Contractor breached safety rules after roofing work put residents in 11 homes in Birmingham at risk

Wates has been fined over safety breaches after occupants of 11 houses in Birmingham were put at risk of a carbon monoxide leak.

Wates Construction has been fined £7000 plus costs of £2491 by Birmingham Magistrates Court following a prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive.

The case followed roofing work carried out by subcontractors working for Wates on the properties between June and September 2006. The integrity of warm air flues was discovered to have been disrupted in 11 of the properties on Rednal Road, potentially causing a build-up of lethal carbon monoxide in the loft space.

The court found that another subcontractor had warned Wates about the need to check the flues after the roofing work had been completed, which Wates failed to do.

The HSE has now warned construction firms to check the safety of gas flues following roofing work.

HSE investigating inspector Mike Ford said: “The dangers of damaging flues are well known in the building and refurbishment trade. Such dangerous work as that seen in Rednal Road puts lives at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning.”

A Wates spokesperson said: “This incident happened two years ago and we immediately made fundamental changes to the way we carry out roofing repairs. We regret the incident. Safety is one of our key values and we have taken this issue very seriously in order to ensure it never happens again.”

About 25 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by appliances and flues that have not been properly installed or maintained.