A recent case involved a builder being fined £100,000 for the deaths of an elderly couple following renovations to their home. This is a case which is worthy of note and this update contains information, particularly in the graphic below (developed by British Gas) vital information for anyone having work conducted at their premises or home which involves work close to a gas flue. Read on for more information and please review the graphic for guidance.
Mohammed Jamil was contracted to raise a garage roof at a house on Mallock Road in Leyton, London, between 14 February and 31 March 2009. During these works he also renovated the garage to allow access to the property’s extension.
On 21 April 2009, homeowners Donald O’Sullivan, 74, and his wife Rosetta O’Sullivan, 71, were found dead at the property having suffered carbon-monoxide poisoning.
As a result of the garage roof being raised the flue of a boiler had become enclosed,which allowed the gas to travel back into the boiler. The gas was able to leak into the house via a crack in the boiler’s casing.
HSE inspector Kevin Smith explained that the flue needed to be positioned a minimum of 300mm above the roof but Mr Jamil had failed to contact a Gas Safe registered engineer to move the flue to comply with these requirements; instead, he cut a hole in the roof, which he assumed would be sufficient to allow the hot gases to escape.
“This graphically illustrates the dangers of builders carrying out work without considering the effects on gas appliances,” said HSE inspector Kevin Smith.
“The builder failed to comply with the standards and regulations relating to gas fittings, which resulted in work that left flues in a dangerous condition, and allowed a colourless, odourless, ‘silent killer’ to enter the property.”
Jamil appeared at the Old Bailey on 20 July and pleaded guilty to breaching reg.8(1) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was fined £75,000 plus £25,452 in costs, and was given a 12-month community order, which required him to undertake 150 hours of community service.
In mitigation, Jamil said he hadn’t taken steps to raise the flue because he was following instructions from the homeowner. He entered an early guilty plea and had no previous convictions.
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