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Failed SEHBAC Ltd double-glazed windows


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Hello

We have an issue with our Double glazing I will try and detail the issue we have.

 

We moved into our property in January 2017 and against our solicitor's advice (that double glazing warranties are not worth the paper they are printed on) we transferred what we thought was the warranty into our name. We now know that we only transferred the insurance on that warranty.

 

Toward the end of 2020 we were finding it  difficult to keep our living space warm and having checked that the trickle vents and windows were closed properly, we discovered that the wind was coming in through most of the cover strips on the windows and where it meets the walls and sill also light could be seen from outside through the cover plates, I confirmed this with a candle flame which bent at 90 degrees such was the draught, thinking that this was a small failure of the adhesive in the trim I wiped it back to see if any remedial work could be done and the trim came away, at that point it became obvious that the aluminium support and unit joining bar, had been installed off centre, so the trim had been butchered to make it just cover the gap but not enable a seal. 

 

15th January I contacted the installing company by phone who having found the original file informed me that the warranty was not in my name and I would need to pay £150 to transfer it, this was confirmed in an email, and that once paid, a surveyor would be sent to assess the windows and ensure that they had been properly maintained,  if they felt that work would be required, the parts would be obtained and the work carried out, I felt that without giving the company the opportunity to rectify the problem we could not move forward so payment for the Warranty transfer was made the same day.

 

19th January surveyor arrived to assess the windows and having looked at the problems agreed that it needed rectifying, he told me he would report back.

 

22nd January an email arrived at my email address with the previous owners names attached, informing us that the parts had been ordered and usually take 1-3 weeks, once they have been received we will be contacted to arrange a date to carry out the remedial work. Should the parts take longer than usual I will be contacted to advise.

 

15th March I emailed Holly Baldwin, SEHBAC Customer Service Administrator and asked to be brought up to date on the progress of the replacement parts, I informed her that to gain some relief from the draughts coming through the windows, I had taped over all joins and whilst this had offered some respite, the tape at times acted like a reed and it sounded like the wind section of an orchestra tuning up, which was not comfortable.

 

18th March I received a reply stating that having to work with skeleton staff in the factories was building on the backlog they were currently having, if they get a date from the supplier, they would be in contact, if not they would be in touch once they have received the parts to book a remedial with their engineer, they have had some progress getting orders in recently. I was thanked for my patience.

 

We are now 9 weeks since last contact, and 18 weeks since the surveyor decided that remedial work was required, and to exacerbate the issue with the winds we have had over the last few months it has become clear that the seals around other double-glazed units installed at the same time have failed and what we thought was household dust was in fact brick dust blown in through the gaps.

 

I would like to know what my next move should be, should I have all units independently assessed, should I approach the ombudsman. any advice would be gratefully received as we are spending extra to keep the property warm. and at this stage have lost a further £150.

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Sorry honeybee13 I was not expecting so quick a reply. Thank you also for your assistance with the spacing. you are correct that is the company that I have been dealing with.

 

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So do we now understand that the warranty is in your name?

Please can you tell us a little bit more about the warranty – is it provided by the installers, SEHBAC – and when you refer to an insurance, what are you talking about?

Do I understand that in principle the required remedial work has been agreed by the installers – and that they have agreed to be responsible for it and that it is simply a matter of the excessive delay which is concerning you?

Have you any idea of the cost of the proposed remedial work?

Have you confidence that the proposed remedial work will be carried out correctly and that it will address the problem completely?

Have you had any independent inspections?

Also, have you been provided with any assessment of the necessary work by the installers?

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Hello BankFodder

I do have a sales invoice from SEHBAC showing the warranty transfer and fee paid.

 

The warranty is a 10-year warranty provided by the installers at the time of fitting 0n the 27/8/2015, fully endorsed by the Glazing federation.

 

This is underwritten by QA National Warranties.

Section one:-  agrees to indemnify the policy holder in respect of making good a defect in the insured works where the contractor has ceased trading and is consequently unable to rectify the defects subject to the terms of the written guarantee issued to the policy holder.  A defect being defined as a physical fault or error in the insured works caused by defective workmanship or defective materials.

 

Section two:- covers breach of building regulations cover where the contractor has ceased trading.

Sadly, in this case I have no claim against the insurers as the company has not ceased trading.

 

The installers have agreed that there is remedial work that needs to be carried out. The delay during the last few months has been annoying, especially as we are struggling to warm our living space to a satisfactory temperature without excessive use of the heating.

 

I have no Idea of the cost of the works required. 

 

You have obviously realised from the information that I have given so far, that I feel that the remedial work will not fully address the issues. From the comments made by the surveyor at the time of inspection, the work that needs to be carried out will require the windows be deconstructed and reinstalled, this to me indicates that the workmanship in the fitting was substandard and consequently gives me little confidence that any repair will rectify the problem, but will only be a patch job, unfortunately this will not be known until or if the work is carried out.

