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Crawley builder prosecuted for gas safety breaches

The senior partner of a building firm in Crawley has been fined after carrying out illegal and incompetent work on gas fittings and exposing a local family to the dangers of fire or explosion.

Sunil Vadher, of Marion Road, Furnace Green, Crawley, West Sussex, was one of two brothers running SR Brothers building firm, which had been hired to build an extension at the family’s home in Broadfield, Crawley. As part of the contract the brothers carried out gas work involving installing a new boiler and pipework for a gas cooker.

The family had several problems with the boiler and decided to have the gas installations checked after SR Brothers had stopped construction work at the property.

An inspection by Gas Safe Register, the professional body for registered gas engineers, found two defects classed as ‘immediate risk’, four ‘at risk’ and a further six that were found to be below current standards.

The findings were passed to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which prosecuted Mr Vadher for three breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 committed between July 2013 and February 2014.

Mr Vadher was fined a total of £1,000 and ordered to pay £870 in costs after admitting the four offences.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Stephen Green said: “Despite knowing that gas work can only be carried out by Gas Safe-registered engineers, Sunil Vadher chose to undertake the work himself to save money. In doing so, he exposed a couple and their three children – and anyone else in the immediate area – to a risk of fire and explosion.

“The family was also exposed to risks of asphyxiation and carbon monoxide poisoning.

“Sunil Vadher compounded the deception by providing the family with a boiler commissioning checklist, fraudulently using the details of a Gas Safe-registered installer, to intentionally mislead them into believing the work had been professionally signed-off.”