Work carried out by a Welsh home improvements firm on a loft conversion put a foster family in danger of being poisoned by carbon monoxide gas, a court has heard.
Cardiff Crown Court was told on Thursday how Newport City Council contracted Phillip Thomas and Janusz Wojcik’s company P Thomas and J Building and Home Improvement Specialists to convert the loft of a home in Bettws, near Newport, back in November 2010.
The work included changing a flue from a gas fire but the two business partners left it in a condition an expert later deemed to be dangerous, as potentially deadly fumes were building up inside the loft, the court heard.
The court was told that the tenant is a foster carer with four youngsters. She had received a grant from the council to have the work done so she could have more room for them.
But she wasn’t happy with the quality of the work Mr Wojcik and Mr Thomas did and saw there were problems with the plumbing.
Work ‘immediately dangerous’
A Gas Safe registered engineer inspected the work and spotted the flue was taken from just below loft level, meaning poisonous gas went into the loft.
He said the work posed an ‘immediate danger’ to the inhabitants of the property.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Mr Thomas and Mr Wojcik after its investigation revealed they had failed to seek advice from a registered gas engineer before taking away the chimney and the flue. The gas fire was still connected and was used during the winter, so carbon monoxide fumes were able to accumulate in the loft space, the court was told.
Phillip Thomas and Janusz Wojcik run P Thomas and J Building and Home Improvement Specialists from Lochaber Street in Cardiff. They both admitted breaching the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations and each were told to pay a fine of £1,500.
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Date Published: September 27, 2014
Author: David Brown