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  • FIRST POST
    riva
    Glass Balustrade Shattered only 2 years after installation- Advice needed
    • #1
    • 1st Oct 14, 10:05 AM
    Glass Balustrade Shattered only 2 years after installation- Advice needed 1st Oct 14 at 10:05 AM
    I'm hoping that someone can advice me here.

    We had around 25k worth of glass installed in a major renovation.Nice quality, gorgeous glass with a company that was capable of doing single 6m wide sheets (or rather 2 sandwiched sheets to look like one)- this is just to give you an idea of the quality.

    Anyway, 2 years down and one night (middle of the night presumably) one balustrade sheet shattered (one glass of the 2 pieces sandwiched). This happened overnight- no obvious reason. Its in an area where we never need to hold it and don't really need to touch it (although that shouldn't make a difference as its a balustrade and meant to be held). I have 2 very girly girls ie no balls or rough play in the house. So basically, I can't think of why it should shatter esp as it happened in August- warm weather.

    Called up the company in panic as some bits came off and both my daughter and I bled from stepping on it. They sent someone to assess it after a lot of chasing up (4-5 weeks). Then waited another 4-5 weeks and I finally managed to get through today. Naturally they won't take responsibility.

    It states in their T&C that there's a 5 year warranty against glass defect which is what I believe this to be. It seem now that its up to me to prove this- hugely unfair.

    What are my rights here? I feel that if I'd agreed to pay for it from the start- as they very quickly suggested I do with my insurers- this would have been solved within weeks. Its now over 2 months.

    This is their advice to me straight away:
    1. The glass is designed so that if one skin of glass shatters the glass will remain in-situ and will, in the short term, be perfectly safe to use.

    2. You have taken the right action by applying some clingfilm to prevent granules of glass escaping.

    3. The glass will need to be replaced at some point, but sooner rather than later as there now no redundancy left in the panel if the other skin were to fail.

    4. You will need to advise your insurers of the breakage and we will provide them with a quotation to replace the panel.
Page 1
    • bris
    • By bris 1st Oct 14, 11:21 AM
    • 8,171 Posts
    • 7,126 Thanks
    bris
    • #2
    • 1st Oct 14, 11:21 AM
    • #2
    • 1st Oct 14, 11:21 AM
    I could have been an outside influence, you have no idea if something hit it or not as it's the reasonable explanation.


    To claim from them you will need someone with expert knowledge to actually be able to blame the glass, something which would be very difficult to do.


    You could also try and find out the fail rate of this glass, if it's a common fault there will be others with the same problem, if not you have to just put it down to an unexplained mystery and get the insurers involved.
    • Owain Moneysaver
    • By Owain Moneysaver 1st Oct 14, 11:43 AM
    • 8,937 Posts
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    Owain Moneysaver
    • #3
    • 1st Oct 14, 11:43 AM
    • #3
    • 1st Oct 14, 11:43 AM
    "Spontaneous" shattering of toughened glass is well known and is a result of the stresses caused by the heat-toughening process.

    If the glass is 2 years old it's unlikely to be a manufacturing or installation defect, which would reveal itself within a few weeks. It's possible the glass was damaged in your house several weeks ago but has only just shattered, hence apparently 'spontaneously'.

    http://www.precisionglass.com/tech/tgb.pdf

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spontaneous_glass_breakage
    A kind word lasts a minute, a skelped erse is sair for a day.
    • wealdroam
    • By wealdroam 1st Oct 14, 11:48 AM
    • 18,659 Posts
    • 15,598 Thanks
    wealdroam
    • #4
    • 1st Oct 14, 11:48 AM
    • #4
    • 1st Oct 14, 11:48 AM
    It states in their T&C that there's a 5 year warranty against glass defect which is what I believe this to be. It seem now that its up to me to prove this- hugely unfair.
    Originally posted by riva
    Why is that unfair?

