Rosekey and its director, Mr Kashmir Singh Atwal, have both been fined £90,000, after pleading guilty to breaches of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.
Rosekey, trading as Atwal Builders, had been excavating a site on Tower Bridge Road on 10 December 2004, ready to lay foundations for a new development. However, the trench Atwal dug undermined the foundations of the adjoining building, causing a partial collapse of the property, which housed a bookshop and two flats.In the top-floor flat, a resident noticed cracks appearing and widening across the internal walls of his property. He called the Fire Brigade, evacuated the premises, and with the resident and owner of the first-floor flat, watched as their homes collapsed. The residents lost their belongings and were left homeless, while the bookshop lost its stock and was forced to relocate.Rosekey was fined £90,000 and Atwal a further £90,000, in addition to costs, and £3,000 interim compensation to each of the three residents.The investigating HSE inspector Alec Ferguson said: 'This was an utterly needless and preventable incident caused by a company with a poor health and safety record. Atwal was in everyday control of the site, but failed to ensure that construction work was carried out safely, due to his neglect. Although it is fortunate that nobody was injured or killed, he has caused untold hardship, misery and distress to those affected by his ill-managed enterprise. I would remind all contractors of the dangers associated with excavating near to existing structures and to take every necessary precaution to provide adequate support to prevent a similar incident.'