Director of building firm fined for fitting substandard fire doors

The director of a building firm that left householders at risk after installing substandard fire doors has been fined at York Magistrates’ Court.

Ross Stephen Trutch, a director of Aztech Building and Maintenance Limited, of High Street, Boston Spa, had pleaded guilty to an offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

North Yorkshire Council Trading Standards Services began an investigation after receiving a complaint from a Sherburn-in-Elmet couple who had contracted the company to undertake a loft conversion. The work included supplying and fitting six fire doors, which had to comply with building regulations.

Shortly after fitting, cracks began to appear towards to bottom of some doors and the householders asked Building Control to inspect the work.

A building inspector found the doors did not comply with building regulations because extra pieces of wood had been added to the bottom of standard fire doors. These additions were not of the same construction as the original door and their effectiveness as a fire door had not been tested.

The magistrates accepted that there had continued to be supply chain delays for construction products after the Covid-19 pandemic, but told Trutch he had taken shortcuts and that the doors he had fitted had left the house in an unacceptable state.

He was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay compensation to the householders of £4,416, costs of £813 and a victim surcharge during a hearing before magistrates on Friday (August 4).

North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for managing our environment, Cllr Greg White, whose portfolio includes trading standards, said: “Fire doors slow the spread of fire through a property and give people in the building longer to get out safely.

“It is of great concern that a builder could act without the professional diligence that would be expected of him, leaving the householders who had relied on his expertise with a substandard product and a potentially unsafe house.

“I am pleased that the court acknowledged the impact of this and awarded compensation to meet the cost of remedial work.”

Director of building firm fined for fitting substandard fire doors
One of the fire doors fitted by Aztech Building and Maintenance Limited.