Builder digs trench and collapases house next door

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You would not be to happy if you next door neighbour employed this builder, he dug a trench a bit to close and a bit to deep to the house next door and was warned by the consultant not to undermine the existing foundation.

Wolverhampton magistrates court had  heard that Astbury Design and Build Ltd had been employed to build an extension at a property in Blackburn Avenue.

Paul Astbury dug a foundation trench to the left of the house but it was far too close to, and the same depth as, the foundations of the semi-detached home.

On the night of 23 February 2012, the night after the trench was dug, part of the house, an upstairs bedroom and integral garage collapsed and caused considerable damage.

Around a third to a half of the property had to be demolished, but the house has since been re-built. Fortunately, the tenants were not at home, and there were no injuries.

An HSE investigation found Astbury Design and Build had failed to notify the owner of the next door property of the intention to dig the trench, or how he would be doing it, as required under Party Wall Notification laws.

The neighbour had already appointed a party wall consultant regarding the ongoing works as there were negotiations about shared guttering and the fact the party wall blocked an existing window in the garage.

It seems this all went to pot on this job.