Rogue traders – gas works

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I have today read yet another frightening, but sadly all too common, case of rogue trading on the Health & Safety Executive's (HSE) website. Put another way, "Dodgy Workman at Work". We've all met them!

In summary, a self-employed builder was to remove a gas boiler from domestic premises and replace it with a wall mounted gas boiler and associated pipework. He duly undertook said work.

However, following repeated breakdowns and shoddy work, the unfortunate householder was left with damage to the property, no room control thermostat and other electrical faults, not to mention badly fitted, inappropriate pipework. Nor was an instruction manual supplied.

He has now been fined, ordered to pay costs and compensation.

The point is, this man was not even Gas Safe Registered. This is a legal requirement. As is the requirement that a person must be competent to undertake gas works; the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 say so.

He put both property and life at risk.

There are so many hard working builders out there trying hard to earn a decent living. They are competent, honest and reliable. But it takes just one negative report to cast doubt on them all.

Furthermore, there is so much press these days about the alleged claims culture in which we live. I am a personal injury lawyer but am firmly of the view that it is simply best to take avoidance measures where possible. That is what health & safety is all about. Unfortunately, sometimes accidents do just happen and we have to live with the consequences, difficult as it may be. But why should an innocent party be refused a remedy when on the wrong side of a wrongdoing? Not many take pleasure in pursuing litigation, but sometimes it just has to be done.

I am just thankful that in this instance no one was hurt and the damage was put right. But this story could so easily have had a different ending. Perhaps this litigation will send a message to others out there who may be tempted to cut corners in an attempt to make a fast buck.

Let the lesson be this…. Please take some time to check out your builders, or for that matter anyone who undertakes work on your behalf. The risk of not doing so doesn't bear thinking about.

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