Former-teacher-turned-builder Peter Lawrence ran into trouble converting an old butcher’s shop in Altrincham into flats.
The project involved the full strip out and refurbishment of the ground floor shop and two upper floors to convert into three apartments.
Mr Lawrence took control of all construction works, acting as builder and project manager, employing numerous trades and labourers on site. The project first came to the HSE’s attention in November 2013 following a complaint about possible asbestos disturbance on site.
Between November 2013 and April 2014 several HSE inspectors visited the site to investigate safety concerns and deal with the risks presented by Mr Lawrence’s work. Issues identified during the visit included unsafe work at height, unsafe scaffolding, issues relating to asbestos, fire safety failings, unsafe electric supply, a lack of welfare facilities and safety equipment.
On Friday 18th September 2015, Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard that some of the issues had been satisfactorily dealt with by Mr Lawrence following HSE’s intervention but that he had failed to comply with two improvement notices regarding fire safety on site.
Mr Lawrence was charged with two counts of failing to comply with an improvement notice, one count of failing to provide adequate firefighting and fire alarm equipment on site and one count of failing to plan, manage and monitor construction work so that it was carried out in a safe manner.
Peter Lawrence of Kingsway, Altrincham pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 13(2) and 41(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and two breaches of Section 33(1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £8,000 with £4,802 costs and a victim surcharge of £120.
HSE inspector Matt Greenly said after the case: “Mr Lawrence completely failed in his duty to protect his workers, his subcontractors and visitors to his site from harm.
“Given the range of serious breaches identified over a very short period of time, and on a relatively small construction project, it is very fortunate that nobody was injured or even killed while working on this site.”