Multi-millionaire Edward Iliffe awarded damages after fire at £4m eco-home on Green Island in Poole

Picture: Dorset Fire and Rescue Service

Picture by Richard Skerman

Picture by Ollie Pennington, Bournemouth Helicopters

Picture: Poole Harbour Commissioners

First published in News
Last updated

A multi-millionaire aristocrat who saw his £4 million eco-home burnt to cinders on a castaway island has won a seven-figure damages claim against builders.

The Honourable Edward Iliffe bought Green Island in Poole Harbour, for £2.5 million in 2005 and planned to develop a luxury holiday retreat for his family.

But the dream went up in flames in April, 2012, when fire ravaged their cedar chalet as it approached completion.

Mr Iliffe, 45, and his wife, Teleri, 49, launched legal action against a firm involved in building the environmentally friendly pad, Feltham Construction Ltd, demanding £3.5 million in damages.

A top judge at London's High Court has now ruled that Feltham was indirectly responsible for the defective installation of a logburner or flue that caused the costly blaze and ordered the firm to cough up compensation.

Mr Justice Stuart-Smith said the six-bedroom solar-panelled home was in the final phase of construction, which included the fitting of a two-way log-burning stove with heat exchanger and stainless steel flue, when the fire ignited.

The logburner had been used for just two weeks, including by the Iliffe family who stayed at the chalet over Easter, 2012, when an electrical contractor reported hearing "funny cracking noises".

The blaze was discovered in the roof space at about 7am and, although 45 firefighters were ferried to the island, the house was "largely destroyed", the judge said.

The Iliffes and their three children, Alys, 17, Henry, 14, and Victoria, 12, were heartbroken by the blaze.

A forensic fire expert appointed by the family who examined the debris said the fire probably started "within the roof construction and specifically in that part of the roof close to the chimney".

His "strong view" was that combustible materials were closer to the chimney than the 50mm distance required.

But Feltham, which oversaw much of the green building's development, denied that the chimney was "assembled and installed in a non-standard and defective manner".

Feltham claimed it was not responsible as the flue and logburner were installed by a sub-contractor with whom it only placed an order on Mr Iliffe's behalf.

On the cause of the fire, Mr Justice Stuart-Smith said that, as it had never been suggested the logburner or chimney were inadequately designed, the Iliffes' case that installation flaws caused the fire was "overwhelming".

He ruled: "Feltham was responsible in contract for the acts and omissions of its sub-contractors".

The exact value of their damages award has yet to be assessed.

Comments (17)

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3:19pm Mon 7 Jul 14

speedy231278 says...

Typical rich people suing for damages for an accident. Us mere mortals would simply wait for the builder to claim on their insurance and rebuild the property. The article states that they stayed in the place 'as it neared completion', which suggests it was as yet unfinished. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned?
Typical rich people suing for damages for an accident. Us mere mortals would simply wait for the builder to claim on their insurance and rebuild the property. The article states that they stayed in the place 'as it neared completion', which suggests it was as yet unfinished. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned? speedy231278
  • Score: -24

4:08pm Mon 7 Jul 14

Townee says...

Will the builder go bust to stop paying the claim? Usual thing wind the company up.
Will the builder go bust to stop paying the claim? Usual thing wind the company up. Townee
  • Score: 23

4:32pm Mon 7 Jul 14

speedy231278 says...

Townee wrote:
Will the builder go bust to stop paying the claim? Usual thing wind the company up.
Would the director/s not then be personally liable for the claim?
[quote][p][bold]Townee[/bold] wrote: Will the builder go bust to stop paying the claim? Usual thing wind the company up.[/p][/quote]Would the director/s not then be personally liable for the claim? speedy231278
  • Score: 6

4:54pm Mon 7 Jul 14

Arjay says...

speedy231278 wrote:
Townee wrote:
Will the builder go bust to stop paying the claim? Usual thing wind the company up.
Would the director/s not then be personally liable for the claim?
The article quotes the builders being named 'Feltham Construction Ltd'
Those 3 last letters 'LTD' mean that the directors can just walk away from the debt.
Not saying they will, but they can.....
[quote][p][bold]speedy231278[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Townee[/bold] wrote: Will the builder go bust to stop paying the claim? Usual thing wind the company up.[/p][/quote]Would the director/s not then be personally liable for the claim?[/p][/quote]The article quotes the builders being named 'Feltham Construction Ltd' Those 3 last letters 'LTD' mean that the directors can just walk away from the debt. Not saying they will, but they can..... Arjay
  • Score: 20

7:37pm Mon 7 Jul 14

HRH of Boscombe says...

