Every contractor doing roofing or siding work in New York got a new challenge last month. NY General Business Law, § 770(8) and § 771-b set new standards for roofing and related work. To earn the right to collect on the job, your contract has to include new disclosures. The new law is fairly detailed. So stay with me.

Who’s Covered?

Every roofer working on an existing residential or non-residential building. But the definition of “roofing contractor” will be a surprise to many. A “roofing contractor” is any:

independent contractor, day laborer or subcontractor engaged in the business of roofing, gutter, downspout or siding services for a fee or who offers to engage in or solicits roofing-related services, including construction, installation, renovation, repair, maintenance, alteration or waterproofing

Nearly anyone doing work on the roof of an existing commercial or residential building is covered. For example, waterproofing, installing or repairing gutters or downspouts or replacing siding makes you a New York “roofing contractor”. New construction and demolition are excluded.

What’s Required of “Roofing Contractors”

This is where the new law gets down and dirty. A written contract is required. The contract has to include:

  • All the disclosures required in NY home improvement contracts.
  • The name of the contractor’s liability insurer.
  • Confirmation of at least $100,000/$300,000 policy limits.
  • Certification that the contractor will provide either (1) a certificate of workers' compensation covering all employees, or (2) A Certificate of Attestation Exemption (CE-200) from the Workers' Compensation Board.

Other Mandates of the New Law

  • No payment is allowed until materials are delivered to the job site.
  • Roofing jobs have to follow the plans and specs and have to comply with the applicable building code.
  • Roofing contractors have to pay for materials and services used on the job once the contractor has been paid.

Special Requirements for Insurance Jobs

  • The contractor can’t offer to pay or rebate any of the insurance deductible.
  • The owner has three days to cancel the deal after any part of the claim is denied. There’s an exception for emergencies.
  • No cancellation form is required in the contract. The deal is cancelled when an owner says the deal is off (by either registered or certified mail).
  • Roofing contractors can’t negotiate terms of settlement with the insurance carrier.

The effect of all this is to make every New York roofing, siding or waterproofing job a home improvement project, whether the job is on a residence, apartment, store or office. That’s a major change.

Until now, commercial contractors didn't have to make the pages disclosures required in home improvement contracts: mechanics’ liens, trust funds, progress payments, hourly pay, right to cancel, right to receive a copy of the contract, insurance coverage. Now all that is required if work includes roofing or siding.

There’s good reason to comply with the new law. Technical violations earn a fine of $100. The civil penalty for substantial violations is $250 or 5% of the contract price for each violation. Worse, New York courts won’t enforce a roofing contract that falls short of what the law requires.

It's easy to write contracts that comply precisely with New York’s new roofing act – or the law of any state and for any type of project. Have a look at Construction Contract Writer. The trial version is free.