A young family’s new boiler, installed by a builder who wasn’t on the Gas Safe Register, was found to be leaking gas, a court heard. David Liptrott fitted the LPG-fired boiler during kitchen extension work at a house in Charles Tye near Stowmarket, Suffolk, in August 2013. He claimed to be trading as a limited company, despite DPB Building Services.co.uk Ltd having been dissolved eight months earlier.
The Suffolk-based builder was found guilty at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court of two breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations, three breaches of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations and a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Magistrates gave him a nine-month jail sentence, suspended for 15 months, and ordered him to pay costs of £16,000 and £27,490 compensation to his victims. Failure to pay the compensation within a year would result in 15 months in prison.
The court heard that the boiler was found to be leaking after the homeowners raised concerns about the standard of the work with the Gas Safe Register and Trading Standards. An investigator recorded numerous at-risk faults and classified the boiler as immediately dangerous. Trading Standards and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) later found evidence of dangerous electrical work.
Builder had previous warning
Magistrates heard that in 2008, the HSE had given Mr Liptrott, trading as D Liptrott & Sons, a written warning for undertaking unregistered gas work at a property in Cambridgeshire. HSE Inspector Anthony Brookes said following that warning, Mr Liptrott should have known better than to do work he was not legally allowed to perform, as he was not on the Gas Safe Register.
He said with unsafe work raising the risk of people being killed by gas explosions or carbon monoxide poisoning, it was crucial that gas appliances and fittings were only worked on by trained, competent and registered engineers.
Suffolk County Council’s public protection cabinet member, Councillor Colin Spence, said that Mr Liptrott was a rogue trader who had put the young family’s lives at risk. He urged anyone who had gas work done by the builder to have it checked by a registered engineer.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: July 9, 2015
Author: Jonathan Brown