Hiring a roofer

November 25, 2013

Tree Damaging House

The following message contains general information to consider when hiring a roofing company.

Consumers should check the reputation of a company before hiring them. Talk to friends, neighbours and ask the company for references. Also, look at past work that they have done. Make sure the company has a proper street address and phone number where you can reach them. This is particularily important if the roofer has approached you door to door or if you are responding to a flyer.

It is advisable to have a written estimate done from two or more companies. Remember that price is not the only consideration. Have the company provide you with the start date, completion date, a detailed description of the work and materials involved, details of the warranty coverage, if any, and the final cost. If the company accepts money in advance before the work is completed they must be licensed and bonded with Service Alberta. To verify that a company has this licence, call toll free at 1(877) 427-4088. In addition to this license, the roofer should also have a city license and consumers should call and verify this with their respective city licensing office. In Calgary call 403-268-5521, in Medicine Hat call 403-529-8135 and in Lethbridge call 403-320-3831.

Find out if the roofer carries liability insurance. A roofer is not obliged by law to carry liability insurance, so damage done to your neighbour's property by the roofer may not be repaired if no coverage exists. Ask the roofer for the name of their insurance company and their policy number and then verify it with the company.

You also may wish to check to see if the roofer has an account with the Worker's Compensation Board. The number to call in Calgary is 403-517-6000, or from Alberta toll-free at 1-866-922-9221 (outside Alberta 1-800-661-9608).

Any guarantee that the company offers with their workmanship should be clearly stated in writing.

Ask them if the guarantee is transferable to new owners, and who is to be providing the guarantee (ie. the manufacturer or installer).

Finally, you may want to check with the Alberta Allied Roofing Association. This is an association composed of roofing contractors, manufacturers of roofing products and other individuals working in the roofing industry. Their members do all types of roofing. Part of the mandate of the association is to see that the industry provides a consistently high standard of roofing products and installation procedures. To be a member of this association a roofer must be licensed, bonded, have an active WCB file, build and construct according to the Alberta Building Code and have no complaints on file. You can contact the Association at 403-335-0013 or 1-877-765-0013.

After the work has been completed, you may want to take some steps to protect yourself from a Builder's Lien. If the roofer does not pay his suppliers or subcontractors, either one can place a lien on your property in an attempt to receive payment. To ensure that you do not end up paying for the work more that once, you can hold back 10% of the final bill when the work is completed. This is the amount that you, as a home owner would be responsible for under these circumstances. Check your property title to make sure there are no liens in place. After 45 days, check the title again. If there is not a lien, you can be quite confident that one will not be placed, and you can pay out the balance of the contract. If a lien has been placed on your property, contact a lawyer for your best course of action at that time.