Solar Installers asking to pay for installation of tiles they broke during installation

I installed a solar system on 23rd August. While installation the guys broke 20+ tiles and when they were about to finish the job, they told me to provide new tiles so that they can replace it. I, at the time had only 5 tiles which they replaced and they went away leaving my roof naked.
I arranged the tiles the very next day and requested them to replace it. Initially they agreed to replace it but now they are saying that they will charge $100 extra to replace the tiles.
I told them that i am not willing to pay this amount and then they told me that they will take the system out if i don't pay this amount.
They contacted me again today and told me that if i pay the outstanding today they will replace the tiles tomorrow. If i don't pay today, they will not do it.

Its just not making sense to me. What do you guys think?

The contract says "5.3 The Customer shall provide replacement tiles on the day of installation. If there are no
replacement tiles available at the premises, the Customer is to advise the Company prior
to the day of installation. The Company will take all due care not to cause any damage and
will replace any cracked tiles with the supplied replacements. If not provided the silicon will
be applied on the cracked tiles for the Customer until they can find their own replacement.
The Company does not take responsibility for any water leaks caused by cracked tiles."

Comments

  • +6 votes

    To me it appears to be collateral damage and paying the $100 seems to be reasonable .

    I can imagine legal proceeding and the costs/stress if it were to escalate that far .

  • +3 votes

    Read your contract. no doubt it would be covered in there.

  • +6 votes

    What do you guys think?

    old tiles are brittle and break easily. This isn't the fault of the installers, nor is it really yours.

    That said, either party are really at fault, and $100 won't be covering their TRUE costs to come out and replace the tiles, heck you can't even get a plumber out for that, and you might get a handy man out for $100.

    So just pay the $100, get your rood fixed and move on.

    they told me that they will take the system out if i don't pay this amount.

    Well you don't own the install until the bill is paid, so yes they can do that.

    • +2 votes

      I may pay it. but their attitude dosen't look nice :(

      • +1 vote

        oh I see you copied/pasted the contract 5.3, yep you didn't have enough spare tiles, you need to pay the $100 for them to come back or find your own installer to replace them.

  • +1 vote

    $100 extra total? Honestly I'd just pay it. If you wanted to argue, it's hugely gray because I bet your roof tiles aren't in great shape to begin with, some may have had pre-existing damage, etc. And the most important thing is still, it's only $100. And you'd have to pay a roofer much more than that to replace those tiles anyway.

    Check your contract to see what your rights technically are, but I think practicality wins out here.

    •  

      Its a new home. We have just shifted 2 weeks ago.

      •  

        Oh. Hm. Okay, so probably perfectly fine roof tiles then - it's still only $100, but the principle of the matter is going to weigh more heavily I bet. Up to you. The Contract is fairly straightforward though:

        The contract says "5.3 The Customer shall provide replacement tiles on the day of installation. If there are no
        replacement tiles available at the premises, the Customer is to advise the Company prior
        to the day of installation
        . The Company will take all due care not to cause any damage and
        will replace any cracked tiles with the supplied replacements. If not provided the silicon will
        be applied on the cracked tiles for the Customer until they can find their own replacement
        .
        The Company does not take responsibility for any water leaks caused by cracked tiles."

        They only have to replace on the day if you have replacement tiles. Technically they're doing you a favour coming back out, because you were supposed to have replacements ready on the day.

        • +3 votes

          I know. but breaking more than 20 tiles of a new build seems quite unlikely.

          •  

            @immu999: I've no idea - not a roofer, not a solar system installer. 20 tiles could be excessive, or the industry average per install might be 50 and you got lucky. Roof tiles are supposed to keep rain (and I guess small hail) out of the house, not to be stepped on. Position/angle/etc of the roof and solar install might matter too.

          • +2 votes

            @immu999:

            I know. but breaking more than 20 tiles of a new build seems quite unlikely.

            Shit tiles break easily….. Even if the house is only a few weeks old, they must be cheap and nasty tiles.

          •  

            @immu999: I can feel your pain. Probably a case of poor installation

  • +1 vote

    Just pay it, you are probably just paying for their petrol costs, it wont cover their time or labor for them that's for sure.

  • +2 votes

    Hey sorry to hear this. I do a lot of Solar installs and it can be common for tiles to break, there are few ways to mitigate breakage but with old tile roofs it's near impossible to avoid. It seems like they did what they could when they were there to replace what was broken.

    I know this sounds biased but $100 is a small price to pay to have them revisit site and install new tiles. Just make sure to get a written invoice for it and if you have any water damage in the near future you can be sure to hold them accountable if any additional tiles are found broken.

  • +1 vote

    What do you guys think?

    Pay $100. In the grand scheme of things it is nothing.

    •  

      In the grand scheme of things it is nothing.

      To some people, OP included in this case - otherwise he would not have had bothered to complain on here about this issue, on here $100 is actually quite a lot…..

  • +4 votes

    I'd pay the money, also if something goes wrong later, they'll be more willing to come back and help but if you took them to court, no chance

  • -1 vote

    I am amazed at what I am seeing fro OzBargain. Whilst I imagine a tile will get broken here or there, 20 broken tiles seems like no f***ks given.

    When my solar was installed, there was not a single broken tile. I presume you haven't paid for the Solar yet? I can't imagine they would take the solar away for not paying the extra $100? I suggest you pay for a good portion of the work, with the last (say) 5% paid when they rectify their damage.

