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Triple prosecution over partial collapse…

Client, principal contractor and demolition contractor fined after building collapse.

A client, principal contractor and demolition contractor have been fined following the uncontrolled collapse of part of a building that was being demolished in Kilmacolm, Inverclyde in 2015.

Paisley Sheriff Court heard that Taylor Grange Developments of Birmingham were the client for the demolition and new build project at the former Kilmacolm Institute. They engaged Glasgow based Allied Contracts Limited to act as Principal Contractor and they in turn appointed Altan Plant Hire Limited of Glasgow to carry out the demolition of the three-storey building.

The Court heard that, on 2 June 2015, workers with no demolition training were inside the building hand demolishing internal walls when a wall and ceiling collapsed onto one of them. One worker, Richard O’Hagen, was taken to hospital suffering from fractures to his neck, back and ankle.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that, as the client, Taylor Grange Developments Limited had failed to make suitable arrangements for managing the demolition project, failed to make suitable arrangements to ensure that demolition work could be carried out without risks, failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that the principal contractor they appointed complied with their legal duties.

The investigation also found that, as principal contractor, Allied Contracts Ltd failed to plan, manage and monitor the construction phase to ensure that the demolition work was carried out without risk to health and safety. They failed to appoint a demolition contractor who had the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and organisational capability to carry out the work safely, failed to regularly check standards of health and safety on site.

Furthermore, the investigation found that, as the contractor, Altan Plant Hire Ltd failed to plan the demolition safely and failed to take into account the risks to workers from structural collapse. The contractor failed to provide a safe system of work as they chose to use hand demolition methods rather than remote demolition by machine, they failed to ensure the electrical supply was isolated, failed to plan work for the safe removal of asbestos cement sheets, failed to provide edge protection around holes in the floor.

Taylor Grange Developments Limited of Water Street, Birmingham pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 4(1), (2)(a) and (2)(b) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The company was fined £4500.00

Allied Contracts Limited of Norfolk Street, Glasgow pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 13(1) and (4) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The company was fined £6000.00

Altan Plant Hire Limited of Aitkenhead Road, Glasgow pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 15(7) and 20(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The company was fined £20000.00

Speaking after the hearing HSE Principal Inspector Graeme McMinn said: “This serious accident could have led to multiple fatalities and was caused by three separate duty holders not complying with their legal duties.

“Altan Pant Hire used inexperienced and untrained workers to demolish the three-storey building. They wrongly decided to use hand methods to demolish the building when remote demolition by machine was a much safer option. Allied Contracts Ltd failed to appoint a competent contractor to who could carry out the work safely and then failed to make any checks on how the work was done. Taylor Grange Developments Limited, as client, set the tone for the project by failing to make suitable arrangements to ensure the demolition work would be carried out safely and failing to ensure that the principal contractor they appointed was complying with their legal duties.

This accident is a stark reminder of what can happen when clients, principal contractors and contractors fail to comply with their legal duties.”

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