Barney12

When it all Goes Wrong - Second Opinions - Expert Witness

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So my window saga continues. In short;

 

(and I am keeping this deliberately vague so please don't ask me to expand in an open forum)

 

They leak.

The leaks are damaging my internal fixtures and fittings.

The installer has been unable to fix. 

The installer is being "challenging".

I'm well and truly fed up.

I feel I've reached the end of the "sensible negotiation" road.

 

So I guess that means things are going to get "formal". This leads to the basis of this topic and in the spirit of the forum feel it might be of benefit to others down the line;

 

What is the best way to obtain a second opinion? Especially considering such an opinion may form part of a formal claim? I'm no slouch, commercially minded and technically reasonably proficient and reckon I'd have a pretty good stab at putting together a claim. But, I'm not an "industry expert" or "experienced" in the supply and fitting of windows so potentially could be argued as not best placed to provide a genuine third party opinion.

 

Any thoughts, insights or experience out there?

 

TIA

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FENSA would be my starting point. 

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Looking at things from the end, how much weight would that third party opinion carry in a hearing?

 

If it's more for your own confidence/comfort, the difficulty in getting another party in the same industry to speak out against one of their own could outweigh the benefit their statement offers  - it is just an opinion, after all. Don't forget that in a civil case, evidence and submissions are judged on the basis of balance of probabilities, a far lower bar of proof than for a criminal case.

 

 

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16 minutes ago, PeterW said:

FENSA would be my starting point. 

 

I didn't think FENSA covered any install in a "new build" property? 

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I meant as an expert witness ..? 

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When you get a mortgage on a new property, they send a surveyor around, there must be independent surveyors that know about windows.

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7 minutes ago, PeterW said:

I meant as an expert witness ..? 

 

Ah OK, I must try and keep up :). 

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TBH, any competent surveyor should be OK, but might be worth hunting around for any that are known to have worked as expert witnesses, ideally in your area.   RICS have an expert accreditation scheme, so may be worth asking them: https://www.rics.org/uk/surveying-profession/career-progression/accreditations/expert-witness-accreditation-service/ .  Worth getting someone who has acted as an expert witness in court before, as if push comes to choice and it goes to court then it's a bit of a faff for the expert giving evidence to have to demonstrate their competence to the court. 

 

This has to be done for every case, but it's a lot easier if the expert can just state to the court that their opinion has been accepted on several previous occasions.  Even better if that opinion has been accepted in one of the better-known courts - for example,  the opinion of an expert that can say their evidence has been accepted at the Royal Courts of Justice is likely to be given more weight than someone that's only previously given evidence in relation to a small claim in a county court.

 

 

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If it's an installation fault then threaten to sue , give them a  time to correct the fault then get a solicitor involved.  The sooner you show you mean business the more chance of getting them to do remedial work imho .

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Have you established if the leak is around the perimeter seal or is it in the window system itself - such as around the glazing gaskets etc?

 

The former suggest prep, flashings, mastic / compriband / installation issues and the latter suggests manufacturer or damage during installation.

 

Can you get in a reputable window firm who deal with several manufacturers and ask their opinion, even if you have to pay for their time?

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1 hour ago, Barney12 said:

...

The leaks are damaging

...

 

Just in case, the seals round the edge are leaking , yes?

Or the manufactured window demonstrably leaks? 

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Can you define a realistic outcome that you wish to achieve as a result of getting "formal"? Be as specific as you can.

 

Work backwards from the outcome you want to decide on the course of action to achieve it. For example, do you want the current installer to go away but still pay you compensation sufficient to pay for a third-party to come-in, investigate and fix? Or are you looking for a way to pressure the the installer to come back and re-do the job again but properly? Or something else?

 

The answer will define your course.

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10 minutes ago, Mr Punter said:

Have you established if the leak is around the perimeter seal or is it in the window system itself - such as around the glazing gaskets etc?

 

7 minutes ago, AnonymousBosch said:

Just in case, the seals round the edge are leaking , yes?

Or the manufactured window demonstrably leaks? 

 

Alas I have instances of both. However, I don't want to get into the specifics on this thread. 

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2 hours ago, Barney12 said:

So my window saga continues. In short;

 

(and I am keeping this deliberately vague so please don't ask me to expand in an open forum)

 

They leak.

The leaks are damaging my internal fixtures and fittings.

The installer has been unable to fix. 

The installer is being "challenging".

I'm well and truly fed up.

I feel I've reached the end of the "sensible negotiation" road.

 

So I guess that means things are going to get "formal". This leads to the basis of this topic and in the spirit of the forum feel it might be of benefit to others down the line;

 

What is the best way to obtain a second opinion? Especially considering such an opinion may form part of a formal claim? I'm no slouch, commercially minded and technically reasonably proficient and reckon I'd have a pretty good stab at putting together a claim. But, I'm not an "industry expert" or "experienced" in the supply and fitting of windows so potentially could be argued as not best placed to provide a genuine third party opinion.

 

Any thoughts, insights or experience out there?

 

TIA

You speak of the installer, what about the manufacturer? Would they send out a rep or technical guy to confirm the windows are not right and put that in writing. Why can the installer not fix them? Are they installed out of square or pinched or stretched out of shape causing leaks?

 

Where do they leak from? Can you identify the root cause of the leaks? You speak of an expert but you may be surprised that really you could produce a written document listing all the issues. If I bought a bath tub and it didn't hold water I suspect that a report explaining it didn't hold water from myself would, sorry, hold water! However, if the issue was at a coupling installed by a plumber then you need to ascertain did the plumber stuff it or is the fitting faulty. This may take a bit more knowledge to confirm where the fault lies and yes you may need expert help. 

 

I'd write it up like a professional snagging document - just list each issue and give it a number - then write a conclusion listing any possible causes for these leaks, however, do not shoot yourself in the foot, for example, if the windows were squint, don't mention that the windows have been pulled badly out of square, if you did this they might claim your window openings were squint and the installers had to work with the poor openings they had. So make sure if this does appear to be the case, that you word it such that they cannot turn it on you, you could say that packers have been used of incorrect thicknesses or something.

 

 

Edited by Carrerahill

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Did you take out legal protection with your house insurance policy? Usually they only pay out legal fees if they believe you have a good chance of winning. Claiming will also affect your premium obviously.

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Barney - Sorry if you know this but before taking any legal action you must make sure you have given the other party plenty of "opportunity to rectify". Otherwise the court will essentially send you away to do that. I'm sure you have but you need to be able to prove it. 

 

If possible get legal advice but would suggest two letters sent recorded delivery to their registered office:

 

1)  Give them a deadline to rectify a list of defects after which you will hold them in breech of contract and consider legal action. Needs to be a reasonable period like 14 days.

 

2) A "letter before action" confirming that the list of defects weren't rectified by the date in 1) and you now hold them in breech of contract. The following link is mostly about a small claims court action but it includes a list of things a letter before action should include. 

 

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/law-and-courts/legal-system/taking-legal-action/small-claims/making-a-small-claim/

 

Also in letter 2 you should probably state that the opportunity you gave them to rectify the defects has now passed. If you allow them to come back after letter 2 they will argue in court that the action is premature as they are still working with you to resolve the problems. 

 

Edited by Temp

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did the installer supply the windows or did you and he only fitted them 

If he supplied+fitted then he is the man you will take to court 

If you supplied you will have much harder job as installer and maker will blame each other

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I would approach the manufacturer first with a visit and ask them to rectify any seals “within” the window that are faulty, they will then give you a professional opinion on how they are fitted correctly or not.

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