    You are the one making the claim that the glass is faulty, so it is up to you to substantiate that claim.
    Last edited by wealdroam; 01-10-2014 at 12:38 PM.
  • riva
    • #5
    • 1st Oct 14, 11:49 AM
    • #5
    • 1st Oct 14, 11:49 AM
    So does that mean that every time I want to use glass, its a risk I simply have to take as there's no way I can prove or disprove whether its a defect within the glass? Hence, their warranty is really not of any good because if they could simply claim that its not their fault (even if it is as how would I disprove it?).
    Thanks for the responses, its very helpful.
    • sinizterguy
    • By sinizterguy 1st Oct 14, 12:25 PM
    • 1,144 Posts
    • 896 Thanks
    sinizterguy
    • #6
    • 1st Oct 14, 12:25 PM
    • #6
    • 1st Oct 14, 12:25 PM
    Since it's 2 years since install, it seems entirely fair that you need to prove that they did something wrong.
    • neilmcl
    • By neilmcl 1st Oct 14, 12:50 PM
    • 12,153 Posts
    • 8,925 Thanks
    neilmcl
    • #7
    • 1st Oct 14, 12:50 PM
    • #7
    • 1st Oct 14, 12:50 PM
    Will you house insurance cover this?
    • InsideInsurance
    • By InsideInsurance 1st Oct 14, 12:53 PM
    • 22,215 Posts
    • 11,383 Thanks
    InsideInsurance
    • #8
    • 1st Oct 14, 12:53 PM
    • #8
    • 1st Oct 14, 12:53 PM
    Same as any warranty yes.

    You need to get the root cause investigated by an appropriate engineer. If you say its a manufacturing issue then this wont be covered by your Home insurance as product defect and workmanship issues are both excluded.

    It'd be prudent to not mention it to your insurers until the cause has been established. If it is accidental damage then Home insurance may cover it if you have AD cover. If its a fitting or manufacturing defect then you'd have the warranty or a claim against the fitters.

    One the glass walls to our meeting room shattered last month when no one was in it, it'd been up for about 9 months but in that case all layers failed and a 8' by 5' sheet of glass ended up as small cubes on the floor. I know Facilities were having a lot of people up to investigate why it failed as it wasnt a cheap thing to replace.
    • pinkshoes
    • By pinkshoes 1st Oct 14, 7:23 PM
    • 16,117 Posts
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    pinkshoes
    • #9
    • 1st Oct 14, 7:23 PM
    • #9
    • 1st Oct 14, 7:23 PM
    "Spontaneous" shattering of toughened glass is well known and is a result of the stresses caused by the heat-toughening process.

    If the glass is 2 years old it's unlikely to be a manufacturing or installation defect, which would reveal itself within a few weeks. It's possible the glass was damaged in your house several weeks ago but has only just shattered, hence apparently 'spontaneously'.

    http://www.precisionglass.com/tech/tgb.pdf

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spontaneous_glass_breakage
    Originally posted by Owain Moneysaver
    Not necessarily.

    We had a velux window crack after a couple of years, and we knew nothing had hit it. It was inspected by velux, and as there were no chips to indicate it had been hit (glass should withstand quite a knock without breaking, there is usually some sort of evidence of impact, although this could be hard to find on a large sheet of glass!). Velux accepted it had cracked due to stress from being fitted badly, and replaced it free of charge.
    Should've = Should HAVE (not 'of')
    Would've = Would HAVE (not 'of')

