PENARTH HOUSE-COLLAPSE: HEALTH & SAFETY EXECUTIVE ‘PRAISES’ VALE OFFICERS

The £800,000 house in Clinton Road - minus half its roof, minus its rear and minus its west wing

The £800,000 house in Clinton Road – minus half its roof, minus its rear and minus its west wing

The Vale of Glamorgan Council has issued a press release to  announce that it’s been praised by the Health and Safety Executive for the actions it took over last week’s collapse of a house undergoing major re-development in Clinton Road, Penarth.

The council says the Health and Safety Executive has praised what it calls “the quick and decisive actions of the Council’s Principal Building Control Officer, which led to the safe demolition of the dangerous structure, under the substantial pressure and scrutiny of the national media and concerned residents.”

The Health and Safety Executive says it had not been anticipated that their comment – made in a letter to the Vale of Glamorgan Council –  would “end up in a council press release”.

The roof is still there but walls have collapsed

Excavations for a large new basement were being dug down into the garden beneath.  The internal walls at the rear of the house collapsed leaving the rear roof unsupported (Wales News Service Photo)

As reported by PDN ( see – http://tinyurl.com/hszvdvp and http://tinyurl.com/zkakctm ) the house began to collapse on Friday June 10th . The emergency services,  utility companies, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s building control team attended the scene “to manage any risk to the public and surrounding properties”.

One next-door property was evacuated overnight pending further demolition of the structure t by a specialist company he following day.

Marcus Goldsworthy the Vale Council's head of regeneration and planning

Marcus Goldsworthy the Vale Council’s head of regeneration and planning

Marcus Goldsworthy, Head of Regeneration and Planning for the Vale of Glamorgan Council, said: “It is pleasing to see that our Building Control Team were instrumental in ensuring that the property on Clifton Road was made safe, promptly.  The decisive actions of the team have removed the immediate concerns of neighbours and residents.

Mr Goldsworthy says “Most building developments are completed without incident, but when called upon, our officers worked closely with the agencies on site, to minimise the risk to the public.”

The council says the Health and Safety Executive is continuing to investigate the circumstances of the collapse.

About NewsNet

Penarth Daily News email address dmj@newsnet.uk . Penarth Daily News is an independent free on-line fair and balanced news service published by NewsNet Ltd covering the town of Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, UK. All our news items are based on the information we receive or discover at the time of publication and are published on the basis that they are accurate to the best of our knowledge and belief at that time.
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30 Responses to PENARTH HOUSE-COLLAPSE: HEALTH & SAFETY EXECUTIVE ‘PRAISES’ VALE OFFICERS

  1. AK says:

    Well done, Building Control Officer!

    Decisive action is rare in Local Government.

  2. Penileaks says:

    ‘…………our officers worked closely with the agencies on site, to minimise the risk to the public.”

    But obviously not closely enough to realise the complex nature of the works being originally undertaken and to keep a close watch on what was going on at the site !

    • Anne Greagsby says:

      Spot on!

    • Modom says:

      Quite agree with Anne, this was a shoddy and dangerous piece of work, carried out by amateurs, with little knowledge and understanding.
      The Vale should have visited the site much earlier.

    • Greed Breeds Destruction says:

      This is just a fictitious self-congratulary load of codswallop. Any fool can see this is a complete farce. Shame on them all.

    • Greed Breeds Destruction says:

      Marcus Goldsworthy isn’t even bothered enough to get the street name right.

  3. Mark Foster says:

    “The decisive actions of the team have removed the immediate concerns of neighbours and residents.”

    These bastards make my blood boil. Goldsworthy is worth about £50,000 a year. Why did they approve this application in the first place? With a little bit of investigative journalism I’m sure the answer will come out.

    • ColinD says:

      not wanting to anger you further, but his salary is probably closer to £75,000

    • Greed Breeds Destruction says:

      Absolutely, this is an infuriating injustice. A bit of investigative journalism is exactly what it’s going to get.

  4. Martin Coffee says:

    Well done. It’s a shame that the rest of Barry cannot work with the same efficiency with regards to Pennarth.

  5. Peter Church says:

    Is the HSE having a laugh here?
    Praising VoG Building control on their speedy action when the house fell down.
    These are the same building control officers that failed to notice the house was held up by 2×4 timber?

    In other news:
    HSE praises VoG school catering by their swift action following the mass salmonellae poisoning.
    HSE praises VoG roads department on how well they dealt with the multi car pile up caused by numerous pot holes.
    HSE praise VoG leisure department on how speedily they dealt with the multiple casualties when Cogan pool was filled with sulphuric acid instead of water.