 

I have not had an independant inspection of the work carried out, and would not know who to approach to carry out this sort of inspection.

 

The installers have given no indication of the actual work required to rectify the issues.

 

Thank you for your help.

 

 

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So I understand that as they have not ceased trading, the warrant is not relevant to you.

This means that any claim – if it goes that far – is going to have to be on the basis of their negligence or breach of contract. Of course their contract was with the original owner of the property and in order for you to enforce it as 1/3 party, you would have to claim third party rights under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999. This would be assuming that the original contract did not exclude your third party rights expressly within the contract. Let's hope it didn't.

I think before hassling the installer to get going, I would get an independent assessment done in order to understand exactly the extent of the problem and the remedial work needed to address the problem – which might include completely removing and refitting the windows – and the cost of this.

I think I would put this inspection on hand very quickly because if the installer suddenly gets the parts that they need and want to start commencing the work, you might be in a difficult position where you have to tell them to wait.

Put an independent assessment in hand. Do it quickly. It may incur a fee – but am afraid that you will have to do absorb that for the moment – and come back here when you get a report

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Thank you BankFodder

I think I should clarify that I did have the Warranty and its covering insurance transferred to my name, so the warranty should now be relevant to me.

 

I will however take your advice regarding the assesment in place as soon as possible.

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I'm sorry but I had gathered from what you posted above that the warranty really only applied if the company you are dealing with had ceased trading. Have I misunderstood?

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Hi BankFodder

I'm afraid I did not make myself clear,

The insurance on the warranty is only effective if the company ceases. The warranty issued by the installers to the original home owners and transferd to me after payment of £150 is a 10 year warranty commencing when the double glazing was installed in 2015.

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Okay so the warranty is in force and it is only the insurance cover which is a backup.

So what does the warranty say?

Is it very long? Could you post up a copy in PDF format?

Whatever the situation, I think your interests are best served by getting an independent inspection and evaluation as quickly as possible

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Hi BankFodder

I have looked through the original documents and the only warranty details I can find are.

 

All our installations are covered by a fully comprehensive and transferable insurance backed Ten Year Warranty, which is fully endorsed by the Glass and Glazing Federation of which we are members. A code of ethical practice was prepared by the Glass and Glazing federation with the office of fair trading and our membership ensures the highest standard of product and service are maintained. All our our contract terms and conditions are approved by the Trading Standards Office.

 

On their website I have found the following.

 

10 year warranty. our 10 year warranty speaks for itself. should you have any issues, we are at your service until it's solved

and

Warranty

It’s important to be confident of quality when you invest in a product for your home. Quality is at the heart of everything we do, which is why we ensure all our products are of the very best quality.

As well as choosing only the best materials, we also treat them to ensure they look their best and as good as the day they were installed for years to come.

We’re so confident about our products that will offer a ten year guarantee. We value our customers and care about our workmanship and good reputation. Under the terms and conditions of this guarantee, we’ll be at your service for the next ten years. This guarantee is transferable subject to an inspection/administration fee.

If you have a problem or service enquiry then please contact our after-sales service team on 0800 666 444 who will be only too willing to help you.

 

 

I have emailed the RISA requesting an inspection and am awaiting their reply.

 

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Thanks.

I certainly think that you should get the independent assessment. Hopefully your existing installers will step up to the mark and do a good job but it would be a clever idea to put them on notice by giving them a copy of the independent assessment once you have it and making it clear to them that you are not happy at all with the standard of work that was carried out and that you will be having a further inspection once they have completed their remedial work.

I think also you are entitled to receive from them a detailed schedule of the remedial work that they are intending to carry out. However, you will need to compare that against the independent assessment that you must first of all obtain.

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  • 2 weeks later...

An update of sorts! I contacted RISA with the intent of having a report carried out on the installation, having explained the issue, I was advised that at this point there would be no benefit in having the report carried out. the advice given was to write formally making time of the essence. I am in the process of draughting a letter to this end, requestng a breakdown of the remedial work the company intend to carry out and that the work be carried out within 14 working days of recipet of the letter.  any further advice on detail of content, brevity of letter or specific wording I should include would be appreciated. I can upload a copy of the draft if that would help personal details redacted.

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Yes please.  Post a draft

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Okay I've had a look at your letter.

You've been advised by RISA to send this letter. Why did you contact them? Are they some professional body of which the window installers are a member?

I'm concerned that the letter that you are sending is not really proposing a particular course of action. It is simply saying that you will consider them to be in breach of contract. I think you need to be much clearer as to what that means and what impact it will have on your future relationship with them.

