‘I was terrified that the roof was going to fall in...’

Police promoting safety messages at Guildhall Walk in Portsmouth

  • Widow paid £7,000 for windows but was left with home that could collapse
  • Sonya Llloyd’s Wallington three-bedroom house still not fully restored to former glory
  • Anglian Windows and Steven Hines convicted over building regulation breaches
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DEVASTATED Sonya Lloyd wanted to start afresh when she moved into a new home close to her family.

But she was forced to go through 15 months of hell after a national company – Anglian Windows Ltd – and its Gosport-based contractor Steven Hines left her home in a state.

Sonya Lloyd  Picture Ian Hargreaves (151173-6)

Sonya Lloyd Picture Ian Hargreaves (151173-6)

Mrs Lloyd wanted to have larger patio windows installed in her living room at her home in North Wallington, Wallington, and paid £7,000 – but what followed left her terrified the roof could fall in.

Now Anglian and Hines have been convicted at Fareham Magistrates’ Court over building regulations breaches – with Anglian ordered to pay £9,620 over administrative breaches and Hines £2,720 for the works.

Mrs Lloyd was left with props holding up the back of her house for nearly a year. She told The News: ‘It’s all totally unnecessary. If the job had been done properly in the first place, a year of desperation, discomfort and frustration in trying to get something done would not have been necessary. I’m extremely tired because it’s been a great effort, I’m disillusioned because it was a large firm with a reputation. I really did think the place was going to come down.’

The sorry saga started when she asked Anglian in December 2013 to install a £7,000 uPVC window and door set across the width of the back of her house.

I really did think the place was going to come down

Homeowner Sonya Lloyd

Work finally started in April 2014 when contractor Hines, of Jamaica Place, Gosport, turned up.

Briefly unsupervised, he and a co-worker wheeled materials in her home, damaging a sofa, carpet and doors.

But that cosmetic damage was nothing compared to the ‘maze of cracks and broken bricks’ that started to appear.

Fearful of her safety and after hearing little from Anglian despite repeated contact she hired her own surveyor, whose report prompted the firm to fit supports. But even these were not adequate, Anglian admitted after a Fareham Borough Council investigation, which brought the firm to court.

One of the cracks that appeared in Sonya Lloyd's home

One of the cracks that appeared in Sonya Lloyd's home

Anglian apologised to Mrs Lloyd in November and another firm was contracted to carry out remedial work, with more damage found. That building work has been completed but her home has still not been fully restored.

Mrs Lloyd had moved into her home seven years ago from Gosport to be closer to her husband Dr Adrian Lloyd’s care home in Waterlooville. The Ministry of Defence scientist later died in 2009.

Mrs Lloyd added: ‘This place was my new start in life. There have been times when I’ve felt like moving away but now I’ve got through the court case.’

An Anglian Homes Improvement spokeswoman said the firm accepts the court’s decision and it was an isolated case. She said: ‘This case is very unfortunate and we are sorry for the inconvenience this has caused to our customer.’

She added: ‘Action has been taken internally regarding the individuals involved in this case.’

Contractor’s work led to a possible collapse

BOTH Anglian Windows and contractor Steven Hines pleaded guilty to their charges.

All of the offences related to the Building Act 1984 and included failing to get building control permission before starting the works.

Andrew Forrest, prosecuting, said: ‘Neither Anglian, having commissioned and designed the work, or Steven Hines, who undertook the works, ensured there was a sufficient lintel to support the loads of the building.’

He added Hines had to install his own lintel and this was not adequate.

Mr Forrest said: ‘Remedial works were carried out and during these, further offences were discovered.

‘Insufficient masonry had been installed above the lintel.

‘Instead of continuous masonry, randomly spaced pieces had been used.

‘This caused cracking to the internal skin of the wall and could have led to its collapse.’

Chairwoman of the magistrates Rosemary Coxon said: ‘Charges one to three concern Anglian.

‘We feel that while these were purely administrative and that it did not have an immediate impact on the house owner, Anglian should have known it was their duty to follow the administrative procedures.’

Mrs Coxon said the fault was with Hines for charges four and five so imposed no separate penalty for Anglian.

In relation to charge four, she added: ‘We felt that the builder should not have carried on building without the supply of the lintel.’

Anglian admitted charges one to five, and Hines, who was not in court, admitted charges four to seven.

1. Failing to apply for building regulation approval;

2. Failing to give 48 hours notice of works;

3. Failing to give notice of completion of works no later than five days after the works were completed;

4. Inadequate provision for a lintel over the newly-formed opening as part of the installation of a UPVC window/door set, this being insufficient to support the combined dead, imposed and wind loads;

5. Failing to provide adequate masonry returns/bearings to support the newly-installed lintel to offer suitable stability to the walls of the building whereby the width of the masonry returns provided fell short of the minimum recommendation;

6. Installed insufficient masonry to the internal skin of the masonry wall above the newly formed lintel;

7. Failed to provide adequate provision for the conservation of fuel and power or heat loss during the installation of the UPVC window/door set whereby what you installed comprised of the reveal being closed through the use of plasterboard.

Decision was taken to prosecute over dangerous works

TAKING the case to court sends a warning message to people considering working without following building regulations.

Fareham Borough Council prosecuted Anglian Windows Ltd and Steven Hines over the works at Sonya Lloyd’s Wallington home.

Councillor Keith Evans, executive member for planning and development, said: ‘The severe nature and consequences of the breaches were so blatant, and had such a devastating impact on our resident that we had no choice but to prosecute. The criminal offences left her home in a dangerous condition for a considerable period of time and fully warranted prosecution.’