Building inspectors rapped over checks on Norton fire jockey death flats

Published in News York Press: Photograph of the Author by , mark.stead@thepress.co.uk

BUILDING inspectors have been given a "very severe reprimand" over checks on a block of flats in North Yorkshire where a fire killed two teenage jockeys.

Jamie Kyne, 18, and Jan Wilson, 19, died in the blaze at The Tannery in Buckrose Court, Norton, in September 2009. Labourer Peter William Brown, 39, was later jailed indefinitely after being convicted of their manslaughter.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority subsequently made a formal complaint to the Construction Industry Council (CIC) over the "conduct" of an approved building control inspector, JHAI Limited. It was "dissatisfied" with the way the company dealt with a building control submission relating to the flats which required them to consult with the authority.

A statement from the authority said an initial complaint from North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, using JHAI's internal complaints procedure, had not reached a "satisfactory outcome". A formal complaint was then made to the CIC, which licensed JHAI.

The complaint has now been upheld following a disciplinary hearing. A statement from the CIC today said: "The disciplinary panel decided that there had been a very serious breach and the appropriate sanction was a very severe reprimand.

"This sanction will be published on the CIC website for 12 months. The disciplinary panel was pleased to hear that JHAI had implemented changes to their procedures since the date of the complaint.

"The disciplinary panel considered that, in order to assure CIC that the reported procedural improvements have been made and are effective, an audit of these should take place within the next six months."

The CIC said the sanction did not prevent JHAI continuing to operate as an approved inspector. It also said the formal complaint made by the fire authority was confidential.

JHAI Limited's chairman Matt Read said the error related to the issuing of a "final certificate" for Buckrose Court without consulting the fire authority, although the block did comply with building regulations. He said the fire which killed Mr Kyne and Miss Wilson was "dreadful and tragic", and the "lapse in procedure" happened under the company's previous owners.

"In consultation with North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, we have undertaken a top-to-bottom review to ensure this type of procedural error could not happen today," he said.

"The CIC has complimented us on the thoroughness of this review and on the staff training we have implemented. We approve more than 6,000 projects every year and this is the only time any kind of complaint against us has ever been upheld."

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