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Building firm director ignored fire risk warnings

A London building contractor has been fined £600,000 and its director given community service following serious and repeated failings in managing the risk of fire on a construction site.

In January 2018 the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) visited the construction site of Regent House, Brentwood, Essex after concern was raised that people were sleeping on site.

Contractor S&S Quality Building Contractors Limited from Cricklewood was converting a former office block to 31 residential apartments.

The subsequent HSE investigation, which was assisted by Essex Fire & Rescue Service, identified failings in fire management at the site that created risks to workers and members of the public who were visiting show flats outside of business hours.

The environment at Regent House was poorly managed and the construction work was being carried out in an unsafe manner that could have resulted in a fire, the HSE found.

S&S Quality Building Contractors had previously been subject to HSE interventions after risks of a fire had been identified across a number of sites over several years. Evidence gathered by the HSE indicated that the company director Shlomo Pines regularly attended the Regent House site and failed to implement improvements from previous HSE interventions.

S&S Quality Building Contractors Limited of Hawthorn Business Park, Granville Road, London NW2, pleaded guilty to breaching 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £600,000 and ordered to pay costs of £36,894 at Basildon Crown Court on 25 October 2022.

Company director Shlomo Pines, of St Johns Road, Golders Green, London pleaded guilty to contravening Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He received a community order to complete 100 hours of unpaid work and was fined £4,200.

HSE inspector Prentiss Clarke-Jones said after the hearing: “S&S Quality Building Contractors Limited completely ignored the importance of fire safety measures on a construction site led by a director who wilfully chose to ignore the risks despite evidence he knew how to make things safe. This unsurprisingly resulted in a site where risks were also ignored by his workers.

“Follow the guidance, get competent advice and take responsibility that the law requires at the very least, or someone may get hurt, which thankfully did not eventuate here.”

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