Problems with solar installations - Media release

Date: 7 November 2011

 What are the benefits for consumers of having their solar panels installed by an installer with a builders license?

Association of Building Consultants President, David Murray, said the major benefit for consumers of having solar panels installed by an installer with a builders license was to manage risk.

“Engaging the services of a professional with the breadth of knowledge and experience that generally only sits with those with a builders license means it is less likely the householder will experience problems,” he explained.

“While it doesn’t necessarily mean there will be no problems, it does demonstrate to homeowners that the installer accepts responsibility for the work conducted to install the panels, as well as the safety of their employees, contractors, the homeowner and anyone else who might come into contact with that building work over time.

“Having any building work completed by a contractor without this depth and breadth of knowledge means that little issues or concerns not picked up during the installation could develop into major problems down the track.
“For example, older homes with light timber roof framing may warrant additional supports. The brackets supporting the solar panels can concentrate uplift forces on a roof frame leading to problems unless there are proper tie-downs in place. Also, a licensed builder is more likely to pick up on current or potential water proofing issues or concerns, which can be fixed immediately or flagged with the homeowner as a potential issue that will require their attention.

“Shoddy installations can also include electrical problems, creating the risk of fire and, potentially, electrocution, and the foil lining under the roof has been known to be badly damaged through poor workmanship.”

Mr Murray said removal of the solar panels might be required if there was a need to undertake remedial work.

The Association of Building Consultants is the leading South Australian membership organisation for independent building consultants. Its members have met stringent membership criteria and work to a code of practice (www.abcmembers.com.au/Code-of-Practice.cfm).

The Association comprises a wide range of specialists and consultants from various sectors of the building industry who provide inspection and advisory services to the public and the building industry for any building-related matter or problem.