Skylight Expert Witness Duties
A homeowner in Pacific Palisade, CA contacted us for information regarding a fiberglass skylight that was installed on his new home. His problem was the “popping” noises that his skylight made throughout the day. The noises were very irritating and he had actually moved his office out of the home so he could focus and get work done. The owner had previously tried to get the manufacturer to solve the problem, with negative results.
The owner ultimately sued the manufacturer and requested they we be available as their expert witness in helping them understand what the issues were on the skylights to best be able to argue their case.
The skylights of concern on the site:
- Various sizes of arched fiberglass sandwich panel skylights that covered large areas of the home, spanning several rooms with one skylight.
What We Found:
The skylights did indeed make loud noises from expansion-contraction. This is most noticeable when there are conditions with the sun and clouds passing over the sun. The panels and aluminum quickly warm or cool and expand and contract causing the noises. As an expert witness, our opinion was that the skylights were installed incorrectly. This caused the aluminum to touch the steel structural supports. The contractors were experienced in general construction but were not experienced in skylight construction. They made no attempt to separate the dissimilar materials or to keep the panels level and true. The result was an installation that allowed the aluminum to expand and contract at different rates than the steel, causing the popping noises.
The entire skylight would need to be removed and re-installed with shims added at each fastener. A new design for the chimney chase would be needed, along with a few other design changes for better durability.