A building contractor and one of its directors have been fined a total of £15,000 after putting customers at risk of death or serious illness from exposure to carbon monoxide fumes.
Between 3 September and 8 December 2009, Wembley-based Rushi Construction, owned by Vikas Patel, was building an extension to a home in Westwood Drive, Little Chalfont, in Buckinghamshire.
Part of the extension was built around the flue outlet of a gas boiler, but the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation revealed that no Gas Safe registered engineer had been involved in the gas fitting work.
Patel had tried to use a sewage pipe and a washing machine vent hose, to extend the flue outlet across the new room and out a window - without success. This meant that harmful carbon monoxide gases were being released in the house, exposing the homeowners to potentially deadly fumes.
Patel was asked to leave the job by the customers in December 2009 and after complaints to National Grid, the supply of gas to the property was disconnected in January 2010.
Following sentencing, HSE Inspector Stephen Manley said: "Everybody involved in construction work, from small jobs such as fitting a conservatory, to larger extension builds, must think about the effect it may have on the safe operation of existing services such as gas appliances and flues.
"If you're in any doubt as to the effect of your work on existing gas systems then you are probably in the wrong business - but at the very least you should take advice from an engineer registered with the Gas Safe Register.
"Patel's clients could have died because of the unsafe situation he created in their home. HSE will always take action when we see examples of such blatant disregard or ignorance, of regulations, guidance, and common sense."
Rushi Construction (UK) Ltd based at Braemar Avenue, Wembley, Brent, pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and regulations 4 and 8(1) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. At Aylesbury Magistrates' Court today, the company was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,000.
Vikas Patel, of Braemar Avenue, Wembley, Brent, pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and regulations 4 and 8(1) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. Today he was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay costs of £731.