Arjay wrote:
speedy231278 wrote:
Townee wrote:
Will the builder go bust to stop paying the claim? Usual thing wind the company up.
Would the director/s not then be personally liable for the claim?
The article quotes the builders being named 'Feltham Construction Ltd'
Those 3 last letters 'LTD' mean that the directors can just walk away from the debt.
Not saying they will, but they can.....
Hopefully they will!
.
God forbid we built affordable housing in the countryside or greenbelt for the working class but this goon can develop a whole island which is an ecological sanctuary for his brood of spoilt brats.
.
I hope this grease money swine finally sees sense and donates it to the National Trust
[quote][p][bold]Arjay[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]speedy231278[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Townee[/bold] wrote: Will the builder go bust to stop paying the claim? Usual thing wind the company up.[/p][/quote]Would the director/s not then be personally liable for the claim?[/p][/quote]The article quotes the builders being named 'Feltham Construction Ltd' Those 3 last letters 'LTD' mean that the directors can just walk away from the debt. Not saying they will, but they can.....[/p][/quote]Hopefully they will! . God forbid we built affordable housing in the countryside or greenbelt for the working class but this goon can develop a whole island which is an ecological sanctuary for his brood of spoilt brats. . I hope this grease money swine finally sees sense and donates it to the National Trust HRH of Boscombe
  • Score: -26

7:51pm Mon 7 Jul 14

Huey says...

It's easy to get jealous. But regardless of wealth the people responsible for the fitting of a bit of kit that caught fire have been held to account.
As a fairly high end builder, they will be insured for this. Their premiums will rise but they will not personally be responsible for the final amount agreed.
It's easy to get jealous. But regardless of wealth the people responsible for the fitting of a bit of kit that caught fire have been held to account. As a fairly high end builder, they will be insured for this. Their premiums will rise but they will not personally be responsible for the final amount agreed. Huey
  • Score: 30

7:54pm Mon 7 Jul 14

504gld says...

You have to ask the question why would a building like this, being isolated from the mainland not have under modern fire regs an adequate sprinkler system installed during construction?
You have to ask the question why would a building like this, being isolated from the mainland not have under modern fire regs an adequate sprinkler system installed during construction? 504gld
  • Score: 12

8:16pm Mon 7 Jul 14

sc61 says...

Arjay wrote:
speedy231278 wrote:
Townee wrote:
Will the builder go bust to stop paying the claim? Usual thing wind the company up.
Would the director/s not then be personally liable for the claim?
The article quotes the builders being named 'Feltham Construction Ltd'
Those 3 last letters 'LTD' mean that the directors can just walk away from the debt.
Not saying they will, but they can.....
A quick look at their finances shows they're a reasonably big concern:-

http://companycheck.
co.uk/company/019876
99/FELTHAM-CONSTRUCT
ION-LIMITED

So I'd say they're much less likely than the usual small time Bodgit Builders 2014 Ltd. type companiy to fold the company and run away, although of course it is a possibility.
[quote][p][bold]Arjay[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]speedy231278[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Townee[/bold] wrote: Will the builder go bust to stop paying the claim? Usual thing wind the company up.[/p][/quote]Would the director/s not then be personally liable for the claim?[/p][/quote]The article quotes the builders being named 'Feltham Construction Ltd' Those 3 last letters 'LTD' mean that the directors can just walk away from the debt. Not saying they will, but they can.....[/p][/quote]A quick look at their finances shows they're a reasonably big concern:- http://companycheck. co.uk/company/019876 99/FELTHAM-CONSTRUCT ION-LIMITED So I'd say they're much less likely than the usual small time Bodgit Builders 2014 Ltd. type companiy to fold the company and run away, although of course it is a possibility. sc61
  • Score: 4

10:11pm Mon 7 Jul 14

Gingertree says...

So he's getting more for the house burning down than he actually paid for the whole island!
So he's getting more for the house burning down than he actually paid for the whole island! Gingertree
  • Score: 3

10:21pm Mon 7 Jul 14

Old Colonial says...

HRH of Boscombe wrote:
Arjay wrote:
speedy231278 wrote:
Townee wrote:
Will the builder go bust to stop paying the claim? Usual thing wind the company up.
Would the director/s not then be personally liable for the claim?
The article quotes the builders being named 'Feltham Construction Ltd'
Those 3 last letters 'LTD' mean that the directors can just walk away from the debt.
Not saying they will, but they can.....
Hopefully they will!
.
God forbid we built affordable housing in the countryside or greenbelt for the working class but this goon can develop a whole island which is an ecological sanctuary for his brood of spoilt brats.
.
I hope this grease money swine finally sees sense and donates it to the National Trust
Actually your jealousy and venomous nature getting to your head. It is his island for one thing. He has not developed the 'whole island' just replaced a tatty old house with an ecologically designed replacement. He has also employed a manager to keep the island's natural habitat secure for the future. Must be hard for you having to live with the rest of humanity.
[quote][p][bold]HRH of Boscombe[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Arjay[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]speedy231278[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Townee[/bold] wrote: Will the builder go bust to stop paying the claim? Usual thing wind the company up.[/p][/quote]Would the director/s not then be personally liable for the claim?[/p][/quote]The article quotes the builders being named 'Feltham Construction Ltd' Those 3 last letters 'LTD' mean that the directors can just walk away from the debt. Not saying they will, but they can.....[/p][/quote]Hopefully they will! . God forbid we built affordable housing in the countryside or greenbelt for the working class but this goon can develop a whole island which is an ecological sanctuary for his brood of spoilt brats. . I hope this grease money swine finally sees sense and donates it to the National Trust[/p][/quote]Actually your jealousy and venomous nature getting to your head. It is his island for one thing. He has not developed the 'whole island' just replaced a tatty old house with an ecologically designed replacement. He has also employed a manager to keep the island's natural habitat secure for the future. Must be hard for you having to live with the rest of humanity. Old Colonial
  • Score: 36