  6. Pauline Hodges says:

    Believe it or not, the Council aren’t to blame for everything despite what the regular commenters think

    • Penileaks says:

      If it is true that one of their Building Control Officers visited the site a day before the collapse (see Ian Symonds’ post above), then they certainly are at least partially to blame, because that excavation to the rear of the house was not carried out after he visited, it was the reason that the concerned neighbours called him out in the first place.

      If he did visit, then he and the VoG are at least partially to blame and if he didn’t visit, possibly not, but you would think that the Building Control Department would prioritise visits to certain sites that were out of the ordinary and I would have thought that this was one that should have been prioritised.

  7. ak says:

    Can you seriously believe that there are enough Building control Officers to carry out a detailed inspection of every phase of every building that is being built, altered, renovated in the V of G area ?

    I repeat – well done BCO, decisive action without hesitation. Just what Health and Safety is all about.

    • Penileaks says:

      ‘………decisive action without hesitation. Just what Health and Safety is all about.’

      Completely wrong AK.

      Health and Safety is all about preventing an accident or incident BEFORE it happens and it is all well and good praising people for their actions after and accident or incident has occurred and people working for the emergency services deserve praise for carrying out great work after some of these incidents occur. However, the idea behind H&S is to realise the risks and dangers posed by the work being carried out, including the planning of the works, the execution of the works, the risks posed by any machinery and materials to be used, the qualifications and experience of the people employed to carry out the works and possible risks to members of the public or others not directly involved in the work.

      That is just a very brief overview of what should be considered from an H&S point of view, before projects such as the one in question starts and as it progresses of course. It appears from what is evident in the photographs of the site before the collapse, that the contractor, the managing Architect (assuming there was one), or the local building control department, were negligent in their management of the H&S on site. They all have a duty of care and all have failed in that duty.

      The VoG Building Control must have many different projects to keep an eye on across the Vale, as has been stated above, but a project of this nature would surely stand out as one that should be carried out precisely from a technical point of view and obviously carries more risks than your average small extension or garage construction. For this reason, it should have been near the top of the list for visits by an officer, the appalling risk to life spotted and the works stopped before it got to the dangerous stage that it finally reached.

      Either the project was visited and the risks not seen or understood by the visiting officer in which case he should be removed from his job (although will probably be promoted knowing how local government works in the UK), or the site was not visited and therefore those managing the control department deserve severe reprimand.

      Let’s hope that there are prosecutions to follow, particularly to the contractors and any Architect involved in the management of the job, but I somehow doubt it.

      • ak says:

        Does a Building Control officer have the power to stop a private project, or simply to suggest improvements to the contractor / builder / architect ?

        The Council’s Safety Officer could stop the work by issue of a prohibition notice – but those powers are used rarely, and only if they actually visit the project.

      • Modom says:

        Couldnt agree more, well said.
        This project should have been inspected before it started.
        Prosecutions should indeed be in the offing, but like you, I suspect not.

      • Ian Symonds says:

        Well said Penileaks, you’ve saved me having to reply. It is obvious where AK is coming from with those comments and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I saw them or treat them with contempt. Who needs Superman when you have Building Control Officer.

        I have further information which I will post later.

  8. The Tax payer says:

    This job was designed to fail from the outset. Now the home owner will get to build a brand new home and my money says it will not match the existing style !!!!! 😎
    Also does anyone know who the contractor was who done such a fine job as he can come and work on my property then I can get to re build what ever I want aswell 😎

  9. Ian Symonds says:

    Please excuse me if I do not join in VoG’s backslapping. There is something very distasteful seeing self-congratulatory postings from officers when all I see is our much-loved former home being systematically destroyed, the latest image I have seen shows a digger demolishing my youngest daughter’s former bedroom. It is absolutely heart-breaking.

    Why has this happened? Gross incompetence and negligence all round come to mind. I have received loads of comment and support but two are pertinent to excuses that have been posted on this site:
    1. The day before the collapse neighbours were so concerned about the state of the works that they contacted Building Control. An officer came out, checked the works and reported to the neighbour that everything was in order and the building was quite safe. The next day the rear of the house collapsed.
    2. Is it true that contractors working inside the house (who apparently are different to the groundworks contractors) were so concerned for their safety (and lives) that they upped tools and fled the site?

