House holders risk jail time when buying a hot tub

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House holders risk jail time when buying a hot tub

Householders risk fine or prison through dodgy internet deals when installing their spa bath

A hot tub in the garden in the ultimate sign of luxury living, but buyers aren’t aware of the legal risks they’re taking when they have it fitted when they book a crane through friends or the web.

That’s the view of a major UK-based crane hire company which has found that some new owners don’t realise they need to budget at least an extra £1,600 to have qualified workers lift their hot tub into place, looking for cheap deals on the internet or ‘the man in the pub’ which put lives at risk without correct training or insurance.

An accident involving an unlicensed and uninsured crane lifts can result in criminal proceedings, with the possibility of manslaughter charges if there’s a death, Crane Hire UK warns.

“A hot tub is the number one way of showing off to your neighbours that you’ve got money to burn,” says Crane Hire UK spokesperson Mark Hall, “It’s just a shame that this money isn’t being spent of a safe, legal fitting process in some cases.”

“A botched crane lift can lead to property damage, injury or death; and without the correct paperwork, you can find yourself facing criminal charges and prison.”

With a typical spa weighing from half a tonne to 1.5 tonnes, unless there is easy access directly to the point when it is to be installed, a crane is absolutely essential on delivery day. This is where owners cross the line into dangerous and illegal activity in a bid to save cash, Crane Hire UK says.

“With customers spending from £4,000 on their spas, right up to £25,000 for the very top of the range, we wonder why they try to cut corners on this vital cost,” Hall says.

Crane Hire UK says that those looking for a cheap crane often go through the “classic” route of The Bloke In The Pub, or a Friend of a Friend who can do a job for cash, no questions asked.

However, there’s increasing evidence that people are using newer tech to find unlicensed or uninsured crane operators through the internet.

“You just have to look for ‘crane hire’ on Ebay, and you can find as many deals as you want,” says Hall. “Undoubtedly, some of these companies are genuine, but how can you check when the only contact detail is a mobile phone number?

“And let’s not forget Craigslist, Gumtree and all the other listings sites. It’s a minefield.”

A genuine crane company will come along for a site visit to determine the correct machinery and staffing. They’ll also present you with their licensing and insurance credentials on request. It’s highly unlikely that a “cash in hand” job will offer you these essential options, and there’s the risk they may even try to use inappropriate plant that could topple, Crane Hire UK says.

• Regulation enforced by the Health and Safety Executive mean that cranes can only be operated by a fully qualified “appointed person”, with similar experts working as banksmen and support staff.

• The UK crane industry works hard to prevent accidents, and the huge majority of crane-related mishaps in Britain have come as a result of cutting corners on safety and the use of inexperienced crew.

“Without CPCS blue card-carrying crew, your hot tub lift is probably illegal, and you will certainly not be insured if something goes wrong,” Hall warns. “You are also leaving yourself open to prosecution, all in the name of saving money on a luxury item.”

To illustrate how easy it is for an ill-judged hot tub lift to go wrong, there’s a YouTube video showing one such accident in the US, where the crane over-extends and topples back into the house. Crane Hire UK says that British safety standards and trained, experienced crew would almost certainly have prevented this accident.

Crane Hire UK says that if you’re spending thousands on an item, it’s no time to be trying to save money and cutting corners on the crane lift job by running to Ebay or a bloke you met over a pint.

“Card-carrying crane operations teams have years of combined experience and will lift your one tonne of fun into place quickly – and most importantly – safely,” says Mark Hall.

“If you skimp on this vital cost, your dream purchase could turn into a nightmare of court, fines and even prison.”

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