Franklin Bennett, a leading manufacturer of glass-reinforced polyurethane roofs, has recently made headlines for its high-profile lawsuit against the city of Austin over the city’s failure to adequately protect its roofs.
In the suit, Bennett claimed that its product was superior to its competition and that Austin’s ordinance was “arbitrary and capricious.”
According to Bennett, the ordinance was meant to prevent the city from developing and installing a building without adequate protections for its roofing.
Austin was told that “no one is building with the same roofing material as others,” Bennett wrote in a statement.
It’s an unfair and unreasonable policy, and the city is taking immediate action to correct this policy, Bennett said.
A city spokesperson told the AP that the ordinance has been revised to clarify that it only applies to homes constructed after January 1, 2019.
The city said it will also issue guidelines to help homeowners install a roof.
Bennett said it believes the city has made some progress in protecting its roof but has not yet acted on the lawsuit, and has hired an outside firm to study the issue.
The company, The Institute for Structural Design, is expected to complete its findings by the end of June, Bennett’s attorney, Robert Hirsch, said in a written statement.
Bryan Miller, executive director of the Texas Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said he’s not surprised by the suit but is disappointed that the city hasn’t acted on it.
Miller said the city needs to follow through with its policies to ensure Austin residents have the right roofing materials.
The lawsuit stems from a lawsuit that the Texas Department of Transportation filed in January 2017, alleging that Austin violated federal environmental laws when it didn’t include a minimum requirement of “fair and adequate” roofing to ensure it had adequate protection for residents in the city.
The lawsuit accused the city and its contractors of “failure to adequately plan and develop the installation of new and existing roofing products and materials, as well as the proper design, construction and installation of roofing systems.”
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.
The AP is not naming the city because the lawsuit has not been settled.