Essex plumber, Lee Lawrence, has received a twelve-month suspended prison sentence and 180 hours of unpaid community service from Colchester Magistrates’ Court after his firm, Amber Plumbing Solutions, fitted a dangerous boiler in what was to be a child’s bedroom in a house in Clacton-On-Sea. Gas Safe and the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) conducted a joint investigation that concluded in Lee Lawrence being charged with three violations of gas safety regulations.
The firm had before carried out bathroom work for the household and they were subsequently asked to return to perform gas work. This involved installing a gas cooker in the kitchen and a boiler in a bedroom. After the boiler’s connection in July it frequently cut out, which led to the family contacting a Gas Safe registered engineer. This engineer then alerted Gas Safe and HSE as he as so concerned about the safety of this boiler.
Several defects were found with the work carried out by the Amber Plumbing Solutions by a Gas Safe regional investigations officer. HSE also found that the advertising flyers advertising the firm and also their website had the Gas Safe logo and falsely stated that the firm was a Gas Safe registered company.
Lee Lawrence was found guilty of two violations of Regulation 3 (7) of the Gas Safe (Installation & use Regulations) 1998 and breaching Regulation 4 of the Gas Safety regulations. He was fined £5,400 in compensation to the householder and £2,385 costs in combination with his suspended prison sentence and hours of unpaid community service.
Following the hearing Edward Crick, a HSE Inspector, said that Mr Lawrence’s actions could have had far more serious consequences and that him falsely claiming to be a member of the Gas Safe Register is a serious offence. He then stated –
“Any person having work done on gas appliances or pipework should thoroughly check the credentials of the individual doing the job. A registered Gas Safe engineer will be delighted to give you their registration number and this can be checked immediately on line or over the phone. HSE will take robust action against those who flout the regulations.”