Blame the Workmen and Their Tools


Wear and tear is part of every property owner's repertoire. However, knowing when to repair could not only save you grief, but a lot of money in the long run, from disgruntled or worse still, injured tenants.

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Similarly, if you have employed someone to undertake work at your property and they have done a shabby job or left it incomplete, you will want to read on.

Unstable Blackpool Balconies

A resident from Blackpool recently cheated death after the balcony at his front door collapsed, leaving him just moments to jump inside his flat. As the resident was returning home after doing his weekly shop, he felt the balcony shift underneath his feet.

It was known to the housing association that owned the flats for several years that the walkways were unstable. They took responsibility of them from Blackpool Borough Council in 2007. Prior to this, a structural engineer had identified the instability of the walkways and further tests revealed structural problems.

Many of the staff who worked for Blackpool Council carried on their roles after the takeover, taking with them the paperwork that identified the problem with the balconies. Despite this, they did nothing to rectify it.

Temporary scaffolding was erected in 2009 under some of the balconies but not the one that fell apart. In 2012, work began to replace those balconies that had been temporarily secured, but the site manager expressed his concern that all balconies in that particular area needed replacing. His concerns fell on deaf ears with no action taken.

Not only did this disregard for public safety put residents at risk, the Blackpool company misled the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) about the knowledge it had regarding the structural faults. Documents were later uncovered to show they had full knowledge of the situation.

The company was fined £50,000, and ordered to pay over £27,000 in legal costs after pleading guilty to breaking the law in regards to health and safety.

Incompetent Builders Put Homeowners at Risk

As homeowners, we all know that getting work done to your property not only improves its value and aesthetics, but it can help to make a house feel like a home. It's important to employ someone you know can perform the job correctly, but unfortunately, cowboy builders are still out there. This is what a woman from Waterloo found out when she hired a builder to construct a wall in her garden. She suffered from a broken jaw, a double fracture to her right ankle and cuts and bruises after a 2 metre earth-retaining wall collapsed.

Despite cracks appearing in the wall during its construction, indicating a problem, precautions were not taken to strengthen the structure leading to an injury. The man in charge of work on the site was fined £140 by the Magistrates court and ordered to pay £100 in costs.

According to the HSE the builder failed to, "recognise the dangers posed by the structure he built" and failed to do anything when cracks began to appear.

Whether you are a homeowner or you rent from a housing association or the council, being safe in your own home is paramount. Poor workmanship undertaken by clumsy incompetent building contractors or engineers should not stop you from enjoying your home and your health. Stories like these go to show why we have strict rules for health & safety regulation in this country.

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