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    PRISON OVER BASEMENT EXCAVATION AND COLLAPSE

    Building contractor jailed after house collapsed in Brighton

    A building contractor has been handed a 6 month prison sentence following the partial collapse of a house in February 2015.

    Hove Crown Court heard how Brow Builders (Mr Glen Peters T/A) undermined the structural integrity of the house by excavating the basement and failing to act on the advice of a structural engineer on how to remedy the situation.

    This resulted in the partial collapse of a gable wall and ground floor into the basement. Adjacent properties were evacuated and the area cordoned off because of concerns that members of the public living nearby and passing through the area were at risk.

    Challenging nature of structural components

    Bungaroosh wall composition

    HSE investigators found that the property comprised bungeroosh walls, common to buildings in the Brighton area which were built in the mid-18th to 19th century which are constructed of a mixture of rubble, timber, pebbles, stones and flint in a lime mix mortar set between shuttering.

    The composition of these walls makes working on this type of building more challenging in terms of structural stability requiring full understanding of the risk.

    Glen Peters failed to report the incident to HSE as a dangerous occurrence in accordance with the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 2013.

    • Brow Builders (Mr Glen Peters T/A) – of Woodingdean, Brighton, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 25(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and Regulation 7 of the RIDDOR Regulations 2013. The defendant was sentenced to five months imprisonment for count one and two months imprisonment for count two to run concurrently. He was also ordered to pay costs of £7,000.

    HSE principal inspector Emma Stiles said

    “Basement work must be properly planned to ensure the structural integrity of the building throughout the construction work. When this type of work is done badly, workers and members of public are at significant risk of serious injury or death. In addition, we cannot underestimate the impact on the homeowners when their properties are extensively damaged.”

     

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