Can Your Porch Hold Up to a Hurricane?

floridascreenbldrsHomeowners in Palm Beach, Florida are getting a rude awakening when it comes to their oversized screen doors and porches. While many homeowners built the screened-in rooms to enjoy the mild weather and beautiful views, they porches may have to be altered or even removed in the near future.

Palm Beach County has begun revoking building permits issued to Florida Screen Builders Inc. contractor Rene Mario Cantin. The permits specifically apply to structures built between 2007 and 2014. Supposedly, the designs submitted at the time of permit application were subtly altered in a way that may have resulted in decreased safety.

Palm Beach County alleges that Cantin removed pieces and used smaller components, making the structures susceptible to damage from severe wind conditions. The county complaint states that the designs are “a clear misrepresentation of the facts.” The designs were submitted to the county as “exact copies” from approved guidebooks, though the county later determined that they had been altered, possibly to reduce construction costs.

“Screens need to be specifically built to withstand the winds that are common on beach properties, standard screen will not work in that setting,” says Frank Kerski from Screenex. “That’s why we have a screen created just for high wind applications. Always check with your screen provider to determine if they guarantee their screens will stay in their track during high winds.”

Cantin claims that he was unaware of the paperwork mix-up, telling WPTV that a subcontractor had been responsible for submitting the designs.

“He was just trying to conserve paper trying to keep a sixty page document down to a forty pages. That’s all. The detail didn’t change.”

Cantin went on to state that he used stronger connections and extra bracings when building the porches and oversized screen doors, making his structures stronger than the guidelines require them to be.

A hearing is scheduled for May 11 for the county to decide what to do about the situation. Palm Beach County wants to revoke Cantin’s privilege to file permits and encourages concerned homeowners to file with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. It is unlikely that further action will be taken before the hearing on May 11.