Failed builder missed critical financial deadline
A SUNSHINE Coast business that went into liquidation on Monday had failed to meet a December deadline with the building regulator to satisfy its licence class financial requirements.
Ri-Con Contractors Pty Ltd of Peregian has left debt totalling more than $4 million and in excess of 300 unsecured creditors who are at risk of not being paid for work done and material provided.
"Under the Minimum Financial Requirements regulations, licenced contractors in Queensland were required to submit their 2018/19 financial information by 31 December 2019," a Queensland Building and Construction Commission spokesman said.
"Ri-Con Contractors have not submitted their annual reporting to the QBCC.
"The QBCC is undertaking follow up activities with all licensees who are yet to submit their financial information."
The spokesman said as the company had been placed into liquidation, the QBCC had started action to cancel the company licence, and exclusion action against the director which could result in them excluded from the building industry for three years.
The spokesman said the QBCC received only one moneys owed complaint against Ri-Con Contractors in March 2019.
One subbie left unpaid for several months said unsecured creditors were in a difficult position.
He said they had to choose between lodging a complaint with the regulator which would lead to the builder's licence being cancelled or suspended, rendering the company incapable of repaying what was owed, or hold out in hope that they would trade out of their problems.
Ri-Con Contractors was a Category 3 QBCC licence holder allowing it to turnover between $12 million and $30 million worth of work annually.
Subcontractors who spoke with the Sunshine Coast Daily questioned why greater scrutiny hadn't been given by key local government clients of Ri-Con, including Sunshine Coast and Noosa councils, to documents submitted by the builder.
Builders were required to include in their submissions for progress payments, statutory declarations that their subbies had been paid.
Several Queensland companies that have failed in recent years have been subsequently found to have submitted false declarations that subbies had been paid when they hadn't.
One subbie left unpaid by Ri-Con said he thought he had been safe on a local government job.
He questioned why local authorities had not shown due diligence and contacted a few subbies to test the statutory declaration.
In response to questions about that, Noosa Council Acting Director for Community Services Ashley Saward said it was seeking legal advice on the impacts of Ri-Con's insolvency.
"It would be inappropriate to comment further at this time whilst legal advice is being obtained," he said.
Sunshine Coast Council failed to respond by deadline to questions put to it.