During an unannounced visit to the manufacturer’s site in Blaenavon on July 27 last year, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found 54 timber-frame houses under construction with inadequate measures to prevent or control a potential fire.
Inspectors at the site found all the houses were under construction at broadly the same stage with little fire protection.
According to the inspector there was also a lack of site management control, insufficient means to detect a fire and raise the alarm, poor control of ignition sources and a general lack of emergency planning.
Workers were also at risk of being struck or crushed by construction vehicles on site.
Improvement Notices were served regarding fire and vehicle safety issues and these were complied with after two further inspection visits.
J G Hale Construction Limited, of Milland Road, Neath, South Wales, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 27 and 29 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 at Cwmbran Magistrates’ Court.
The firm was fined £40,000 and £60,000 respectively and ordered to pay costs of £4633.76 and a statutory surcharge of £120.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Liam Osborne said: “Hale Construction had been given plenty of warnings about fire-safety and traffic risks in the recent past, including from HSE.
“Timber-frame houses are perfectly safe once they’re finished and protected, but when under construction they can be very dangerous. Stringent fire-safety standards need to be in place well before the build starts, and then maintained and monitored”.