Felixstowe builder who carried out unsafe work to pay £28k in compensation
- Credit: Suffolk Trading Standards
A Felixstowe builder has been handed a suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay almost £28,000 in compensation for fraudulent and unfair trading.
Kevin Zizka, of Coronation Drive, traded as KHF Building & Landscaping and operated across the county.
Complaints about the company were made after customers claimed the worked carried out by Zizka was dangerous and did not comply with building regulations or meet electrical safety standards.
Suffolk Trading Standards was contacted by four victims after they paid thousands of pounds to Zizka for substandard home improvements involving the fitting of steel beams and electrical work.
One case saw a Felixstowe homeowner charged over £17,000 for the removal of a chimney breast, installation of steel beams and a kitchen renovation.
The 52-year-old left the job part way through, leaving the victim with essential parts of the chimney breast’s steel support rusting in their garden, and the remaining chimney inadequately supported.
Electrical work carried out on the property was inspected and found to be unsafe, with a potential risk of fire or serious injury to users.
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Another customer from Ipswich who employed Zizka to install a kitchen and fit steel beams to her property reported that the work had caused her ceiling to drop, opening a gap between the ground and first floor of the property that had to be propped up, after he ignored the advice of structural engineers and failed to fit the beams properly.
He also charged VAT to customers despite not being VAT registered with HMRC and took building control fees for applications but failed to submit these, and falsely claimed to be a member of Checkatrade to encourage customers to use his services.
On February 4, Zizka pleaded guilty to one count of fraudulent trading under Section 993 of the Companies Act 2006 and two counts of commercial practice which contravened the requirements of professional diligence under regulation 8 of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
He was subsequently sentenced to four months per offence in prison, to run concurrently, suspended for 18 months, at Suffolk Magistrates' Court last Friday.
The court also ruled that Zizka must carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, participate in rehabilitation activity, is disqualified from being a company director for five years, and will pay £27,841 in compensation to his victims, along with £10,000 in costs to Trading Standards.