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Hertfordshire builder in court after illegal gas work

Date:
18 November 2014

A self-employed builder from East Barnet has been fined after he put the lives of home-owners in danger following the installation of a wall-mounted gas boiler and associated pipe-work at a home in Clacton-on-Sea, despite not being Gas Safe Registered – a legal requirement.

Jason Sapsford was prosecuted after inspections carried out by both British Gas and Gas Safe classified the installation as being “At Risk”, indicating that the system, in its current state, had the potential to put both life and property at risk.

Colchester Magistrates’ Court heard today (14 November) that Mr Sapsford was contracted to remove a gas boiler from the premises on Wyndham Crescent, Clacton-on-Sea, and install a wall mounted gas boiler in its place. However immediately following installation the system repeatedly broke down. The householder was left with holes to an exterior wall, no room-control thermostat and other electrical faults.  Furthermore, a user manual was not supplied and during the course of the installation Mr Sapsford stripped the premises of its copper pipe-work, replacing it with plastic piping which was badly fitted, inappropriate for its intended use and which subsequently leaked. The householder was faced with costs of around £2,500 to replace the pipe-work and install a room thermostat.

Jason Sapsford, trading at the time as New Look Builders, of Woodfield Drive, East Barnet, Herts, was fined a total of £2,000, ordered to pay costs of £2,252 and victim compensation of £2,285 after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

After the case, HSE Inspector Paul Grover said:

“This gas work was carried out by an unregistered and incompetent individual who was prepared to put life and property at risk for the sake of quick profit.

“People can die as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. Mr Sapsford’s actions were callous and uncaring and he showed little or no concern for the difficulties experienced by the householders, or the danger his handiwork presented to the general public.”

Further information about gas safety can be found online at www.hse.gov.uk/gas

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. Regulation 3 (1) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) regulations 1998 states: “No person shall carry out any work in relation to a gas fitting or gas storage vessel unless he is competent to do so.”
  3. Regulation 3 (3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) regulations 1998 states: “Without prejudice to the generality of paragraphs (1) and (2) above and subject to paragraph (4) below, no employer shall allow any of his employees to carry out any work in relation to a gas fitting or service pipework and no self-employed person shall carry out any such work, unless the employer or self-employed person, as the case may be, is a member of a class of persons approved for the time being by the Health and Safety Executive for the purposes of this paragraph.”
  4. HSE news releases are available at www.hse.gov.uk/press

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