PE has recently received a letter from a reader in need of some urgent assistance – can you help?
I’ve recently had an issue with a lighting manufacturer and wanted to reach out to PE’s reader community to find out if any other electricians have had a similar issue in the past and how it was resolved.
The supply chain involved is as follows:
Our Main Contractor
Ourselves (Electrical Contractors subbing contract to Main Contractor)
On this particular job we installed approx. 300 individual LED downlights to a property in 2014 with a three-year warranty (so we’d expect it to last a lot more than that). To control these we used separate (different manufacturer) drivers and dimming/switching methods, which were all verified as suitable for us when we contacted the lighting manufacturer beforehand to check.
From mid-2015 until the end of that year we started getting random failures, particularly in one area of the property where the lights were used the most (approx. 12-16 hours per day). At this point the manufacturer got involved and identified that the lights in that area were potentially failing due to heat or dimmer strain. We resolved the problem initially be reducing the intelligent dimming system another 20% and created even more air space around the fitting, even though underfloor heating was in the floor void on the upper level on top of the floor.
The manufacturer felt we had identified the issue and said that it would honour the warranty to the rest of the property, but not on the 40 odd fittings in this potential problem area. After coming to an agreement with the client in Spring 2016, we replaced the 40 lamps out of our company’s own pocket and hoped that would be the last of it. However, approx. nine months later we started getting random failures again – in the same area as before, but also in other areas of the property as well.
We visited site multiple times, changing random failures out of our own company resources until the end of last year when the end client confirmed that they’d (understandably) lost complete faith in the fittings and wanted a full refund of parts and labour. The manufacturer again got involved, but to this date hasn’t given a valid reason for the failures. First all of the blame was put on the driver manufacturer, without any proof, and we’ve now noticed that they’ve discontinued the particular fittings that we used.
We’ve since had an independent witness report carried out that states that the downlights are the issue and the electrical installation was satisfactory. We’ve also tested the air and floor voids for temperature and the large majority run between 20-25degC, even inside of the fire hat. We’ve chased down the supply chain for a full refund that the end client has paid, and the manufacturer has now made us four settlement offers, but none of them anywhere near the refund cost that are clients are expecting.
As a result, we currently stand to lose out on a significant amount of money. This can’t be right and we’re naturally concerned about the whole issue so would really appreciate if any electricians that have been in a similar situation, or any legal experts, could get in touch to offer some advice.
If you can help then get in touch with us at: firstname.lastname@example.org