Builder ordered to pay £4k compensation over fire door installation in loft conversion

Fire doors slow the spread of a blaze
Fire doors slow the spread of a blaze in a house whilst helping to ensure those inside can leave the building safely (Image credit: Getty Images)

A builder who installed fire doors that left householders with a “potentially unsafe” house has been convicted under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

Ross Stephen Trutch must now pay £4,416 compensation to householders in Sherburn-in-Elmer, North Yorkshire, who hired his company Aztech Building and Maintenance Ltd to do a loft conversion for them when looking to find a builder.

What was the builder contracted to build?

A building inspector reportedly found that during the work, Trutch’s company, Aztech Building and Maintenance Ltd of Bradford, installed six standard fire doors as part of a loft conversion.

North Yorkshire Council trading standards officers began an investigation after receiving a complaint from the couple that had employed the builder. The work, which took place between March 2021 and September 2021, included supplying and fitting six fire doors, which had to comply with building regulations, reported The York Press.

Fire doors are designed to contain fire in one part of the building to limit damage and protect escape routes so everyone can leave the building safely.

What was wrong with the work?

Contractors added wood to the bottom of the six fire doors, however, the wood was not made of the same materials as the original door and had not been tested to see if it was fit for purpose.

The couple contacted North Yorkshire Council trading standards officers after cracks began to appear at the bottom of some of the doors.

The doors were found to not comply with fire safety regulations part B, which govern Providing escape routes from the home, restricting or preventing the spread of fire to or from neighbouring homes, restricting or preventing the spread of fire inside the home, and by providing essential access to firefighters.

Builder ordered to pay over £4,000 as work created a ‘potentially unsafe house’

View of red-brick building York Magistrates' Court in York, Yorkshire

The builder was taken to York Magistrates Court where it was found the work he had done made the house 'unsafe' (Image credit: Getty Images)

Trutch, 44, of High Street, Boston Spa, pleaded guilty to an offence under the unfair trading regulations.

York magistrates fined him £1,000 and ordered him to pay compensation to the householders of £4,416, prosecution costs of £813 and a statutory surcharge.

North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for managing the environment, Cllr Greg White, whose portfolio includes trading standards, said: “Fire doors slow the spread of fire through a property and give people in the building longer to get out safely.

“It is of great concern that a builder could act without the professional diligence that would be expected of him, leaving the householders who had relied on his expertise with a substandard product and a potentially unsafe house.

“I am pleased that the court acknowledged the impact of this and awarded compensation to meet the cost of remedial work.”

Sam Webb

Sam is based in Coventry and has been a news reporter for nearly 20 years. His work has featured in the Mirror, The Sun, MailOnline, the Independent, and news outlets throughout the world.  As a copywriter, he has written for clients as diverse as Saint-Gobain, Michelin, Halfords Autocentre, Great British Heating, and Irwin Industrial Tools. During the pandemic, he converted a van into a mini-camper and is currently planning to convert his shed into an office and Star Wars shrine.