Failed tower block demolition ‘brought down firm’
THE failed demolition of two Seaforth tower blocks cost a contractor £600,000 and helped force it into administration, a report has revealed.
J Bryan (Victoria) led the demolition of Churchill and Montgomery House, in Seaforth – but they both failed to come down after the explosives were set off.
Churchill House did collapse after a second attempt two hours later, but Montgomery House stayed standing for another week, with many residents forced out of their homes for days.
Widnes-based J Bryan collapsed in June, blaming cashflow problems after the incident. All 56 staff lost their jobs.
Now a full report from administrators Mazars has revealed just what the demolition cost the firm.
It says: “In April, 2016, the company carried out a demolition in Bootle, which due to errors in calculation by a sub-contractor, resulted in a failure to demolish two of the three residential blocks involved.
“This resulted in significant costs, estimated at some £600,000, being incurred by the company, either directly or through lost debt recoveries from its customer.”
To meet the cost, the company increased its overdraft with HSBC from £350,000 to £600,000.
J Bryan made an insurance claim against the sub-contractor, but so far that claim has only brought in one payment of £191,000.
Meanwhile, the company also faced an issue with £212,000 in deferred tax payments.
Director Mark Bryan met Patrick Lannagan and Conrard Pearson of Mazars in late June.
They concluded that there were few new orders and that “the future profitability of the business was uncertain”.
The next day, Mazars was officially appointed to J Bryan and began preparing a Notice of Intention to Appoint Administrators.
The same day, a winding-up petition was filed against the company in Leeds by a creditor owed £8,500. In light of that and the limited future orders, Mr Bryan and the administrators decided that the firm had no option but to cease trading.
The company’s home at the Halebank Industrial Estate, in Widnes, is now set to be sold for £850,000.
A Health and Safety Executive report into the demolition, released in January, revealed that hidden steel pipes filled with concrete were the reason the blocks did not come down as planned.
The report said: “When the ground-floor explosions occurred, it appears that the building simply ‘sat down’ on these columns and stayed there.
“The problem is the lack of information which has been made available to the principal contractor and his specialists.”
J Bryan said the report meant that it had been “exonerated”.
Mazars is continuing the insurance claim against the demolition sub-contractor.
Montgomery House in Seaforth
mained standing despite the best attempts of demolition eams