For Michael Smithers, trading as Bournemouth & Verwood Builders, it was a repeat offence, have been previously fined £15,000 for the same breach of Gas Safety Regulations in 2014.
This time, Southampton Crown Court heard how Smithers was contracted to carry out the construction of a new build house in the New Forest between 2017 and June 2018, which also included the installation of new gas appliances.
He installed a new gas central heating boiler but the homeowners subsequently experienced problems. They contacted the Gas Safe Register and an inspection of the gas installation was carried out, the boiler installation was classed as ‘at risk’ and removed from service.
An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that Smithers was not competent to complete gas work and was not Gas Safe registered at the time he carried out this work. They also discovered that he had previously been prosecuted by the HSE and found guilty in April 2014 for unregistered gas work.
Michael Smithers of Nightingale Close, Verwood pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 3(1) and 3 (3) of the Gas Safety Installation and Use Regulations 1998. He was sentenced to nine months in prison and ordered to pay £2,500 in compensation plus £12,529 in costs.
HSE inspector Nicola Pinckney said after the hearing: “Mr Smithers conducted gas work while he was not competent to do so and whilst not Gas Safe registered. Given his previous conviction, this defendant should have been fully aware of what the law requires to protect the public.
“To help ensure the highest standards of gas safety are met and to prevent injury and loss of life, all gas work in domestic premises must be done by people who have been properly trained and are registered Gas Safe engineers.”