Construction Firms Prosecuted Appalling Building Site

Two construction companies were fined for “appalling” standards on a construction site in the London Borough of Merton.

After visiting the site in Wimbledon on several occasions, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the principal contractor, Kubik Homes Ltd, and the subcontractor, Bellway Developments Ltd.

Kubik Homes Ltd, of High Street, Wimbledon, pleaded guilty to a violation of section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £2,426.50 in costs.

Bellway Developments Ltd, of Coniston Road, Bromley, Kent, pleaded guilty to violating Section 3(1) of the Act 1974 as well. It was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £2,384.50 in costs.

Kubik Homes Ltd had already received four Prohibition Notices, one of which was violated while HSE Inspectors were on site.

Spray Foam Insulation

According to the evidence presented at the City of London Magistrates’ Court, there was no safe access to the first floor under construction at the St Mary’s Road site. Instead, there was a makeshift’staircase’ made of a sandbag and piles of blocks that led to the roof of a hut.
The first floor was accessed from the hut roof via wooden planks that bridged the gap. There was no edge protection to keep people from falling.

During a site visit, HSE inspectors discovered that a wooden gangway built the day before to provide access to the first floor was insufficient. There was also a 2.5-metre-deep excavation with no safeguards in place to prevent people from falling into it or the excavation’s sides collapsing in on anyone working within it.

The work areas around the site were uneven, with a slew of obstacles and trip hazards. Building materials were stacked excessively high and haphazardly stored. On-site welfare facilities were also deplorable. The toilet was filthy, and the cold water supply was leaking.

The HSE issued three Prohibition Notices to Kubik Homes, ordering that all work on the site be halted until health and safety standards were improved. When HSE Inspectors returned to the site, they discovered that an attempt had been made to erect edge protection around the first floor, but it was insufficient. Neither company’s representatives had adequate training, experience, or a recognised qualification in site management.

Attic Insulation

Two men were seen walking on the first floor while inspectors were on the scene, in violation of one of the Prohibition Notices. When it became clear that the work was still being done in an unsafe manner, another Prohibition Notice was issued. This directed that all work on the site be halted until competent site management was in place.

“Although there was no incident, the potential danger to the workers was very high,” HSE inspector Loraine Charles said after the hearing.

“The conditions on this site were simply deplorable. This is a shocking example of poor construction site management, and it is a miracle that no one was injured.

“Despite repeated interventions by the HSE, both of these companies failed to understand the nature of their duties under health and safety law and failed to sufficiently improve conditions on the site.” We will not hesitate to pursue legal action against companies that behave in this manner.”

Last Updated on December 30, 2021


Author: Indra Gupta

Indra is an in-house writer with a love of Newcastle United and all things sustainable.

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