11:30pm Mon 7 Jul 14

Yankee1 says...

speedy231278 wrote:
Townee wrote:
Will the builder go bust to stop paying the claim? Usual thing wind the company up.
Would the director/s not then be personally liable for the claim?
It is an insurance job. Unless they did not have insurance. Then they are liable.
[quote][p][bold]speedy231278[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Townee[/bold] wrote: Will the builder go bust to stop paying the claim? Usual thing wind the company up.[/p][/quote]Would the director/s not then be personally liable for the claim?[/p][/quote]It is an insurance job. Unless they did not have insurance. Then they are liable. Yankee1
  • Score: -3

11:37pm Mon 7 Jul 14

sprintervanman says...

Old Colonial dear Sir perfectly put. Time for the UK to understand that the nice things in life do not appear on a silver platter , they have to get off their backsides and make their own fortune and luck.
Old Colonial dear Sir perfectly put. Time for the UK to understand that the nice things in life do not appear on a silver platter , they have to get off their backsides and make their own fortune and luck. sprintervanman
  • Score: 21

7:47am Tue 8 Jul 14

Ragwin says...

" 45 firefighters were ferried to the island"

What??? Sounds like they were on a jolly. Who was providing fire response cover for the mainland?
" 45 firefighters were ferried to the island" What??? Sounds like they were on a jolly. Who was providing fire response cover for the mainland? Ragwin
  • Score: -9

9:04am Tue 8 Jul 14

Stirling151 says...

Ragwin wrote:
" 45 firefighters were ferried to the island"

What??? Sounds like they were on a jolly. Who was providing fire response cover for the mainland?
The firemen must have been gutted. This job must have interrupted their usual routine of eating, sleeping, playing pool and going on strike.
And before I get the "If you are trapped in a car or in a fire..." I was in for eight years.
[quote][p][bold]Ragwin[/bold] wrote: " 45 firefighters were ferried to the island" What??? Sounds like they were on a jolly. Who was providing fire response cover for the mainland?[/p][/quote]The firemen must have been gutted. This job must have interrupted their usual routine of eating, sleeping, playing pool and going on strike. And before I get the "If you are trapped in a car or in a fire..." I was in for eight years. Stirling151
  • Score: -6

10:47am Tue 8 Jul 14

The Witch says...

Stirling151 wrote:
Ragwin wrote:
" 45 firefighters were ferried to the island"

What??? Sounds like they were on a jolly. Who was providing fire response cover for the mainland?
The firemen must have been gutted. This job must have interrupted their usual routine of eating, sleeping, playing pool and going on strike.
And before I get the "If you are trapped in a car or in a fire..." I was in for eight years.
So if it was such a cushy job, why did you leave?
[quote][p][bold]Stirling151[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Ragwin[/bold] wrote: " 45 firefighters were ferried to the island" What??? Sounds like they were on a jolly. Who was providing fire response cover for the mainland?[/p][/quote]The firemen must have been gutted. This job must have interrupted their usual routine of eating, sleeping, playing pool and going on strike. And before I get the "If you are trapped in a car or in a fire..." I was in for eight years.[/p][/quote]So if it was such a cushy job, why did you leave? The Witch
  • Score: 6

6:57pm Tue 8 Jul 14

carrrob says...

4 million compensation for a 6 bed chalet rebuild sounds like the judge and illfe are part of the dodgy handshake brigade !
4 million compensation for a 6 bed chalet rebuild sounds like the judge and illfe are part of the dodgy handshake brigade ! carrrob
  • Score: 0

11:26pm Tue 8 Jul 14

Huey says...

The Witch wrote:
Stirling151 wrote:
Ragwin wrote:
" 45 firefighters were ferried to the island"

What??? Sounds like they were on a jolly. Who was providing fire response cover for the mainland?
The firemen must have been gutted. This job must have interrupted their usual routine of eating, sleeping, playing pool and going on strike.
And before I get the "If you are trapped in a car or in a fire..." I was in for eight years.
So if it was such a cushy job, why did you leave?
His hose was not big enough
[quote][p][bold]The Witch[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Stirling151[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Ragwin[/bold] wrote: " 45 firefighters were ferried to the island" What??? Sounds like they were on a jolly. Who was providing fire response cover for the mainland?[/p][/quote]The firemen must have been gutted. This job must have interrupted their usual routine of eating, sleeping, playing pool and going on strike. And before I get the "If you are trapped in a car or in a fire..." I was in for eight years.[/p][/quote]So if it was such a cushy job, why did you leave?[/p][/quote]His hose was not big enough Huey
  • Score: -2

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