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Expert Witness : Building and Property

Building company fined nearly £½m following roof fall death

Picture of Menai Centre for Your Expert Witness storyNorth Wales-based building contractor Watkin Jones and Son Ltd has been ordered to pay a total of £548,000 following the death of a roofing worker who fell through a roof while working on the construction of the Menai Centre in Bangor, Gwynedd.

Yorkshireman Thomas Whitmarsh was employed by a roofing contractor working for Watkin Jones and Son as a sub-contractor in May 2007. He fell nearly six metres through an unguarded opening in the roof to the floor below, sustaining serious head injuries.

After spending several months in hospital Mr Whitmarsh was making a gradual recovery; however, the brain injury he suffered exposed him to a much higher degree of infection. He contracted acute meningitis and died on 17 December 2009.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 October 2012 17:26


MPs call for revolution in public sector building procurement

Picture of Olympic Stadium under construction for Expert Witness storyThe All Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment has called on the Government to implement what it has termed 'a procurement revolution' to deliver significantly better value for money across the public sector.

Among the proposals in its report A Better Deal for Public Building is a call to adopt the procurement processes employed by the Olympic Delivery Authority, which was hailed for its successful delivery of top-class projects, to budget and on time.

The report endorses the Government's aim of achieving 20% cost savings for public construction projects over the course of the current Parliament, as outlined in its Construction Strategy, but it says that, unless Government implements its proposals, there is a danger that the savings will be achieved at the expense of good quality design.

Last Updated on Friday, 21 September 2012 14:11


Figures show private housebuilding slightly up; public sector still in doldrums

Picture of new flats for Expert Witness storyFigures from the NHBC have revealed that private-sector housing registrations in the UK had their best month for over a year in July, with 8,105 registrations. However, that still leaves private-sector registrations down 10% for the rolling quarter May to July compared to the same period last year (21,574 and 23,996 respectively).

Across all sectors registrations were down 21% compared to the same three months last year (28,951 against 36,716), with public sector registrations continuing to decline: 42% down during the rolling quarter.

Last Updated on Sunday, 26 August 2012 16:28


Woodexperts integral to windmill’s longevity

Your Expert Witness Skidby WindmillSkidby Windmill, situated near to Beverley in the East Riding of Yorkshire, is said to be England’s most northerly working windmill, and the only one north of the Humber. About 25 years ago, there was a near-fatal catastrophe, when one of the sail beams broke off during milling, on a Bank Holiday afternoon, and crashed through the roof of the adjoining building, which was full of tourists!

Luckily, no-one was hurt, but the local Council who owned the Mill – at that time, they were called Beverley Borough Council – approached Jim Coulson, director of Ripon based TFT Woodexperts, and asked him to immediately inspect the broken beam and then to initiate an ongoing Inspection Regime for the future.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 August 2012 11:13


Surveying experts offer free service

Expert Witness Free Property Advice signThe RICS is currently bringing to public attention the Chartered Surveyors Voluntary Service (CSVS) – a registered charity supported by the institute.

The service provides free property advice to people who would otherwise be unable to get professional assistance in the normal way. Chartered surveyors working for the CSVS give their advice on a voluntary basis. The free service is available to people living in private rented housing, council or housing association accommodation, or who own their own homes. Initial contact is with a Citizens Advice Bureau or other advice agency, who will appoint a CSVS surveyor.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 July 2012 18:26