    There needs to be a proper investigation into this and into the granting of the planning permission for works totally out of keeping with the neighbourhood. I suspect that there will be a cover-up as usual.

    • AK says:

      1. The day before the collapse neighbours were so concerned about the state of the works that they contacted Building Control. An officer came out, checked the works and reported to the neighbour that everything was in order and the building was quite safe. The next day the rear of the house collapsed.
      2. Is it true that contractors working inside the house (who apparently are different to the groundworks contractors) were so concerned for their safety (and lives) that they upped tools and fled the site?

      If the above is true, then that certainly puts a different slant on it.

      Reported like a Brexit report – only one side of the debate !

    • Frank Evans says:

      Incredible. A visit the day before it collapsed and he did not see anything wrong. AK I think you should keep quiet as you obviously are digging a hole for yourself. PS check the hole you are digging is well supported, unlike some of your comments☺

    • Penileaks says:

      If point 1 is correct, the VoG Building Control Officer who attended should be dismissed immediately at the very least for negligence in his duty of care to others ……oh, and he or she would be a completely incompetent idiot who should not be employed anywhere else in the construction industry….or anywhere else for that matter !
      If point 2 is true, then the building contractors who fled the job should be prosecuted for not reporting such a dangerous site, as they have an obligation under their duty of care to others to have done so.

    • William Thomas-Howells says:

      Sounds like your emotions are running high due to your former ownership of this property. It is a house that will be rebuilt. Nobody was hurt, and it sounds as if there was a structural failure that lead to the collapse. I find it a joke that Ian Symonds is receiving ‘support’ and ‘kind comments’ because he formerly owned he house. Are we all school children? Let the process come to completion and stop making such a fuss about a house build that unfortunately for the homeowners, has run into serious difficulties. Thankfully in the UK, we are governed by planning law and guidance that doesn’t take such alarmist behaviour into account. If it did, nothing would get done and we would all be living in caves and huts as it was the incumbent position of the time! Onward and upward I say.

  10. ak says:

    It was a straightforward question – does a building control officer have the power to stop a project ?

    Obvious where I was coming from ? You are so wrong, but it is an interesting debate.

    FYI, I don’t work in either local government nor any construction associated business.

    • Kevin Mahoney says:

      I’m not entirely sure of this situation but do know that two years ago I asked to Vale to investigate a builder who was erecting a wall at a house adjacent to the bus stop lay-by in South Rd Sully opposite the Post Office and who had cordoned off the pavement by knocking steel posts into the pavement and taping the pavement off forcing the public to literally stand in the lay-by as the bus pulled in.

      Building control called down pointed out to the builder that there were mains electrical cables not very deep under the pavement surface into which he had knocked the steel spikes into and that he was also not allowed to cordon off and block the pavement.

      The builder who had earlier given me a load of abuse when I had pointed this out, initially kicked off verbally with the inspector before being told that the site and his work would be shut down in an instant unless he immediately removed the spikes.

      Result, spikes removed and pavement reopened within 5 minutes.

      Which would suggest to me that the Vale do have such powers.

  11. Penileaks says:

    In reply to AK’s comments above:

    ‘Does a Building Control officer have the power to stop a private project, or simply to suggest improvements to the contractor / builder / architect ? ‘

    ‘The Council’s Safety Officer could stop the work by issue of a prohibition notice – but those powers are used rarely, and only if they actually visit the project.’

    If a Building Control Officer was worth employing, he would have stopped the work as soon as he spotted the problems and if he was ignored he would have direct contact with the Health and Safety Executive, who would have visited almost immediately, issued a prohibition order on the site and ensured that the area was safe for neighbours and the general public. Hopefully eventually prosecuting the contractor for the many breaches of H&S law.

    I have to say that anyone with a proper concern regarding safety to health by contractors or the like, is free to call the H&S Executive and report their concerns. The problem with anyone other than neighbours, the contractors employees and visiting council building control spotting what was wrong with this particular site was minimal, but how one of those in that group did not spot and report what was so obviously wrong and dangerous at this project, is staggering.

  12. M davies says:

    I seem to recall there have been several incidents in the past when buildings have had accidents resulting in their being knocked down and a very different replacement being constructed. Sounds like a familiar pattern may get repeated here. Why did this happen where were the council officials and were there site visits done?

  13. Peter Church says:

    AK Says:
    “Well done, Building Control Officer!
    Decisive action is rare in Local Government.”

    AK Says:
    “Well done Mr Chamberlain!
    Decisive negotiations is rare in European Politics”
    🙂

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