Last reviewed 13 January 2022

A Stockport-based building contractor has been fined after carrying out unsafe excavation works, which resulted in the partial collapse of a large residential building.

Manchester Crown Court was told that, on 14 August 2019, Iproject Cheshire Limited had been carrying out refurbishment works on a building in Didsbury, Manchester.

Employees of the company undermined the foundations while digging out the ground around the building causing a partial collapse. While there were no injuries or fatalities, the collapse presented a risk to life.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company failed to properly plan or carry out the work safely. A risk assessment into the excavations had not been carried out, there was no safe system of work in place and the work had not been sufficiently supervised.

Having pleaded guilty to breaching s.2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974, the company was fined £31,500 and ordered to pay costs of £13,500.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector David Argument said: “This was a very serious incident, and it is fortunate that nobody was injured as a result of it.”

He pointed out that the incident could have been prevented if the company had carried out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment prior to commencing work on the excavations and had properly supervised the work.