Builder jailed for risking granny’s life

Grant Prior 11 years ago
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A Bradford builder has been jailed for trying to cut costs by bodging his own gas and electric installation in a granny flat he was working on.

John Howe was taking so long finishing the construction the owner called in another builder who advised him power connections in the flat may be dangerous.

Bradford Magistrates’ Court heard that Howe, trading as J Howe Plumbing and Construction, was paid around £28,000 to build a granny flat/bungalow at the back of a house in Crestwood Close, Bradford, belonging to Khalid Rehman.

The defendant started work in May 2009 but by June 2010 Rehman called in another builder after Howe failed to turn up several times on site and finish the work.

Howe had installed a gas boiler in the loft and gas hob in the kitchen and left them connected to the mains supply, despite not being a Gas Safe registered engineer.

He also undertook electrical work and left it in an unsafe state.

Rehman asked Bradford Council’s Building Control to investigate and the Health and Safety Executive were notified.

Tests by HSE and a Gas Safe registered engineer showed gas work was unsafe and the boiler could have been a danger to life or property if operated.

An electrical test concluded Howe’s work posed an unacceptable risk of injury or death.

HSE served a Prohibition Notice on Howe on 25 November 2010 preventing him from carrying out any domestic gas work until he becomes competent and Gas Safe registered.

Bradford Magistrates jailed Howe, of Bush Mill Fold, Queensbury, for four months after he pleaded guilty to five breaches of health and safety legislation and Gas Safety Regulations.

After the hearing, Inspector Andy Denison, who investigated the case for HSE, said: “Mr Howe selfishly chose to put a future resident of this property in danger, and it could very easily have ended in tragedy. It is fortunate that his incompetent work was discovered by another builder and reported.

“We uncovered a classic example of a builder trying to cut corners on a project and putting profit before safety. Mr Howe should have called in the registered professionals to ensure the necessary work was done safely.”

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