Suspended prison sentence for illegal gas fitter working in South London
A gas fitter and building company have been sentenced following unsafe and unregistered gas work.
Southwark Crown Court heard that Valentin Pauliuc, trading as VP Plumbing & Heating, was hired in February 2019 by HSM Builders Limited, the principal contractor for a domestic renovation in South London, to carry out plumbing and gas work including the installation of a new gas boiler and gas cooker.
However, some of the gas work was later found by a Gas Safe Register inspector to be ‘Immediately Dangerous’, meaning it would be an immediate danger to life or property if connected to a live gas supply, as it was in this case.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that Mr Pauliuc was not registered with Gas Safe Register, which is a requirement under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 for people who undertake gas work, and that HSM Builders did not check that he was registered to do the work.
Valentin Pauliuc, of Downing Close, Harrow, pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 3(3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was sentenced to 10 months in custody, suspended for 12 months, and was placed under a curfew and was also ordered to pay £1,644 in compensation to the owners of the property, and £4,747.68 in costs.
HSM Builders Limited, of Cedar Avenue, Enfield, pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay £4,859 in costs.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Gordon Carson, said:
“All gas work must be done by registered Gas Safe engineers to ensure the highest standards are met to prevent injury and loss of life.
“HSE will not hesitate to take enforcement action against people who break the gas safety rules, which are in place to protect the public. We would encourage anyone who is asking for gas work to be done to make sure they check the engineer has the right skills and is registered with Gas Safe Register. Homeowners can ask to see the engineer’s Gas Safe Register identification card, which contains key information.
“By law, businesses should make reasonable efforts to obtain evidence that any person they intend to perform gas installation work, either under contract or on their own behalf, is a member, or employed by a member, of Gas Safe Register.“
All gas safe registered engineers carry a photo ID card which landlords, agents and tenants can check to ensure a contractor is legitimate. Advice on checking a gas safe ID card is available on the Gas Safe Register website.
Our free guide to gas safety in private rented homes is available here.
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