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NSW Contractor Screwed Through Ceiling into Asbestos

Discussion in 'Property Law Forum' started by Eric Brooker, 30 May 2015.

  1. Eric Brooker

    Eric Brooker Active Member

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    Recently we had solar panels installed on our roof by Australian Home Services. Australian Home Services contracted PH Electrical to do the installation. When they installed the panels they screwed through into our asbestos celing. Now Australian Home Services are demanding we pay them for the installation saying that we have to deal with the contractor that did the actual installation for the damage caused.

    Am I within my Australian consumer law rights not to pay Australian Home Services until the damage caused has been fixed to it's orginal state?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Tracy B

    Tracy B Well-Known Member

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    Hi Eric,

    Did you have a contact with (i) Australian Home Services, (ii) PH Electrical or (iii) both companies?

    What services did you contract Australian Home Services to do? Was it to (i) hire someone to install the solar panels, (ii) provide the solar panels, or (iii) install the solar panels?

    It appears to me that, if you just signed with Australian Home Services, and they were responsible for the provision of solar panels and installation of the solar panels, then they are responsible for any damage caused in the process. They can claim from PH Electrical (who are their contractors, not yours) if they like, but it is not something for you to do unless you were the one that contacted PH Electrical to install the panels.If this is the case, you may be within your rights to withhold payment as set-off against your claim for damages against Australian Home Services.
     
  3. Eric Brooker

    Eric Brooker Active Member

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    Hi Tracey, Thanks for your reply! No we certainly didn't contract PH Electrical, it was all handled by Australian Homes Services. Australian Home Services are demanding that we have to pay and deal with PH Electrical and their insurance company, which doesn't feel right to me. By the way not one of them has actually contacted us except for the employee that did the install to apologises or accept responsibility or see how my wife is as she was actually in the room as the screws came through the ceiling. So who knows what exposure she has had to the asbestos.
    Cheers!
    Eric
     
  4. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    Don't pay. Yet.
    But do have the money set aside to do so.

    Your contract is with whomever you wrote the cheque to
    (whether literally or metaphorically).
    Their subbie (PH) is of no concern to you, and you have no relationship with the subbie.

    In the end, they are not entitled to damage. and leave damaged, your house.
    Especially given that they are working in the context of asbestos (was it asbestos, or modern fibre cement?)

    NCAT, I suggest, naming them jointly and severally as respondents.
     
    Tracy B likes this.
  5. Eric Brooker

    Eric Brooker Active Member

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    Hi TIm,
    Thanks for your response!
    Cheers!
    Eric
     
  6. Eric Brooker

    Eric Brooker Active Member

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    Thanks Tracy,
    We only signed a contract with and paid a deposit to Australian Homes Services. We had no idea that they had contractors to do the install.
    Cheers!
    Eric
     
  7. Tracy B

    Tracy B Well-Known Member

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    Hi Eric,

    In this case, it appears your matter is against Australian Homes Services. I agree with Rob, that you can name both Australian Homes Services and PH Electrical as defendants. However, since you signed the contract with AHS and paid your deposit to them as well, they are the ones that provides services to you (irrespective of who they contract or use to actually do the work). You can claim from them. They can then claim from PH Electrical if they like, but that is up to them and should not concern you.

    You do have an action against AHS and can initiate the claim in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. You may also get some advice from the NSW Fair Trading. They are an independent, free service that assists consumers with disputes such as provision of unsatisfactory services and damage.
     
  8. Eric Brooker

    Eric Brooker Active Member

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    Thanks Tracy,
    Appreciate your help.
    Cheers!
     
    Tracy B likes this.

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