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Updated Nov 3, 2022

Contractor and director fined over fire failings

A building contractor has been fined £600,000 and its director fined £4,200 and ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work, following a repeated failure to manage the risk of fire during work at a construction site.

In January 2018 the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an inspection to investigate safety failings by S&S Quality Building Contractors Limited at a construction site at Regent House, Brentwood, Essex after a concern was raised that people were sleeping on site. The investigation, assisted by Essex Fire & Rescue Service, identified failings in fire management at the site which created risks to workers and members of the public who were visiting show flats outside of business hours.

It also found that Regent House was being poorly managed, with construction work carried out in an unsafe manner which could have resulted in a fire.

S&S Quality Building Contractors had already been subject to HSE interventions after risks of a fire had been identified across a number of sites over several years. Evidence gathered during the most recent HSE investigation found that the company director Shlomo Pines regularly attended the Regent House site but had failed to implement improvements from the previous HSE interventions.

S&S Quality Building Contractors pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, were fined £600,000 and ordered to pay costs of £36,894 at Basildon Crown Court on 25 October 2022.

Company director Shlomo Pines also pleaded guilty to contravening the Act, and received a community order to complete 100 hours of unpaid work with a fine of £4,200.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Prentiss Clarke-Jones said: "S&S Quality Building Contractors Limited completely ignored the importance of fire safety measures on a construction site led by a director who wilfully chose to ignore the risks despite evidence he knew how to make things safe. This unsurprisingly resulted in a site where risks were also ignored by his workers.

"Follow the guidance, get competent advice and take responsibility that the law requires at the very least, or someone may get hurt, which thankfully did not eventuate here."