Faulty apartment windows

Faulty apartment windows

  • Apartments

Questions

I live on the fourth floor of an apartment block. Recently one of the windows fell out on to my daughter who was standing in the kitchen (she hurt her hand a little but is okay, thankfully). About three years ago I raised concerns (verbally) with the builder that this window was rattling. They said they didn’t think it was cause for any serious concern.

I have contacted my insurance company and it will cover the cost of the window falling out.

However, I am wondering if you could give me any advice as to how to proceed in this situation. I am concerned about the other windows in the apartment, especially because we are on the fourth floor and it could potentially be very serious if any of the other windows in my apartment or any other apartment in the complex are faulty.

Should the builder be checking all the other windows? Or do I need to seek legal advice? The complex was built about eight years ago, which is when I bought it, and we are the first to occupy this apartment.

 

Answer

First I am relieved to hear no one was hurt when the window fell out. Clearly there was a significant problem with this window which could have had serious consequences. Given the fact that a window has already fallen out, it is essential all other windows in the development are checked to ensure no others will fall out.

If the builder has been notified, I would expect they would want to have all the other windows checked in order to avoid the potential costs of another one falling out. If the builder has not taken this course of action because of a lack of funds or as a result of downright foolishness, I would expect that the managing agents will ensure that all the windows in this development are checked by an alternative contractor.

In this respect, the cost of checking, and even the cost of re-fixing the windows in place is relatively minimal when compared with the potential consequential costs of a window falling out.

You are to be complimented for raising this issue in public and the most important thing now is to ensure that anyone who could be affected by this problem is notified so that appropriate checking and corrective action can be undertaken by either the building contractor or the managing agent.

In the event that neither the building contractor nor the managing agent follows up on these issues, then you should take steps to ensure that all of the individual apartment owners/occupants are notified so that they can have the opportunity to have their windows checked and re-secured if necessary.

Clearly you will also have to ensure for your own peace of mind that the windows in your apartment are properly secured.

I note that you say that the window actually fell into the kitchen, which would suggest the owners/occupants of the apartments are more at risk than the general public. Unless these issues give rise to significant costs to you, which is unlikely, then there is nothing to be gained by seeking legal advice in the circumstances.

Val O’Brien is a chartered building surveyor and a member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) Building Surveying Professional Group

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