Two Manchester housing companies have been fined a total of over £14,000 after they were found guilty of failing to reach basic standards of safety at a housing development in the Ardwick area. The companies – UK Real Estate and Cost Design – are both members of the MCR property group and pled guilty to the charges at a Magistrates Court hearing. UK Real Estate was fined £4,750 in addition to £2,609 costs; while Cost Design was fined £4,500 plus £2,590 costs.
Health and safety surveyors for the local council had found significant breaches in fire safety regulations, including windows needed for smoke ventilation which were blocked by scaffolding and an absence of outside fire barriers and self-closing doors – both of which are designed to control the spread of fire within a building. In addition the fire escape exits at the back of the building required passage through a building site
Students moving into the accommodation had previously expressed concerns about the housing, which comprises 55 flats, when they discovered that much of the development remained unfinished. Following the examination by building control surveyors, the development was classified as unfit for occupation. Councillor Paul Andrews, of neighbourhood services, said:
“The lives of students were put at substantial risk by those involved with this development. The court has rightly hit them in the pocket. This should serve as a warning to all developers that they need to work with the council to ensure properties are fully compliant with regulations before tenants move in.”