Failed tower block de­mo­li­tion ‘brought down firm’

Midweek Visiter - - News - BY ALIS­TAIR HOUGHTON alis­tair.houghton@trin­i­tymir­ @Visiter

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

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