Queensland building group Privium collapses leaving hundreds of subbies out of pocket

Privium

Source: Unsplash/Mark Potterton.

Queensland building group Privium has collapsed into administration, leaving subcontractors across Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales in the dark about the future of hundreds of projects.

The large residential construction group, which reportedly has debts of more than $28 million, filed for voluntary administration on Thursday, with Joanne Dunn, John Park and Kelly-Anne Trenfield of the global firm FTI Consulting appointed as administrators.

The group, led by director Rob Harder, operates in Queensland, Victoria and NSW and has halted 160 projects while it assesses its financial position.

The group has had a turbulent year, with directors Neil Wormwell, Donald Wormwell and James Harder leaving their roles since August. 

Following the collapse of the company this week, Privium appears to have disabled its website.

Queensland-based John Goddard, spokesperson for the subcontractor association Subbies United, says hundreds of subbies in the industry will go unpaid for invoices dating as far back as September and October.

“Plasterers, roofers and carpenters will be owed money. Finishing subcontractors, like people who do bathrooms, as well as some of the biggest suppliers will be unpaid,” Goddard tells SmartCompany.

Subbies United supports trades professionals who have concerns about builders and developers, and urges subcontractors to lodge complaints with their state regulator as soon as payments become late.

In Queensland, if the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) receives complaints from three different subcontractors about one company, it will launch an investigation.

Goddard says the shortage of construction materials “which has been pretty bad for quite a while” has pushed prices up by 60% on some supplies, contributing to the collapse of Privium.

The shortage of construction materials has worsened over the past year as ongoing global supply chain issues delay shipments, pushing the price of supplies such as timber up.

FTI Consulting is in the process of assessing Privium’s balance sheet and SmartCompany understands the first creditor meeting will be held in late November, ahead of a second meeting in December.

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