You don't want a fiddler on the roof - you want a licensed roofer, several Lawrence contractors told city commissioners Tuesday evening.
City commissioners at their weekly meeting directed staff members to put together a formal proposal to add a new program that would require roofers operating in Lawrence to first receive a license from the city.
"We routinely run into complaints from people we're doing bids for who have had bad past experiences with roofers," said David McLaughlin of Lawrence's McLaughlin roofing.
McLaughlin represented seven Lawrence roofing companies who are asking city leaders to create a new system where roofers would have to receive a city license, pull a permit for each project they undertake and have their work undergo an inspection by city building inspectors.
Currently, the roofs of newly constructed homes are inspected by building inspectors. But roofs that are redone on existing homes go through no inspections, and roofers are not required to be licensed in the city. McLaughlin said that can create problems for homeowners.
"Sometimes these roofer may not have the minimum insurance needed," McLaughlin said. "They may come along some - let's call it bad luck - by opening up a roof and then it rains. The consumer takes the brunt of that mistake."
Commissioners said they could see a need for the licensing requirement, which would be similar to the system general homebuilders in the city are required to go through. Some commissioners said they particularly were concerned that consumers might be vulnerable following a storm, when demand for roofers is high.
"If consumers are at the will of the storm chasers coming in, the costs of that in the long run can be incredible to the homeowner," City Commissioner Sue Hack said.
But commissioners stopped short of saying they would create the new licensing system. Instead, they said they needed more information about whether it would require more staffing in the city's Neighborhood Resources Department.
City staff members said that was a possibility. They said there could be up to 1,000 reroofing projects a year that could require inspections.
Commissioners likely will decide whether to move forward on the licensing system as part of their budget deliberations this summer.