Two 'woefully unqualified' tradesmen who failed to put adequate health and safety precautions in place in order to 'save money', which led to the partial collapse of a building, have avoided prison.

Ajmal Khan, 40, and Daniel Georghiou, 40, were sentenced at Preston Crown Court on Friday after pleading guilty to contravening health and safety regulations and breaching general duties of an employer.

On October 21 2018, a large part of Systems House, which is occupied by Northwest Plumbing Supplier Ltd, on Accrington Road in Burnley, collapsed due to unsafe and unregulated extension works being carried out on the top floor of the shop.

The building collapse on Accrington Road in Burnley

The court heard how the sole managing director of the company, Khan - who was not present in court, and had not appointed a legal representative to mitigate his case - had in 2017 wanted to improve access to top floor of the building by re-siting a large pillar.

Plans were drawn up and approved by the local authority, and in August 2018 quotes undertaken for the work by a registered surveyors, Daniel Barton Ltd.

Prosecuting, Brett Wilson, told the court that in order to cut costs, instead of employing Daniel Barton Ltd, Khan employed Georghiou, who, despite ordering equipment and carrying out initial works, quickly became aware that he was lacking in the necessary experience to complete such a construction.

However, Georghiou, a builder and bricklayer of 22 years, continued with the works.

The building collapse on Accrington Street in Burnley

The building collapse on Accrington Road in Burnley

Mr Wilson said: "Khan turned his back on the professional advice and turned to Mr Georghiou, in a complete lack of regard of the risks to the health and safety of others.

"At no point did Mr Georghiou claim to be a quantity surveyor, and admits he was naive in taking on the project.

"It turned out the job was too big for him and he raised concerns and tried to put measures in place but they were not enough.

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"This is not just about the building collapse though, as there was clearly a risk of death and physical injury.

"It was just fortunate that at the time of the collapse no-one was passing by."

The court heard that during an investigation, both men had tried to blame each other for the failures which led to the collapse of the building, but Mr Wilson said it that employing Georghiou was clearly a cost cutting exercise by Khan.

The building collapse on Accrington Street in Burnley

The building collapse on Accrington Road in Burnley

Judge Phillip Parry said: "Mr Georghiou was involved to a high level in the project, with Mr Khan taking responsibility for its financing and delivery of equipment, but Mr Khan was cutting costs at every opportunity.

"He had failed to plan or manage the works being carried out on the building and had also failed to document matters relating to health and safety to ensure construction work on the site was carried out without risk.

"It is no surprise to me at all that on October 21 2018 the wall at the side of the building collapsed.

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"I have seen images from the collapse which showed utter devastation and to me it's a miracle that nobody was killed or seriously injured.

"An investigation revealed you both blamed each other but I have no doubt you were both responsible.

"Mr Khan did not provide risk assessments or health and safety measures, was woefully unqualified and had no knowledge of the health and safety requirements needed, and allowed Mr Georghiou to continue with the work.

The building collapse on Accrington Street in Burnley

The building collapse on Accrington Road in Burnley

"He acted in this way because he wished to cut costs at the expense of safety.

"Mr Georghiou was also woefully unqualified to undertake the works and carried out the project in a haphazard way, knowing he was out of his depth.

"As a result, the building collapsed.

"The company, under the direction of Mr Khan, fell far short of the standards expected of them by the Health and Safety Executive."

Khan, of Halifax Road, Nelson in his absence, was fined a total of £85,843.21, to be paid in full within the next six months.

Georghiou, of Washington Street, Accrington, was fined £750 and sentenced to six months in prison suspended for 18 months, ordered to carry out 10 days of rehabilitation activity and 230 hours of unpaid work.