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Wed September 30 2020

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Stanmore demolition goes woefully wrong

5 Nov 14 A north London building firm has been fined £8,000 after a botched demolition sent masonry crashing into a neighbouring property through a skylight, narrowly missing an occupant.

Axis Build Ltd, of Drummond Drive, Stanmore, was sentenced for safety failings following the partial collapse of a home it was trying to demolish in Adelaide Close, Stanmore on 6th June 2013.

Westminster magistrates heard how debris, including large slabs of brickwork from an end wall, fell on top of the next door property because the Axis Build had failed to plan the demolition job to prevent an uncontrolled collapse.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found the incident could have easily been avoided had Axis Build Ltd involved a competent person, such as a structural engineer, in the planning process.

Axis Build Ltd, registered in Chesham, Bucks, was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £1,338 in costs after admitting breaching the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations by failing to plan the demolition in such a way as to avoid danger, or reduce it to as low a level as possible.

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HSE inspector Jack Wilby said after the hearing: “With this type of demolition, where an excavator eats into the building from one side to the other, there is likely to be a free-standing wall at one end that should be supported,  particularly, where this wall is close to a boundary wall.

“The removal by Axis Build of parts of the building without supporting a remaining wall led to the uncontrolled collapse of that wall. This resulted in immediate danger to both the employees and other people – in this case the residents of the house next door.

“The competence of those assessing the risks of the job was just not good enough. You need someone who understands the integrity of domestic buildings and how they are held together.

“The resulting clear-up operation put further lives at risk as workers went up on to a roof without adequate means to prevent them from falling from that roof.”

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