Long waits for Cape Coral permits upsetting roofing company customers

Reporter: Samantha Johns
Published: Updated:

People are giving a roofing company negative reviews after they say it’s taking the roofer too long to get the work done. The roofing company in Cape Coral said it’s not their fault.

Even before Ian hit, Cape Coral permits were hard to come by.

Blue tarps are still everywhere in Cape Coral one hundred days after Hurricane Ian.

Since the storm, the city said it had processed emergency permits as quickly as possible. The goal was to get roofers like Tyler Forrey straight to work.

“The first three weeks our office was destroyed water got in it. So we had to move to another office, you know, moving supplies, one of our warehouses, we lost the entire roof on that,” Forrey said.

Even through all of that, Forrey and his team at Roof RX remained on the job, averaging 35 to 45 roof repairs a week.

They would like to do more, but they can’t. Forrey blames the wait on the permits.

“They’re getting very, very upset. People are calling the office. We’re getting 100 phone calls a day, people that want to know when the roof is gonna get done,” Forrey said.

Now angry would-be customers are not just calling, they’re also posting bad reviews online.

Forrey said it’s frustrating because getting a permit is out of his control.

“It’s just it’s impossible to get to every single roof in every single house, no matter how hard we all try,” he said.

But, Forrey doesn’t blame the City of Cape Coral. He knows as many calls as he receives each day, they do, too.

His biggest ask is that people keep their patience. The City of Cape Coral’s permit counter is always a busy place.

Even with no days off, Forrey and his team can only get to 40 homes per week, and scheduling those 40 homes is complicated. A permit must be approved before Forrey’s team can go to work, and that’s not the only hold-up.

“A lot of people are switching to metal roofs now. And it was taking ten days to get a metal order. Now, sometimes it can take two months to get a certain kind of metal,” said Forrey.

Potential customers don’t want to hear it. Between calling every day and posting bad reviews online, they want action.

Forrey said the city permitting office needs more people. “I can’t imagine the stress of those people working at the city building, and when you go down to the city, you know, try and treat them with a little bit of respect.”

If you need a permit in Cape Coral and have not yet applied for one, the city launched a virtual queue this week. That way, you don’t need to stand in line at city hall.

Melissa Mickey, communications manager for Cape Coral, reached out to WINK News with the following information:

“Since Hurricane Ian, the City has seen unprecedented permitting activity due to Hurricane Ian damage and necessary repairs. Since Ian, the City has received approximately 21,693 permit applications and has issued approximately 22,005 permits. There is not currently a delay in processing any Hurricane Ian-related permit, with the vast majority being issued immediately through the new “push-button permit” process available through the City’s Citizens Self-Service portal.

“The City has completed significant streamlining of its permit submission, review, and issuance process. Specifically, the City has 1) Suspended permit fees for all permits related to Hurricane Ian damage, 2) Launched 12 types of “push-button” permits, which are issued immediately after an application is submitted, with no need to wait at the City’s Permitting Counter, and 3) Provided Permitting staff with overtime availability to complete permit reviews and inspections after normal business hours, over the weekends, and on holidays.

“The City’s “push-button” permits, which include roof repairs, emergency electrical work, garage door replacements, plumbing re-piping, shutters, and awnings, among others, constitute over 50% of all permits applications received by the City after Hurricane Ian. Contractors who apply for these push-button permits are able to immediately print their permits and begin work.

“Prior to Hurricane Ian, the City had offered next-day inspections for roofs for over 5 years. The City estimates that the widespread roofing damage caused by Hurricane Ian will require over 50,000 roofing inspections. To address this surge in demand, the City has 1) Hired additional building inspectors, 2) Contracted with 4 different 3rd-party building inspections agencies, 3) Conducted inspections on weekends and on holidays, and 4) Transferred staff from other City departments to assist with inspection scheduling and documentation. The City continues to reach out to additional 3rd-party inspection providers to assist in this initiative. The City is averaging over 600 building inspections per day, with the City completing over 700 inspections most days.

“Contractors do not need to have the City complete their inspections. They can hire a private provider to complete inspections or submit an engineer’s letter to complete an inspection.

“All permits applied for since 11/14/22 have all processing and inspection information available online, and this information is available without an EnerGov CSS account at www.capecoral.gov/energov by searching by the address or permit number.”

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