    No, I am not perfect, but yes I do judge people on their use of basic English language. If you didn't know the above, then learn it! (If English is your second language, then you are forgiven!)
  • riva
    Bumping this again as I found it really hard to deal with so have not looked at it for some days. There's an obvious area where the glass started to shatter as evidenced by cracks radiating from that point- its about 1.5 inches from the top edge- no chips/dislodged glass. Bits of glass that came off were from the edges.
    They are simply ignoring us. The guy I spoke to said that he will send me information regarding how this could happen and never did. I think I'm just so stunned at their behaviour.
    I don't think its installation but believe it may be a defect in the glass, the guy himself said that its possible if there's the tiniest bubble. What's the warranty for? As far as I'm concerned, it seems like its a win-win situation for them as if the onus is on us to prove it- very hard and costly- even if it is the glass, there is no incentive for them to admit to it. Plus I suspect I'll have to go back to them as its a bespoke piece and its riskier to use another person in case it looks different.
    Opinions?
    • hollydays
    • By hollydays 6th Oct 14, 10:25 AM
    • 16,568 Posts
    • 12,712 Thanks
    hollydays
    Do they belong to any trade associations?
    I found a different companies site and there seems to be quite a lot of information on there. At the bottom of the page are logos of various trade associations. Perhaps you could ring them and ask advice?
    http://www.guardianglass.co.uk/industry/
    Last edited by hollydays; 06-10-2014 at 10:46 AM.
    • lucy03
    • By lucy03 6th Oct 14, 11:10 AM
    • 470 Posts
    • 560 Thanks
    lucy03
    Bumping this again as I found it really hard to deal with so have not looked at it for some days. There's an obvious area where the glass started to shatter as evidenced by cracks radiating from that point- its about 1.5 inches from the top edge- no chips/dislodged glass. Bits of glass that came off were from the edges.
    They are simply ignoring us. The guy I spoke to said that he will send me information regarding how this could happen and never did. I think I'm just so stunned at their behaviour.
    I don't think its installation but believe it may be a defect in the glass, the guy himself said that its possible if there's the tiniest bubble. What's the warranty for? As far as I'm concerned, it seems like its a win-win situation for them as if the onus is on us to prove it- very hard and costly- even if it is the glass, there is no incentive for them to admit to it. Plus I suspect I'll have to go back to them as its a bespoke piece and its riskier to use another person in case it looks different.
    Opinions?
    Originally posted by riva
    It's possible that the company believes you have damaged the glass. At the moment you're telling them it's broken but won't provide them with an independent report as to what has happened. That independent report is realistically what you would need legally to be able pursue the matter. Perhaps they feel that you're refusing to get this report because they think you caused the damage.

    When you get this independent report you can then pursue the matter and it would be hard for the company to disregard your report unless they commissioned one of their own. By that stage they might as well just replace the glass then continue arguing about it.
    • paddyrg
    • By paddyrg 6th Oct 14, 11:17 AM
    • 13,114 Posts
    • 11,188 Thanks
    paddyrg
    I used to work in a bullet-proof-window (and other performance glass) factory and am a production engineer (with materials) by training. Glass is far more complicated than most people realise.

    Velux window is unlikely to be toughened glass, different thing altogether. If it cracked instead of shattering into a zillion pieces across the whole body of the pane, it wasn't toughened, just window glass.

    Toughened glass is heat treated to be in a state of really high internal tension - if you look at it with polarising lenses you can often even see the effect of that tension. This makes it tougher, but means when it fails, it does so dramatically. Small scratches (and I mean really small) can actually be the start of catastrophic failure. The smaller the scratch, the tinier the radius of stress at the tip of the propagating crack, the crack propagates through slightest movements including the expansion and contraction with heat (overnight, for instance). I think you've been unlucky - possibly a slight graze from something weeks before could easily end as this has.

    To use it safely, most places will laminate it using a soft vinyl layer (or several, depending on application - including the bullet-proof ones!), this is why it stays in place instead of becoming a mess. Any bits that do come out/off will typically be almost cubic in shape and so incapable of causing much damage to tissue, unlike shards from normal glass.

    Where does this leave you? I suspect you're probably unlucky, however it may be worth changing tack with the manufacturer and asking them if they can meet you part way and sell you a replacement panel at cost?
  • riva
    Quick and interesting update: we found out today that the company is insolvent as of August. Explains their behaviour as they were wonderful to work with before.
    Lucy03, I don't mind getting someone in to prove that we didn't cause the damage. the thing is they have just been shrugging us off as opposed to trying to find a solution together.
    It does seem to prove a point that guarantees for these service companies can mean nothing (feels that way for every boiler I've replaced).
    At least there's a sense of resolution either way. Anyone knows a good glass company?
    • paddyrg
    • By paddyrg 7th Oct 14, 6:12 PM
    • 13,114 Posts
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    paddyrg
    http://www.pilkington.com/en-GB/uk Pilkington have a 'find a supplier' thing on their site, may be worth a try.

    Pilkington invented float glass, which is why modern window glass is flat, not like you get in old windows where it has ripples looking like lenses you can see when you move your head with older glass. Irrelevant fact for you.
  • riva
    paddyrg, that's for that titbit- I actually love info like that : )
    • paddyrg
    • By paddyrg 8th Oct 14, 12:32 PM
    • 13,114 Posts
    • 11,188 Thanks
    paddyrg
    Oh good - they floated it on molten tin (hence 'float' glass), so it had a flat surface compared with the rolled glass which was never fully flat :-)
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