Greengates Builders Merchants

House sinks after big mistake by builder!


A COWBOY builder has been ordered to pay £12,000 after he caused a house to fall into a trench while working on a kitchen extension.

Bungling Paul Astbury, 50, was digging the foundations when the house next door sunk into the hole he had created.

The builder, who runs Astbury Design and Build, had filled the trench with concrete. But he dug it 2ft lower than the neighbouring property and overnight it partially collapsed.

Fortunately, no-one was in the house in Wolver­hampton, at the time of the work in February last year.

The front and side walls of the semi-detached house crumbled into the hole leaving the upstairs bedroom and downstairs dining room exposed.

Astbury was fined £7,500 and ordered to pay £4,500 in costs plus a £15 victim surcharge at Wolver­hampton Magistrates Court.

District Judge Graham Wilkinson said Astbury’s building methods were “potentially catas­trophic”.

He told him: “The work done was not of a high standard, you must have known that.”

Carrying out the work without insurance cover was “a major aggravating factor”.

The judge said: “Companies have to learn that when they take shortcuts there will be real financial hardship for them.”

Astbury, a former marine, pleaded guilty to failing to conduct excavations in such a way that residents were not exposed to risks under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The house owner, Yogie Kumar, 41, who had been renting out the property, was “shocked and upset” at the collapse.

He said: “The inspector said he had never seen anything like it. I am still in shock.”

“lets hope this never happens to you” says Greengates Builders Merchants Accrington, Lancashire.


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