Building collapse narrowly misses shop assistants

Grant Prior 10 years ago
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A Sheffield property developer has been fined after a building partly collapsed and sent tonnes of rubble through a neighbouring roof – just missing two shop workers.

Sheffield Magistrates Court heard that developer Ghulam Rasul flouted a legal enforcement notice ordering him to halt all demolition work at the site because the building was potentially unstable.

The building collapsed at Steetley Chambers, a former industrial premises, between Stoke Street and Effingham Road in Sheffield, on February 4 last year.

Rasul restarted demolition work on the site in late 2010, breaching a Prohibition Notice served on him in April 2008 relating to serious safety concerns.

By doing so, the building was weakened further, increasing its instability and the potential for a collapse, and putting anyone near it at serous risk of injury.

The gable end of the two-storey building did collapse and around ten tonnes of brick and rubble crashed through the roof of the fishing tackle shop next door, which was open for business, and narrowly missed the shop workers.

South Yorkshire Police closed Effingham Road as they were concerned the remainder of the building would collapse across the road and pavement.

A team from Sheffield City Council’s dangerous structures unit then arranged for the structure to be safely demolished.

Rasul pleaded guilty to safety offences and was fined a total of £6,000 and ordered to pay £2,418 in costs.

Inspector Dave Bradley, from HSE’s Construction Division, said he was astonished there had not been fatal or serious casualties.

Speaking after the hearing, he said: “This was an extremely serious incident with the potential to kill several people in the shop as well as pedestrians and people in cars on Effingham Road at the time. The fact that no one was injured was pure good fortune.

“It was an entirely avoidable incident. Had Mr Rasul employed a competent engineer, temporary supports could have been designed and installed to prevent a premature collapse of the structure.

“He had been warned of the dangers, advised on what to do and yet he recklessly ignored this advice and by doing so put the lives of many people at risk.”

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