Six years in jail for building boss after fatal fall

Grant Prior 6 years ago
Share

A construction boss has been jailed for six years after being found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter after two of his employees fell through a roof they were repairing.

Allan Thomson of Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire and his company Building and Dismantling Contractors Ltd were also fined £400,000 and ordered to pay £55,000 court costs.

Building and Dismantling Contractors was subcontracted by main contractor C. Smith and Sons to demolish the Harvey’s and Carpetright buildings in Heaton Norris, Stockport in 2014.

Manchester Crown Court heard that a 47-year-old man sustained life-changing injuries and 42-year-old Scott Harrower died during the work.

Michael Smith of Rochdale and his company C. Smith and Sons (Rochdale) Ltd, were found guilty of safety offences.

Smith was jailed for eight months, fined £90,000 and ordered to pay £45,000 court costs.

The court heard it was originally planned that machinery would be used to remotely bring down the structure – a method that would have entailed minimum risk to those workmen tasked with the demolition.

But between winning the contract and the work actually being carried out, the decision was taken by Smith that the building should instead be dismantled piece by piece, meaning workmen would be required to work at height to remove the roof sheets prior to the structure being unbolted.

C. Smith and Sons then subcontracted the job of demolishing the roof to Building and Dismantling Contractors.

The roof of the building was made up of steel corrugated sheets with interspersed plastic skylights, which had deteriorated over time and had subsequently been covered with corrugated steel sheets in a bid to repair the damage.

On 20 January 2014 Harrower accidentally stepped through a skylight and nearly fell the 30 feet to the concrete floor below.

On that occasion he managed to prevent himself from falling, but the near miss did not prevent the men from returning to carry out their work the next day.

At just after 9am on Tuesday 21 January 2014, one of the group – a 47-year-old man – fell through a skylight to the concrete floor below, fracturing his spine, pelvis, right leg, heel and wrist.

Despite their colleague suffering horrific injuries, the men were ordered to return to the roof just hours later and at 4pm Harrower fell through a skylight to the concrete below.

He suffered catastrophic head injuries and died as a result.

Detective Chief Inspector Richard Eales said: “First and foremost, our condolences go to the families of Scott and his colleague, who were the victims of both companies’ criminal negligence and who died in tragically preventable circumstances.

“It is clear from the evidence that both Smith and Thomson saw an opportunity to make a quick profit without any thought for the workers they sent on to the roof, and as a direct result of that greed Scott died and another man suffered life-changing injuries.

“Smith and Thomson’s remorse did not then stretch to admitting their guilt, as both tried to hide behind their companies and refused to plead guilty to the charges levelled against them personally.

“Thankfully, the jury saw through their attempts and both now can face justice for the decisions that they made, decisions that have robbed one family of a loving partner, father, and son, and another of a man’s ability to live a life untainted by severe physical injury.”

Latest news

Greswolde Construction goes under

Solihull contractors ceases trading with 24 jobs lost
2 days ago

Designs revealed for £1bn London Blackfriars tower blocks

Fosters design landmark green office skyscraper and two blocks of flats for Southwark site
3 days ago

Everton stadium job still on budget despite inflation

Club and Laing O'Rourke confident they can still build new ground for £500m
3 days ago

Construction output falls 1.4% halting 7-month growth spurt

Fresh output and orders figures confirm summer construction slowdown
3 days ago

McLaren gets green light for £85m build-to-rent scheme

Construction set to start this autumn on major city centre development
3 days ago

BAM limbers up for £25m Bedworth leisure centre

Pioneering Warwickshire health and fitness hub to start this autumn
3 days ago

Keepmoat to start four-year build in Wigan

Major regeneration scheme to start across four sites
3 days ago

Solihull contractor Greswolde heading for administration

New investors took over business 12 months ago
4 days ago

Duo win £500m canal and river main works deal

Kier and Bentley bag Canal & Rivers Trust's largest ever water engineering works deal
4 days ago

Construction Manager of the Year finalists revealed

70 of the industry's brightest talents: Full list
4 days ago

Willmott Dixon fills new strategic change director role

Vistry Group change director joins private builder to support future growth
4 days ago

Work starts on £42m Oldham Spindles overhaul

Willmott Dixon signs off £42m deal to create new market, offices and event space
4 days ago

Firms wanted for Telford & Wrekin £1.6bn building works DPS

Call up for dynamic purchasing system covering building and refurbishment work
4 days ago

Kier pulls off contracts league double in July

Contractor bags highest value of new work and tops rolling 12 months ranking
5 days ago

Hinkley Point C giant water intakes craned onto seabed

Video: contractors complete one of the world’s most complex marine engineering projects
5 days ago

Taziker revenue jumps 30% to record £73m

Multi-disciplinary engineering specialist boosts headcount to 366 staff
5 days ago

Consultant buys scaffolding contractor

RSK Group makes MG Scaffolding its latest acquisition
5 days ago

M&E specialist gears up for £16m Aston Martin package

Major package award on McLaren Silverstone site
5 days ago

Plans in for Brentford 110-flat canalside scheme

Makers’ Yard mixed commercial and residential use scheme
5 days ago

WSP to buy consultant RPS Group for £591m

5,000 staff at Oxfordshire based firm to join WSP
6 days ago

Countryside puts offsite factory up for sale

Offers invited for Bardon plant which is less than a year old
6 days ago

M&E specialist Spie UK arm returns to profit

French parent group launches a strategic review of UK operations after performance stabilises
6 days ago

Site boss fined for locking out safety inspectors

Police called to enter site before fire fighters rescue workers stranded on roof
6 days ago

Rebid starts for £200m M5 junction job

Cost inflation forces retender for £200m junction 10 rebuild near Cheltenham
6 days ago

New Downing Construction boss named

Andy Thomas takes top job as Ian Orton steps back after 24 years
6 days ago

Plans in for 600 homes at London Aylesbury estate

Notting Hill Genesis aims to start work next year on phase 2 of Southwark estate rebuild
6 days ago

Tide gets green light for UK’s tallest modular tower

Volumetric specialist to build 48-storey student skyscraper at Canary Wharf
1 week ago

TopHat cuts losses and aims for profit in three years

Modular specialist investing for future as latest results show £19.4m loss
7 days ago

Story Contracting names next chief executive

Andy Joy to be promoted to CEO as Jason Butterwork becomes vice chairman
7 days ago

Stalled £100m North London build-to-rent tower to start

Essential Living commits to start Swiss Cottage scheme six years after planning OK'd
1 week ago

Contractor services