and snowfall.

• Check to make sure the contractor is doing the work and not a subcontractor. If that is the case, the subcontractor must have the insurance and W-9, so ask for that documentation.

• All contractors must be registered with the City of Wheat Ridge. Many companies are currently subletting roofing projects.

• Shingle delivery – sometimes shingles are delivered by a lumber company and placed on the roof. If piled in one spot, the load may be too much for the roof. Call the contracted company and ask that shingles be spread out to reduce the load and minimize the risk of a roof collapse.

• At the point when shingles are delivered, an orange city permit must be displayed in a visible location on the property. Work must not proceed until the orange card is located on the side of the home facing the street so inspectors can easily locate it.

• Make sure the property address and the address on the permit match. A few contractors have been using the same permit and moving it from property to property. If the homeowner has future damage and attempts to file another claim, without a permit under that address the claim will be denied.

• Once work begins, the City will perform two inspections:

A mid roof inspection.

• Inspectors observe issues that may need to be corrected: a drip edge, a protective ice and water shield, proper vent locations, proper attachment of underlayment, if needed, and shingle nailing patterns that ensure the roof stays put in high winds.

• If the mid roof passes inspection, inspectors sign the permit card and initial the mid roof section. Check the permit to ensure the mid roof has been completed and passed inspection.

A final roof inspection

• Ensures proper flashing is installed as well as boots and chimney crickets, and that any exposed nails are covered and sealant applied where needed.

• If passed, the orange permit card is removed and brought back to the City for filing. This is the documentation required for any future claims on the property for repair from damage.

Contractor Tips

• Mid roof inspections are required by the City of Wheat Ridge.

• Inspections are being conducted on the next business day following the request made online prior to 11:59 p.m.

• Sheathing inspections are combined with mid roof inspections.

o Sheathing must be nailed on all four sides with nails on the perimeter not more than 6 inches apart.

o The nails in the field of the sheathing must be every 12 inches on each rafter or truss with a maximum of spacing at 24 inches.

o The nails used must be a 2½-inch-ring shank. Please review the city website for more roofing specifications.

• When requesting a mid roof inspection, be ready for the inspection prior to calling. Do not call prior to beginning the project.

• In order to manage projects effectively, contractors should leapfrog roofing projects.

• Start one project and install up to 75 percent of the shingles. Submit a mid roof inspection request and start the next roofing project prepping up to the point of being ready for a mid roof inspection.

• This allows the contractor to go back to the first roof that has hopefully passed mid roof and complete the work.

o Once the mid roof inspection passes, the roof can be completed.

• A secured ladder must be provided by the contractor for inspectors to use. This ladder must project two feet above the roofline.

• All inspection requests must be submitted online on the City of Wheat Ridge website. Note: Inspectors need to focus on completing sometimes as many as 40 to 50 inspections per day without interruption. Please no phone calls to inspectors.

This has been a challenging process as the city responds to the worst hailstorm ever to hit Wheat Ridge. This one certainly caused more property damage to cars, homes and businesses compared with the storm in 2009 that brought down many trees and branches. Many contractors as well as homeowners have expressed their appreciation for the way city staff has responded to what at times appeared to be an overwhelming workload. As a team they continue to be committed to providing the best possible customer service for our residents and business owners. Please know that your elected officials are keeping an eye on how to support the work of our staff as they continue to assist homeowners with roofing and other building repairs.

Contact Wheat Ridge Mayor Joyce Jay at 303-420-8533 or jjay@ci.wheatridge.co.us.