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BUILDER JAILED FOR ‘PUTTING PROFIT BEFORE SAFETY’

Unsafe service installations on home extension exposed incompetent workman

Mr John Howe, trading as J Howe Plumbing and Construction has been given a four month prison sentence after trying to cut costs by doing his own gas and electric installation on a home extension project.

Mr Howe installed a gas boiler in the loft and gas hob in the kitchen. He left them connected to the mains supply despite not being a Gas Safe registered engineer. He also undertook electrical work which was left in an unsafe state.

The home owner contacted Bradford Council’s Building Control over problems with the work undertaken. HSE were also notified.

Tests by HSE and a Gas Safe registered engineer showed gas work was unsafe and the boiler could have been a danger to life or property if operated. An electrical test concluded the work “posed an unacceptable risk of injury or death”.

HSE served a Prohibition Notice on Mr Howe on 25 November 2010 preventing him from carrying out any domestic gas work until he becomes competent and Gas Safe registered.

Unsafe work could easily have ended in tragedy

Bradford Magistrates jailed Mr Howe  for four months after he pleaded guilty to five breaches of health and safety legislation and Gas Safety Regulations. HSE investigating Inspector Andy Denison said:

“Mr Howe selfishly chose to put a future resident of this property in danger, and it could very easily have ended in tragedy. It is fortunate that his incompetent work was discovered by another builder and reported.

We uncovered a classic example of a builder trying to cut corners on a project and putting profit before safety. Mr Howe should have called in the registered professionals to ensure the necessary work was done safely.”

Justin Booth, a Bradford Council Principal Building Control Surveyor, said:

“One of our Building Control Surveyors was called in by the owner and was immediately concerned about unsafe gas and electrical work being carried out and the Building Regulations being flouted. I hope this prosecution will serve as a warning to any other builders that they may be taken to court if they do not comply with regulations which are there to ensure people are safe in their own homes.”

Paul Johnson, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, said:

“Only a Gas Safe registered engineer should carry out gas work in your property. Every registered engineer carries a Gas Safe Register ID card with their own unique licence number. Before any gas work is carried out, always check their ID card to make sure your engineer is qualified for the work you want done and their qualifications are in date.”

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