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Builder sentenced to 4 months in prison

BY Thomas Elliott
Health & Safety
BG Orange

A builder has been sentenced to 4 months in prison for carrying out illegal repairs on gas systems and having left electrical work in a condition that posed a risk of fatality.

John Howe of J. Howe Plumbing & Construction was contracted to build a granny flat at the rear of a property in Bradford. Mr Howe commenced work in May 2009, but failed to complete the works. The owner of the property contracted another builder, who on attending the property observed inadequately secured pipework electrical equipment not earthed.

The property owner contact the District Council, who sent a surveyor out to carry out an inspection of the property. Following the inspection, the Council submitted a report to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) that they believed there was an immediate risk from the gas and electrical works.

The HSE conducted their own investigation and found that Mr Howe had not been a Gas Safe registered engineer and that the pipework had not been installed correctly. The investigation also revealed that the electrics in the granny flat had not been earthed and would have put occupants of the house at immediate risk. The HSE also commented that despite several attempts to contact Mr Howe, he had not responded to any efforts and failed to cooperate with them.

Magistrates sentenced Mr Howe to four months in prison, which they said was a result of Howe presenting a danger to life and property, failing to cooperate with the HSE’s investigation, and for putting profit before safety.

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