A builder has been sentenced after putting a family at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from a poorly designed extension.
Colchester Magistrates’ Court heard how, in June 2017, Daniel Cox, trading as DEC Roofing & General Building Ltd, was contracted to build a single storey extension to the rear of a house on Digby Road, Corringham.
When assessing the work, Mr Cox had been told by the homeowner that the existing boiler flue exited the rear of the property – directly where the extension was to be built.
He assured this was not a problem, and that he would arrange for a plumber/qualified gas fitter to move the flue, so it safely discharged at the side of the property.
An investigation by the HSE found that DEC Roofing & General Building Ltd failed to ensure the gas boiler flue was moved to a safe place where it could discharge outside of the property before this extension was built.
The gas flue was therefore releasing poisonous combustion gases into the finished extension.
Thankfully, the homeowner was alerted to the danger by her carbon monoxide alarm and was able to isolate the boiler in time.
Daniel Cox of Corringham, Essex, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8(1) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for 24 months with 30 days rehabilitation and 150 hours of community unpaid work.
Mr Cox will also be paying £3,000 in costs to be paid over the next six months.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Jessica Churchyard said:
“Mr Cox showed a clear disregard for the law and put his customers’ lives at risk, by not arranging for a competent person to move the gas flue to a safe place before the extension was completed”
“This offence was carried out with consent and connivance, and was clearly attributable to Daniel Cox, as the director of DEC Roofing & General Building Ltd and the person who undertook the work. Daniel Cox’s poor workmanship could easily have caused the homeowner and her family to suffer carbon monoxide poisoning”
She finished off with a warning over the HSE’s view on this sort of practice.
“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”
HSE guidance on the management of gas safety during domestic extension construction is available at: www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/l56.htm
This video isn’t related to the article above, however it does demonstrate the dangers of not having a boiler flue fitted correctly.
Although this flue is venting to the outside it’s clearly not sealed, potentially allowing dangerous flue gases to seep or be blown back into the property either directly into the kitchen or into the wall cavity where it could migrate up to other parts of the home.
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