I recently got called to do a wind mitigation for a past client who was replacing his roof in Hollywood Florida. During the roof replacement he decided to have his roof fortified by adding hurricane straps. This was an older home, built-in the 1960’s, and by insurance definition, it only had toe-nails, which did not qualify him for mitigation discounts. He sent me pictures and asked me to make a trip to the property. His main goal was to lower his insurance rate.
After looking at the pictures I told him there was not need to go to his house. The straps that were installed were done completely wrong. Whoever was installing these straps did not pull a permit, and there was not engineering report. Per the Florida Building Code any alterations t the truss system of the structure must be designed by a registered design professional.
2010 Florida Building code, Building: 2303.4.5 Alterations to trusses.
Truss members and components shall not be cut, notched, drilled, spliced or otherwise altered in any way without written concurrence and approval of a registered design professional. Alterations resulting in the addition of loads to any member (e.g., HVAC equipment, piping, additional roofing or insulation, etc.) shall not be permitted without verification that the truss is capable of supporting such additional loading.
The purpose of a retrofit is to strengthen the structure and give added protection in a high wind event, such as a hurricane.
The work done on this house does not provide any such protection. This is something that is happening all to often in our industry. People are paying for things that do not comply with the code, and thinking that they are making their homes safer, when in fact all they have done is give themselves a false sense of security and wasted money. Yes, they might wind up saving money on their insurance premium, but at what risk? There will always be an inspector that will blindly pass this as compliant to make money, just as the contractor did not correctly install an approved system for uplift.
If you are going to have your truss system retrofitted, please find a competent contractor that will follow the rules. Permits should be pulled and must be engineering documents. This will cost more than the way this roof was done, but you will be safe in a high wind event. Also, if those straps pull off, and it can be determined that they were incorrectly installed, this could affect your insurance claim.
Posted by Bill Siegel. Florida Home Inspection Team Inc. 305-490-2513 (Home inspector Miami Fl)