A property developer has been jailed after his perilous project caused the collapse of a roof, injuring one person.
Riaz Ahmad had employed builders with no experience for a demolition project based in Oldham, Manchester.
The builders knocked down almost every internal wall on the property before an Oldham Council building surveyor informed the Health and Safety Executive – the organisation which assesses occupational risk in workplaces.
HSE inspected the property and concluded that emergency demolition was necessary, and so the council obtained a demolition order. However, before the building could be demolished safely, its roof and rear collapsed and injured one person.
What remained of the building was demolished safely afterwards, but this caused disruption to residents and businesses nearby who had to be evacuated.
Ahmad was jailed for eight months and ordered to pay £65,000 in costs.
His prosecution has been commended by the Local Authority Building Control, which promotes and supports compliance with building regulations. Deputy Managing Director Lorna Stimpson said the case was successful due to the cooperation between local building control, emergency services and the HSE.
She said: “In the future, building standards must have power to prosecute offenders in the knowledge their costs will be recovered and the offender will receive a punishment – like in this case – that provides a real deterrent not to ignore building safety regulations.”
HSE Inspector David Argument said: “The incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.
“Duty holders should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards”.