Reports are coming in of a house collapse in Kingston Vale in London. The property was undergoing works and it seems this may have been the cause of the collapse. Luckily no one was in the house at the time.
With six similar occurrences easily found by doing a google search it begs the question, what is happening to the building trades? Recently we reported on the problems found in schools and other government buildings when works carried out were found to be sub-standard. These problems only came to light when a wall at a school collapsed, fortunately early in the morning before pupils arrived.
There are certainly enough regulations in the building trade which if followed should ensure that events like these do not happen. Regulations are updated as required as can be seen by the change in regulations regarding consumer units being in fireproof casings. This change due in part to an increase in house fires due to faulty workmanship during the installation of consumer units.
What is causing this trend of poor building standards? In London, certainly it would appear to have a lot to do with foreign labour being used to do work that is subject to regulations. Many firms must sub contract labour and will go for the cheapest option which often is a group who have no English language and therefore have no understanding of instructions unless a translator is available.
Even local councils have been known to employ labourers to do most works and only at the end is a qualified tradesman coming around to check the work and sign it off. This means any works below ground or behind walls are not necessarily up to standard as they have not been carried out by a qualified plumber or electrician, they have only been signed off by them.
What is it going to take for the Government to ensure that our buildings are safe? With all the construction going on around the country over the last few years, how long will it take before problems are realised and properties condemned?
It’s time for us the customers to ensure that works carried out are done by suitably qualified professionals, it won’t be the cheapest option but it will certainly be the safest.