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Tue May 11 2021

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Basement builders ignored safety risks

12 Dec 16 Two London construction companies have been fined for safety breaches on a double basement construction project.

Westminster Magistrates Court heard that emergency services had to be called to a property at Bathurst Mews in London where excavation work to form a double basement was being carried out. They rescued a labourer with a broken arm and reported their concerns about the dangerous site to the Health & safety Executive (HSE).

The HSE inspector immediately shut down the site on finding that workers were at risk from falling into deep excavations and there were no propping arrangements to ensure the stability of excavations or the existing building. The investigation by HSE found that an independent consultant had raised the same concerns a few months earlier but the recommendations had been ignored.

Main contractor Lifehouse (London) Ltd appointed Nu Space Design Ltd as subcontractor for the excavation work and one its directors as the site manager.  Neither company appointed a competent person to inspect the excavations to ensure they were safe.

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Lifehouse (London) Ltd of 28 Church Road, Stanmore, HA7 4XR pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM) and was fined £24,000 and ordered to pay £1,141.50 in costs.

Nu Space (Design) Ltd of 39 Wimborne Avenue, Hayes, UB4 0HQ pleaded guilty to breaching CDM Regulation 15(2) and was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £1,067.10 in costs.

HSE inspector Andrew Verrall-Withers said after the hearing: “Both companies were aware of the dangers on the site following the warnings in a consultant’s report, but they failed to act on the recommendations and a worker was injured. When carrying out any construction work, whether new build or refurbishments, you have to ensure it is done safely. In this case they should have appointed a competent person to carry out regular inspections of the excavations to ensure they did not collapse onto workers or cause the building to become unstable during the work”.

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