Roof renovations created gas-safety dangers24 July 2012
A builder has been ordered to pay more than £100,000 in fines and costs after an elderly couple died from carbon-monoxide poisoning, following work he carried out at their home.
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. 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. They had suffered carbon-monoxide poisoning.
The HSE’s investigation found that, 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. Jamil failed to contact a Gas Safe registered engineer to move the flue; instead, he cut a hole in the roof, which he thought would be sufficient to allow the gas to escape.
“This graphically illustrates the dangers of builders carrying out work without considering the effects on gas appliances,” said inspector 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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