Builder jailed for fitting a dodgy boiler

A BUILDER who put lives at risk by illegally carrying out his own gas and electric works has been locked up.

John Howe, 47, of Bush Mill Fold, Queensbury, was paid £28,000 to build a granny flat at the back of a house in Crestwood Close, Bradford.

He started work in May 2009 but by June 2010 the owner, Khalid Rehman, was frustrated with Howe after he failed to turn up several times on site and finish the work.

Another tradesman was called in, who advised Mr Rehman that the power connections in the new build could be dangerous.

Mr Rehman then asked Bradford Council’s building control to investigate and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) were notified.

They found that Howe, trading as J Howe Plumbing and Construction, had installed a gas boiler and hob which he left connected to the mains supply, despite not being a Gas Safe registered engineer.

He had also carried out electrical work which he left in a dangerous state.

Tests showed that the gas work was unsafe and the boiler could have been a danger to life or property if operated.

An electrical test concluded that Howe’s work posed an unacceptable risk of injury or death.

A prohibition notice was served on Howe last November preventing him from carrying out any domestic gas work until he becomes competent and Gas Safe registered.

He was brought before Bradford Magistrates’ Court where he admitted five breaches of health and safety laws and gas safety regulations and was jailed for four months.

After the hearing, Inspector Andy Denison, who investigated the case for HSE, said: “Mr Howe selfishly chose to put a future resident of this property in danger, and it could very easily have ended in tragedy.

“It is fortunate that his incompetent work was discovered by another builder and reported.”

Justin Booth, a building control surveyor for Bradford Council, said: “I hope this prosecution will serve as a warning to any other builders that they may be taken to court if they do not comply with regulations which are there to ensure people are safe in their own homes.”