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    DEVELOPER PENALISED OVER STRUCTURAL COLLAPSE INCIDENT

    Deliberate flouting of HSE enforcement notice warning of instability

    A Sheffield property developer has been prosecuted after a building collapsed sending tonnes of rubble through a neighbouring shop roof narrowly missing two shopworkers on 4 February 2011.

    Developer Ghulam Rasul put the lives of the workers and of the local community at serious risk when he deliberated flouted a legal enforcement notice ordering him to halt all demolition work because the building was potentially unstable.

    Sheffield Magistrates heard (25 May) that a prohibition notice was issued by HSE in 2008 because of “serious safety concerns”. However, Mr Rasul restarted demolition work in late 2010 which increased instability and the potential for a collapse.

    On 4 February 2011 the gable end did collapse and some ten tonnes of brick and rubble crashed through the roof of an adjacent shop narrowly missing the shopworkers. South Yorkshire Police closed the road and a team from Sheffield City Council’s dangerous structures unit arranged for the structure to be safely demolished.

    Defendant recklessly ignored advice and put the lives at risk

    Ghulam Rasul, of Balfour Road, Sheffield, pleaded guilty to an offence under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and to breaching a Prohibition Notice. He was fined a total of £6,000 and ordered to pay £2,418 in costs.

    Inspector Dave Bradley from HSE’s Construction Division said he was astonished there had not been fatality or serious casualties adding:

    “It was an entirely avoidable incident. Had Mr Rasul employed a competent engineer, temporary supports could have been designed and installed to prevent a premature collapse of the structure. He had been warned of the dangers, advised on what to do and yet he recklessly ignored this advice and by doing so put the lives of many people at risk.

    Demolition is a high-risk activity that needs to be carefully planned – from start to finish – to ensure it doesn’t result in the uncontrolled collapse of a building or parts of it. The controls needed are well known in the industry and the costs involved are not prohibitively expensive when balanced against the risks.”

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