Suspended sentence for builder who failed to move boiler chimney/flue

An Essex builder who built a home extension around a gas boiler chimney/flue has been given a suspended prison sentence for his dangerous work.

Colchester Magistrates’ Court was told that the work put three people at risk of CO poisoning when, in June 2017, Daniel Cox, trading as DEC Roofing & General Building Ltd, was contracted to build a single storey extension to the rear of a house on Digby Road, Corringham.

When Mr Cox was assessing the work, the homeowner told him that the boiler chimney/flue exited the rear of the property – where the extension was to be built. Mr Cox said this would not be a problem and that he would arrange for a plumber to move the flue.

However, he did not arrange for the flue to be moved, and the homeowner was alerted to products of combustion being released into the finished extension when her CO alarm went off. An investigation by the HSE found that DEC Roofing & General Building Ltd failed to ensure the flue was moved to a safe place before the extension was built.

Daniel Cox of Corringham, Essex, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8(1) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for 24 months, plus 30 days rehabilitation and 150 hours of unpaid community work. He was ordered to pay £3,000 over the next six months.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Jessica Churchyard said: “Mr Cox showed a clear disregard for the law and put his customers’ lives at risk by not arranging for a competent person to move the gas boiler flue to a safe place before the extension was completed.

“This offence was carried out with consent and connivance, and was clearly attributable to Daniel Cox, as the director of DEC Roofing & General Building Ltd and the person who undertook the work. Daniel Cox’s poor workmanship could easily have caused the homeowner and her family to suffer carbon monoxide poisoning.”

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