Rogue developer let untrained workers demolish building by hand

Grant Prior 5 years ago
Share

The owner of a block of flats has been fined £200,000 after an HSE inspection identified serious safety breaches while it was being demolished by hand.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that a member of the public raised concerns about the conditions at the site at 60 Pitcairn Road, Mitcham.

Selliah Sivaneswaran was the owner of the property, but had failed to make appropriate appointments for the development project.

The site had been inspected by HSE in October 2016 and the work halted due to the workers being exposed to a range of risks including exposure to asbestos, falling from height, and fire.

HSE revisited the site on 4 January 2017 and found the work had restarted while the site was still unsafe, despite enforcement notices being served and advice being provided.

The demolition continued to be carried out by hand with workers climbing onto the unguarded roof and throwing the debris down.

Workers were at risk of falling up to four metres through holes in the floors and partly demolished staircase. No welfare facilities had been provided and there was a significant risk of fire with the workers not being able to escape.

The Court heard that two days before the sentencing hearing, HSE had to return to the site and take further action.

The project involved the demolition of the old flats and the construction of four one-bedroom flats and two two-bedroom flats on a site bought for £115,000 in 2001.

The Court heard that despite the foreseeably large financial return from the project, Sivaneswaran put profit before safety and paid cash in hand to untrained workers, did not engage a site manager, and provided none of the legally-required site documentation.

Selliah Sivguru Sivaneswaran of Pinner pleaded guilty to breaching CDM Regulations and was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay £1,421.20 in costs.

HSE inspector Andrew Verrall-Withers commented after the hearing: “Mr. Sivaneswaran was a commercial client as he was carrying out work as part of a business. When he failed to appoint a principal contractor, their duties fell on him.

“Thanks to a member of the public reporting the dangerous conditions HSE was able to take action. It was just good fortune that no one had been killed at the site.

“Instead of taking the support and advice provided by HSE, Mr. Sivaneswaran continued to let the workers operate in appalling conditions where they were at risk of being killed.

“He did not even provide them with a WC or washing facilities”.

Latest news

Housing association shuts in-house modular factories

Swan closes loss-making steel frame and cross-laminate timber factories
58 mins ago

350-homes approved around iconic London Tube station

Housing blocks to be built around Grade II-listed Hounslow West Tube station
33 mins ago

Domis set for £195m Boddingtons Brewery scheme

Developer Salboy buys Manchester site to kickstart long-awaited 556 homes project
2 hours ago

John Lewis £500m funding deal to build 1,000 rental homes

Deal to advance BTR flats at store sites in Bromley, West Ealing and Reading
15 hours ago

Esh launches new housing retrofit division

Esh Retrofit Solutions will target market to improve the energy performance of social rented homes
2 hours ago

Eric Wright wins tricky £52m Liverpool transformation

Contractor working with engineers at Ridge and Partners on "challenging" Stanley Lock Flight site
3 days ago

Investment giant buys Bristol M&E contractor

RDCP Infrastructure acquires Avon Combined Electrical Services
3 days ago

Demolition start for £50m Farnworth town centre rebuild

Caddick Construction is tipped for main works due to start in the spring
3 days ago

L&G Modular strikes deal to build 1,000 affordable homes

Modular homes business teams up with Hampshire's Vivid housing association
3 days ago

Former Erith operations director joins John F Hunt

Scott Exell named new operations director at demolition specialist John F Hunt
3 days ago

Green light for £135m Leeds twin tower resi scheme

Construction to start in New Year on 500 build-to-rent apartments
4 days ago

Mace hits 1m tonnes carbon saving target for clients

Present work pipeline betters 2026 carbon emission saving target
4 days ago

Plans in for £40m surf park at former Kent colliery

Seahive surf lagoon and health resort will be built near Deal
4 days ago

Crushed demolition worker vows to return to industry

Shannon Brasier hoping to return to construction following horror accident
4 days ago

Mount Anvil to start 900-home North London estate rebuild

Planning approval paves way for Barnsbury Estate rebuild in Islington
4 days ago

Green light for major laboratory campus in Cambridge

Developer BioMed to tender first building on 600,000 sq ft lab complex in the New Year
4 days ago

Belfast firm signs the biggest work deal yet under Project Gigabit

Fibrus to hook-up rural Cumbria to lightning-fast broadband under £108m deal
4 days ago

McLaren wins Leeds logistics park contract

Work to start imminently on warehouse complex for Firethorn Trust
5 days ago

Work restarts on £683m waste power plant after site death

Construction suspended for a week of investigations following fatality
5 days ago

Demolition starts on £135m Wigan Galleries scheme

Contractor BCEGI starts work on project to redevelop Wigan town centre
5 days ago

Amey CEO to step down following private equity buyout

Amanda Fisher to leave once business is transferred to new owners
5 days ago

New body set up to vet plant operator card schemes

Contractor trades bodies unite to tackle competency concerns over plant operator skills cards
5 days ago

Kier leads switch to hybrid battery generators

Battery units work alongside smaller generators cutting run times by nearly 60%
5 days ago

Plans in for first Leeds co-living scheme

Watkin Jones submits plan to convert old Direct Line HQ into 230 studio flats
5 days ago

Demolition worker crushed by excavator

Court hears 20-year-old woman was left with "life changing injuries"
6 days ago

Government pays £700m for 50% stake in Sizewell C

New body, Great British Nuclear, will be set up to develop pipeline of nuclear projects
6 days ago

Costain wins Heathrow Airport asset renewal deal

Firm takes early contractor involvement role in Terminal 2 baggage handling upgrade
6 days ago

Worker killed on £683m waste power plant site

Fatal collision involving heavy goods vehicle on giant north London site
6 days ago

HS2 JV shifts four Wembley Stadiums of earth in record time

EKFB team digs and hauls 15 million cu m of muck in 20 months
6 days ago

Milestone wins £300m Wiltshire highways upkeep

Ringway will hand over to Milestone in March next year
6 days ago

Contractor services