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Glazing firm “failed to learn” from previous gas safety conviction04 September 2012
A double-glazing firm has been prosecuted for building over a gas flue at a house in Kent – the second time in three years that it has been convicted of such an offence.
Dartford Magistrates’ Court heard that Supaglazing Ltd finished constructing a conservatory in July 2010, which was built over an existing gas flue for a boiler at a property on Beavor Road in Allington, Maidstone. This meant there wasn't sufficient ventilation for combustion products, so the occupants of the home, who included a pregnant woman and a child, were potentially put at risk.
In October 2010, the firm sent a Gas Safe Registered engineer to the house to give an estimate for relocating the flue from the gas boiler. The engineer identified the dangers posed by the enclosed flue and notified the HSE and the homeowner.
HSE inspector Rob Hassell, who headed the investigation, explained that the occupants lives were put in danger. He said: “The family of this house were put at risk because of serious failings with the building works. It is foreseeable that a serious personal injury could occur when a gas boiler flue is affected by such work.
“The fact that no serious health effects were suffered as a result of this breach is purely a matter of luck."
Supaglazing Ltd appeared in court on 3 September and pleaded guilty to breaching reg.8(1) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. It was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay £2826 in costs.
In mitigation, the company admitted putting the family at risk and said it regretted the situation. It cooperated with the investigation and said it no longer accepts work that involves moving flues. According to the company's telephone message, Supaglazing has received a safety award from the British Safety Council "every year since 1984".
In January 2009, the company was fined £4500 for gas-safety breaches, after it had built over an existing flue at another house in Maidstone.
After the hearing, inspector Hassell said: “Supaglazing should have learned from their previous conviction for a very similar offence. Companies that supply and install conservatories should be aware of the Gas Safety Regulations and ensure they comply with them. HSE will take robust enforcement action against any company found to be breaching them, whether an incident or injury has occurred or not.”
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