Can you please tell us about Risa

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Thank you again Bankfodder.

 

RISA Are an inspetion and auditing company they will work for installers and contractors and also property owners. they provide on demand assessments for property owners on window and door installations. They carry out the inspection and complete a report. They will also act as expert witnesses in court cases.

Their own speil is, RISA is a UKAS accredited Type A Inspection Body providing independant and impartial inspection services to the UK fenestration and construction industries. we can help you gain a competitive advantage in quality and compliance. 

I have asked that the work be carried out within the specified time frame in this case 14 working days or I shall consider them in breach of contract. should I specify that should that happen I will be forced to employ another contractor to carry out the work at their expense or is this not practical. I have also asked for the breakdown of the remedial work this should inform me whether they are looking at papering over the cracks or are going to rectify the problem.

 

 

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Sent what is the fee for an inspection by RISA?

Although I suggested an independent assessment – I rather thought about getting a more informal one to begin with – either free of charge or with a small fee and then decide what to do from then.

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Sorry for the delay in replying I had to carry out childcare with my grandson.

 

No fee was discussed during our conversation. The advice was that from the information I had given him over the phone I had assertained the source of the problem,  all a report would do is confirm my own findings. and the associated cost of a report would be an unnessesary expense at this time. 

 

He felt that what was required was to give the company a push and suggested the formal "Time is of the essence" letter. and suggested that 14 days to carry out the work was a resonable request after this time.

I am not convinced that the wording of my letter is sufficient.  I notice that you feel that I have not made my intentions clear about future relations with the company,  I requested a breakdown of the remedial works the company intends to carry out and I have detailed that I require the work be carried out within 14 days, stating should this not be carried out in the specified time frame that I would consider them in breach of contract. 

Do you feel that I should say in that case, I would be forced to seek another installer to correct the issue and hold them responsible for the associated costs.

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Well I certainly think you should have a plan.

I think there are questions to ask yourself.
Do you have confidence in this firm to carry on and complete the work? Don't forget that if you fall out with them, then there may be a question of goodwill and a reluctance to actually see the job through to a satisfactory standard. Also, if the work fails later on in the life of the windows, like in a couple of years – will there be trouble getting them back again? When you get Windows installed by an installer, you are looking at a fairly long-term relationship.

Secondly, if you bring the contract to an end – do you know where you are going to go to have the work completed? I suspect that you don't at the moment and so before you jump, I think you should plan where you intend to land.

In other words I think you should have everything prepared so that you have a plan A/Plan B – and then you go ahead and take the action you want.

I would certainly want to have independent inspections – not necessarily by a formal body – but by somebody who can provide the service you are looking for to give their own view of what is needed, how much it will cost, what parts will be needed and how long it will take.
I don't think you know any of this at the moment.

You asked Risa for their opinion – and they said that you should make time of the essence. Fair enough – but you didn't even talk inspection fees with them. You should understand at least what you are letting yourself in for.

Making time of the essence is basically saying that you will huff and you will puff – and then…???

What happens then if you are in a position where they call your bluff and you then have to terminate the contract? You've set yourself no fall back position and no other route to get your windows sorted out.

To a certain extent, bringing a legal action against these people to recover your money is going to be easy enough – getting the windows sorted out is more complicated but you need to factor this in as part of the overall problem.

You need to take a holistic view – and I'm not sure that you are doing that

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Thank You BankFodder

I completly understand what you are saying. When i approached the RISA I had every intention of paying the required fee to gain a clear view if what was required, and was a little disappointed when I only received advice alyhough this probably did save me a substantial sum.

 

The reason for posting this was that I did not want to be in the position you feel I may end up in with my bluff called and a company unwilling to play ball.

 

I will see if I can find another person who is willing to look at the installation and let me know what they feel is going to be required to remedy the problem. 

and perhaps give the company one more chance to rectify the issue.

I do feel that the current time scale of almost 20 weeks since first notifying the company is unacceptable.

Thank you for your assistance. I shall report back hopfully with a sucssesful conclusion.

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Yes. Not only do feel that it's extremely important to get one – two with possible independent assessments of the problems and the likely cost.

Then you will be more in control of the information and you won't find yourself dealing with a company that maybe wants to blind you with science and you don't know enough about the problem to be able to understand if they are fully committed to solving your problem or they are simply trying to get away with doing the minimum.

It's worth taking time with this to prepare your position – and when you understand the problem from other independent people who either have no axe to grind – or else smell the possibility of a paying contract and also gaining advantage over competitor – then you are fully armed with unbiased advice or opposing views and that puts you in a better position to understand any arguments that might be put forward by your installer – and, let's face it, whose interests are probably no longer aligned with yours

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