    Sure it's only $100, but they shouldn't be rewarded for sloppy work.

    •  

      Depends, your installer may have done a crap job and not ground the tiles so they sit flush again once the brackets are installed

      The ops installer may have been having a bad day with the angle grinder or the tiles were just poor quality and didn't handle the process well

      Damaging tiles doing a solar install is part of the risk, which is why you'll see that clause in most solar installers contracts (and some won't work on roofs with older terracotta tiles due to the hassle / risk)

    •  

      I had 21 panels installed and 1 tile broken.
      20 tiles broken is ridiculous.
      Unfortunately the way some of these businesses work you’ll go to the bottom of the pile if you have any issues for them to sort if you complain .
      It’s not right but it happens.

    • +1 vote

      Really depends on the roof. Some you can jump up and down on and no worries, others you can look at the wrong way and they'll break

    •  

      Why are you being negged? I had solar installed and no tiles were broken although there was ONE slightly misplaced/misaligned tile and went undetected until rain water sipped in and created a drip hole on my garage roof.

      The principle of not rewarding sloppy work is perfectly reasonable.

  •  

    If you walk on tiles you can break them, My roof while 30+ years old vs your new roof, has broken tiles, when someone (mainly me) walks on it. But not always. In my case I know where to tread but even then they can break.

    When my Solar was installed I had to have 8 tiles replaced. While I walk around in light shoes the installers have to have approved heavy boots under work rules, and they are carrying heavy panels, the risk increases. Its not easy to balance a panel, and walk exactly on the right place on a roof (where the tiles overlap).

    Two of the tiles replaced were also due to original faulty installation (nails on battens not properly hammered in), but as the solar was installed on a spot I don't really walk on (I do it to clean my gutters), I never found out, until the install.

    Really is it worth the fight, and given the contract details you posted, they are well within their rights to charge for a call back.

  •  

    Our roof tiles are not in their best condition. I had 20 panels installed and only 1 tile actually broke. They told me one other tile is slightly damaged and best to replace it and they did. Lucky for me as I only had 2 spare tiles in the house. I can't imagine them breaking 20 x tiles on your roof. Must be a very careless installer or a bad installer with poor handling.

  •  

    This is a very useful post. I didn't realize there is a tile clause in solar installation.

    I had mine ages ago. Most likely the clause wasn't there so wasn't an issue.

    But that means next time I want to extend capacity, need to look for those without this clause. Clause like these in my view gives them licence to be sloppy.

  •  

    Pay them $100 make sure you have all your compliance paperwork for the solar install and you have your first bill with your provider with solar. Then put in a claim advising that 20 is not reasonable and they were negligent in their install. Oooor just pay up and get on with your life. The threat of coming back to rip off the solar panels is a really shitty act also. So if you have a sms or message with this on it I would report them to

  • +1 vote

    On installation I would suggest the panels became a fixture. They have no right to come and remove it.
    In addition, any licence you gave them to enter your property has expired. Any entry for the purpose of removing the panels would constitute a trespass.
    Good luck.

  •  

    Thanks for your suggestions guys.
    It was scaffolding guys who are supposed to visit the property today to take off scaffolding bars.
    My installer requested them to change tiles as they were already visiting the property.
    The installer called me yesterday and after a lot of argument he told me that if I pay them the outstanding balance they will cover the cost of replacing the tiles.
    I did not pay them the outstanding however I told them to divide the installation cost in half. Paying the whole amount was not ideal before this issue is resolved.

  • +1 vote

    You would have thought that when the installer broke the 10th tile they might have given you a heads up that they needed a few (more) spares, so you had time to source them prior to the installation being completed.

    •  

      I surely would have done it. They told me about this when they were about to leave. I had no time to arrange.

  •  

    Initially I thought you were a whinger because I assumed it was a really old house (pre-war) but 20 tiles on a new roof is nuts.

    They cracked 1 terracotta tile on my 1938 house. 20 tiles implies they really didn't take much care as I've scrambled over a lot of roofs without doing damage.

    You'd hope the install itself was better than their tile care.

    •  

      The tiles were from a company called bristile tiles. Who apparently make quality tiles. Expensive than most other tiles in market.

      I was unlucky I'd say.

  •  

    $100 is nothing in the scheme of things

    Argue the issue to your detriment

    •  

      $100 is nothing in the scheme of things

      To some people, OP included in this case - otherwise he would not have had bothered to complain on here about this issue, on here $100 is actually quite a lot…..

  •  

    I got the installer to replace the broken tiles at no charge to me.
    The broken tiles was about 3m away from where the panels is located. It was on the edge on the roof, most likely is where they always go up and down to access the roof

  •  

    Tell them to get stuffed who has 20 tiles lying around. Hope they did a good job on your solar system, I’d be getting it inspected before paying any final payments.

    • +1 vote

      They've fixed tiles and not invoiced me the cost of replacing it. Inspection is pending though. I'll surely hold the payment till inspection is done.

      They are emailing me to pay the outstanding almost every day.

  •  

    As a courtesy i told them of divide the cost in half, as i was thinking of 25 year warranty on solar pannels and 5 year warranty on inverter.

    The installers agreed to divide the cost in half. BUT the impact of this half amount on tax is such that i have to may more than $100 :'(
    And they are not willing to invoice it separately.

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