Principal Designer, Designer & Principal Contractor Fined Over Fire Risk

Designers and contractor prosecuted for risk management failings

Three companies have been prosecuted for failing to take adequate precautions against fire risk during construction of a timber frame extension to a sheltered accommodation residential home.

Worcester Crown Court heard that in the months leading up to October 2017 the appointed designers and contractors were working on the project which involved the installation of the timber frame three-storey construction with a timber frame link extension to an occupied sheltered accommodation residential home.  However adequate fire prevention controls were not in place thereby putting members of the public at risk.

Major fire risks not avoided by design and management

HSE investigators found that the defendants failed to fulfil their respective duties.  Including to plan, manage and monitor construction work in a manner that prevents risks from fire and protects persons who may be affected by the project.

The risks should have been prevented by designing out the major fire risks.  They should have implemented a plan to incorporate measures to minimise the residual fire risk during the construction phase, in accordance with industry good practice.

Fines & Costs

  • E Manton Limited – the project Principal Contractor of Birmingham Business Park, Birmingham pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 was fined £26,000 and in addition ordered to pay costs of £6,944.
  • MTE (Leicester) Limited – the timber frame Designer, manufacturer and installer of Sunningdale Road, Leicester pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 was fined £20,000 and in addition ordered to pay costs of £6,413.
  • Thornton–Firkin LLP – the project Principal Designer of Newhall Street, Birmingham pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £8,000 and in addition ordered to pay costs of £7,133.

HSE inspector Christopher Gregory 

”These cases highlight the need for all duty-holders to take proactive action to ensure they are not putting workers and others at risk from foreseeable fire risks by taking reasonably practicable actions, in accordance with industry standards, to comply with their duties under the respective regulations. Fire kills and members of the public have a right to be protected”.