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Building owner fined following uncontrolled collapse onto high street

The owner of a building in Kent and the contractor employed to demolish it were fined following an uncontrolled collapse onto the high street.

The owner of a building in Kent and the contractor employed to demolish it were fined following an uncontrolled collapse onto the high street. The building situated on Ramsgate High Street in Kent was owned by Panther AL (VAT) Limited. Martin Elmes was contracted to undertake demolition work on the property.

A HSE investigation found that Elmes failed to properly plan and carry out unsafe demolition work.

The company that owned the property did not make any enquiries into the suitability or competence of the contractor to carry out the demolition.

Neither party applied for a road closure and consequently members of the public were put at risk.

Panther AL (VAT) Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 at Canterbury Crown Court, was fined £160,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,128.89.

Martin Elmes of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 25(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years.

The case highlights how building owners have a responsibility to appoint competent contractors and those carrying out the demolition must plan and devise a safe plan protecting both the workers and members of the public. 

More information on this case can be found at hse.gov.uk.