Lawmaker pushing for tighter regulations on roofing contractors - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Lawmaker pushing for tighter regulations on roofing contractors

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Betty Campbell Betty Campbell
Phillip Bowman Phillip Bowman
Steve Riggs Steve Riggs

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A roofing company left an elderly woman high and not so dry. Experts said it's an example of why gaps in state laws leave roofing customers at risk.

Unlike plumbers, or electricians, roofers in the Louisville Metro area don't have be licensed to make critical repairs to your home. Now one state lawmaker is pushing for new regulations on an industry where big storms mean big business.

For the second time in six months, 81-year-old Betty Campbell's home is being repaired by roofers.

"I laid there the other night and listened to it drip," Campbell said.

"There's a gap around that pipe and it should have a storm collar on it," said Phillip Bowman, superintendent of GM Roofing, the company that stepped in to fix a number of issues left by a previous roofing contractor. "And that's what keeps the water from running down that pipe," he explained to Campbell.

In spring 2013, her insurance company paid the Chateau Roofing Company $6,130, including the $1,000 deductible out of her own pocket, to fix damage from a hail storm. Campbell said Chateau's work started leaking almost immediately and the company never came back to fix the problems before cleaning out their local office and leaving town.

Multiple calls to the company have not been returned.

"It's a shame that this stuff happens but it does," Bowman said. "It happens all the time."

Bowman heard about Campbell's situation and over the weekend, his crew volunteered to repair the problems - some she knew about and some she didn't, including a loose furnace pipe left behind in the attic, possibly leaking poisonous carbon monoxide gas into her home.

"Over time that can get real bad," Bowman said. "There could be one morning she just doesn't wake up."

State Representative Steve Riggs, who represents southeast Jefferson County, said the only way to protect homeowners like Campbell is stricter regulations.

"It all goes back to consumer protection," Riggs said. "Almost everybody lives under a roof. And if you live under a roof you have to be concerned is it being done professionally and properly."

Riggs is drafting a bill that would require roofers in Kentucky be licensed, forcing roofers to have bonding, insurance and follow the Kentucky Roofing Contractors Association code of ethics.

"Basically we fix things where people come to us and say fix 'em," Riggs said. "So that's just happened recently because of all the storms we've had in Kentucky."

Riggs plans to bring his bill to the floor when the legislature reconvenes in January. If all goes well, the new rules could be in place by next summer.

That's too late for Campbell, who had to rely on the kindness of GM Roofing, to repair her broken trust in the industry.

"It's nice to know you and know you're an honest person," she told Bowman.

The web site Roof Help said 25 states already have some type of roofing license requirements in place. Like Kentucky, Indiana is one of the states that does not.

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