Washington architects fined £1,500 over fire risk at Middlesbrough care home

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A WASHINGTON firm was fined £1,500 over a potential fire hazard at a new care home.

A court was told that architects Mario Minchella Ltd had not given contractors relevant information about the flammability of the timber frame used in the construction of the new building in Middlesbrough in October 2012.

A routine inspection by a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector found that the separation distance between the new timber frame building and an adjacent occupied care home was insufficient. The HSE said that had the timber frame caught fire there was a serious risk it would have spread to the care home, putting the lives of residents and staff inside at risk.

HSE found there was nothing in the design specification produced by Mario Minchella Ltd to alert construction workers about the fire risk and the need to take action accordingly.

Teesside Magistrates’ Court was told the company should have specified fire-resistant timber needed to be used or that it considered the sequence of construction so that the timber frame of each floor was clad before the next one was constructed, reducing the amount of timber exposed at any one time.

Mario Minchella Ltd, of Swallow House, Parsons Road, Washington, was fined £1,500 after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

The company was also ordered to pay £816 costs.