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  • Refurbish/Develop

    Chimney repair on roof

    I have someone who is advertising in a local magazine as a chimney and wood burning installer/repair specialist scheduled to do some repair on my chimney pot and put a cap on it.  He is using a ladder.

    Someone I spoke to said he should be using scaffolding and if he falls off I will be liable.

    I put this to him and he said he is fully insured to work at all heights. Does anyone know the facts about this please?

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    My understanding is you hire him as an expert, he undertakes the responsibility. If you hired someone like British gas they insist on scaffolding as they could be sued by their employee but for a contractor they are liable for themselves unless you have been negligent in some way

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    Slowly working towards financial freedom

    Thank you so much I've asked him for a copy of his risk assessment and insurance. Hoping he doesn't do a runner but I am not expecting so.

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    I’m not a legal expert but from what I can tell the differentiation in law appears to be between owners who exercise control or some control and those who do not exercise control over works.

    For example, an owner who set up a ladder inappropriately, or provided a ladder that was not fit for purpose (ie too short) HAVE been found liable.

    Those who have left the contractor to make their own risk assessment and provide their own equipment - provided they have made the contractor aware of any potential risks /hazards on the property that would directly affect their own risk assessment  - appear to not be found liable.

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    Many thanks he is supplying his own ladder and has been round to check the location. Ive now asked for a copy of risk assessment and insurance very politely blamng my well meaning friends.

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    Just my opinion but...

    As you are not a qualified roofer or builder yourself (im assuming) you have to rely on the tradespeople you employ to work safely and professionally. I wouldn't dream of telling a tradesperson how they should do their job because then i would be responsible if something went wrong.

    If you have concerns about safety and you think he might be cutting corners you might be able to get advice from your local authority building control or a related professional body. I'd take any advice, even from well meaning friends with a pinch of salt.

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    HI,

    I work in property management and am responsible for health and safety - although the regs are different for residential, some of the pointers I think are worthy of note.

    I always ask my home contractors to provide a copy of their insurance (which if they have it is never a problem) and I point out any difficult areas (wet decking does not make safe ladder conditions)

    Does he have someone footing the ladder? - Does he have a plan for working in the wet or high winds - does he have an emergency plan (in case he does fall) Is the ladder tall enough to reach beyond the works, so that he himself is not stretching?

    Using ladders is not illegal, although in my opinion the scariest sentence is 'I've done this for years love and never fallen foul!'  You have shifted the liability by employing him, but it is worth ensuring he is a capable man, working for a bonified company - not just a chap trying to make a quick buck and cutting safety corners.

    In summary my personal opinion is - if you conduct your own due diligence there is no reason to worry.

     Liz


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    Liz Large,

    Owner of a few properties, Self manage and use an agent. I like to buy, renovate, sell on or keep. Bucket list includes building at least one house.


    Thank you I've not had a response yet to my text. He is supposed to be turning up tomorrow. I have asked for a copy of his insurance and reassurance he has completed a risk analysis so tomorrow will be interesting. Thanks for your guidance anyhow most appreciated.

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    Health and Safety is the one thing you cannot outsource or sub-contract. To discharge yourself all liability you need to delegate to someone who you are sure is responsible. So in your case this means you need to have done the proper checks that they are competent to do the work (not just the roofing but the safety aspects too). So asking your neighbour would leave you still liable. However engaging an expert and giving him adequate space and not interfering would see him take this over (in my view).

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    Chartered Accountant, Tax Advisor and Mortgage broker

    (and BTL portfolio owner)

    stuart@johnsonsca.com

    02039077022