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CONSULTING ENGINEERS PROSECUTED

Designer and contractor failed to spot basic error causing building collapse

Peter Wallace of the Wallace Partnership, Preston, Lancs has been ordered to pay over £16k in fines and prosection costs after a building collapsed seriously injuring a construction worker in October 2008.

Investigation revealed that a ground floor concrete block pillar supporting upper floors had been ‘resting on the ground floor instead of going down into the foundations’.

HSE investigator Allen Shute said: “One of the workers’ legs was badly broken after the rubble fell on him, but the consequences could have been much worse.

Jack Smith (Builders) Ltd, CDM Principal Contractor of  Preston was also prosecuted on ordered to pay over £15k.

Mr Shute added: “this was a basic error which should have been spotted by both the building’s designer and the Principal Contractor”.

“It is common sense that the pillar supporting the floors should have gone into the foundations, and not just rested on the floor below. It’s vital companies learn lessons from this to prevent similar incidents happening in the future.”

Blackpool Magistrates’ Court heard that emergency services, including Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service’s major incident unit, were called to the scene.

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