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August 9, 2012

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Property developer admits CDM ignorance

A property developer has been prosecuted after a routine inspection by the HSE identified a number safety failings at a construction site in Essex.

HSE inspector David King visited the site in Sun Street, Waltham Abbey on 10 February 2011, as part of a targeted programme of construction site inspections.

Stefano Di Piazza was redeveloping two shops to create nine apartments and four shops. On arrival at the site, inspector King saw contractors working on scaffolding, which had sections lacking in edge protection.

There were also no measures in place to prevent workers from falling through window openings on the second floor of the building. The HSE issued a Prohibition Notice to Di Piazza, ordering work to stop until adequate edge protection was put in place.

Di Piazza had failed to appoint a CDM coordinator for the project and didn’t notify HSE about the work. The inspector also identified multiple slip and trip hazards at the site.

Di Piazza appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on 7 August and pleaded guilty to breaching reg.4(1), reg.9(1), reg.14(1), and reg.21(1) of the Construction (Design and Management Regulations) 2007. He was fined a total of £10,000 and ordered to pay £5741 in costs.

In mitigation, he said he had no previous experience of developing properties and was not aware of the CDM requirements. He added that he had no previous safety convictions.

After the hearing, inspector King said: “Developers have a big influence on how work is done safely and they have legal duties as the construction client. They have to appoint the right people, provide information to the team, and make sure there are suitable management arrangements and a health and safety plan in place.

“Mr Di Piazza blatantly disregarded the importance of a safe working site, leaving the workers at Sun Street in serious and unnecessary danger.”

In June, the principal contractor for the project, Isidor Cata, trading as Doru Construction, pleaded guilty to breaching reg.6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, and section 33(1)(g) of the HSWA 1974 for breaching a Prohibition Notice. He was fined £2000, plus £1500 in costs.

Inspector King told SHP that a Prohibition Notice was issued to Cata. During a follow-up inspection, also on 10 February 2011, the inspector found work at height was continuing and no measures had been taken to comply with the notice.

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11 years ago

Congratulations HSE, at last a proper conviction under CDM, pity it took a breach of the PN though to bring this about.

Still, better than doing nothing I suppose.

2k for breaching the PN is a poor result for what could be a 20k fine?

I`m sure Designers are aupposed to advise thie Client of thier CDM requirements? Oh yes reg 11 (1), I knew I had seen it somewhere, pity the Designer did not?

CDM collective responsibilities ignored again perhaps?

11 years ago

Could not agree more Phil.

Seldom seen it applied though.

We can only live in hope?

11 years ago

I and others suggested this upon appointment with the HSE in 2009, along with the requirement of proof of Refurbishment/Demolition Asbestos Survey at Building Application Approval.

Also the formation of approved contrcators, possibly licensed for Domestic Work was suggested, as is applicable in some European Countries.

We often witnessed poor safety and poor quality control, resulting in structural defects, appalling fire suppression and other notable risk.

The HSE were non commital?

11 years ago

One must wonder at others at fault. Every designer, every contractor has a duty to ensure their client is aware of the regs. No doubt they all trade as companies. Management Regs require them to apoint a COMPETENT person to advise on H&S so I think a few more names should be in the frame?

11 years ago

If it is going on all over the place – why don’t the HSE work with the Local Authorities and add a condition to planning or building warrant approvals – requesting confirmation of appointments and awareness of responsibilities / regulations!

11 years ago

Just the tip of the iceberg.

There are countless numbers out there ignoring CDM Regs and other legislation and not just property developers, but designers, builders, project management companies etc.

11 years ago

Phil, the problem is that they are all as complicit as each other. The only way these people get caught is if there is a serious accident on site, or a visit by the HSE, which is as rare as rocking horse…

The property developed, Mr Di Piazza, claims he had no previous experience – that old chestnut. Anyway, why was the PC not also prosecuted for breaching CDM regs and what about prosecuting the Designer, someone must have designed the structure?