Builder charged after carrying out dangerous gas work

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A Suffolk builder has received a substantial fine after being found guilty of undertaking dangerous gas work at a residence…

David Liptrott, Stonham, Suffolk, has been fined after being found guilty of carrying out work he was not registered to do.

He was contracted to extend a kitchen and replace an LPG-fired boiler at a house in Charles Tye, near Ringshall in August 2013. However, he was not on with the Gas Safe Register, which is a legal requirement.

The case, which was heard at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court on 7 July, stated that when the contract was agreed Liptrott claimed he was trading as a limited company, DPB Building services.co.uk Ltd. However, evidence showed this company had in fact been dissolved in December 2012.

During the process Liptrott removed the old boiler and fitted a new one. He was assisted by his son. The homeowners complained to Trading Standards officers and to the Gas Safe Register after becoming concerned by the standard of work carried out.

A Gas Safe Register investigator found the boiler was leaking gas and classified it as “Immediately Dangerous”. Other “At Risk” faults were also recorded.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Trading Standards also found electrical work that had been conducted by Liptrott was dangerous

This incident was not the first case brought against Liptrott. In 2008, he was the subject of a CORGI report and received a written warning from the HSE for carrying out unregistered gas work at a property in Cambridgeshire. At the time he was trading under the name D Liptrott & Sons.

Liptrott was sentenced to nine months in prison suspended for 15 months. He was order to pay the victims compensation of £27,490. Failure to pay this within a year will see him jailed for 15 months.

Additionally, he was ordered to pay £16,000 in costs after being found guilty of two breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, one breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act, and three breaches of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

HSE Inspector Anthony Brookes said after the case: “Having been previously warned about undertaking gas work when unregistered, David Liptrott should have known better than to accept a job he was not qualified, competent, or legally allowed to do.

“People can die as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning and gas explosions. It is therefore vital that only registered gas engineers, who are trained and competent, work on gas appliances and fittings.

“This prosecution shows the willingness of enforcement agencies to work together to bring unscrupulous traders that put safety at risk to justice.”

Councillor Colin Spence, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for public protection, said: “This case is a prime example of the great work that can be done when Suffolk Trading Standards and other agencies pool their expertise and resources. Together, they’ve ensured this rogue trader has been brought to justice.

“David Liptrott put the lives of a young Suffolk family at risk by carrying out his illegal work. I would encourage anyone needing work carried out on their property to go to www.checkatrade.com link to external website, the online directory of local tradesmen.

“All these traders have been checked by Suffolk County Council Trading Standards. I would also urge anyone that has had work carried out by David Liptrott to contact an engineer to have the work inspected, and ensure that their property and family are safe.”

Russell Kramer, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, also commented. He said: “Every Gas Safe registered engineer carries a Gas Safe ID card, which shows who they are and the type of gas appliances they are qualified to work on.”

“We always encourage the public to ask for and check the card and if they have any concerns about the safety of work carried out in their home, to speak to us.

“Every year we investigate thousands of reports of illegal gas work. Call us on 0800 408 5500 or visit our website at http://www.gassaferegister.co.uk link to external website.”

The Offsite Construction Survey

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