Building subcontractors have blockaded the site of a NSW housing development.
Building subcontractors have blockaded the site of a NSW housing development. Bruce Thomas

Tradies' blockade in fight for pay

FED up being left out of pocket by failed out-of-town developers, Coffs Harbour tradies – owed $1.639 million by Perle Pty Ltd – have taken a united stand.

In an extraordinary step, affected sub-contractors have blockaded the failed Sydney construction company’s yet-to-be completed Housing NSW project in Harbour Drive.

They say they will do all they can to make sure the unit block is not finished by another building company until they are paid what they are owed.

“This worksite has effectively been made a no-go zone, concrete barriers have been craned in blocking the access gates,” said local creditors’ spokesman Warren Nix.

“We have taken this action to stop the Department of Housing appointing a new builder to complete the project, which morally should not happen until we are paid in full.”

He said local crane companies had given assurances they would refuse to lift the barriers until given the all-clear by the local creditors.

“We are also discouraging any local sub-contractors not to complete the work until the debts are paid in full,” Mr Nix said.

“If the Department of Housing tries to call in out-of-town tradesmen then the creditors en-masse will politely ask them to vacate the site.

“It must be realised that this is not just $1.639 million owed to creditors locally.

“This $1.639 million is owed to subbies who live here. Money that would have been invested in other local businesses so it’s yet another blow to the whole Coffs Harbour economy.”

The collapse locally has impacted on bricklayers, tilers, concreters, waterproofers, plasterers, painters, plumbers, electricians and a host of other trades.

Referred to as “the Perle debacle”, it comes almost a year since local tradies were stung by the failed Gold Coast company Simcorp, which started the stalled Beaches luxury unit development at Park Beach.

Alarmingly some Coffs Harbour companies like Hunt and Moore Bricklayers have money tied up in both projects, crippling their business growth.

Burnett Plumbing is owed almost $300,000 over the bungled Perle projects.

The troubled construction firm has also built Keneally Government stimulus-package housing projects in Azalea Avenue and West High Street.

Last month company directors called in administrators after facing debts of almost $10 million.

Creditors have since been told the returns could be as low as 10 cents in the dollar.

Even still, those affected remain hopeful a deal can be brokered with the State Government or construction giant Bovis Lend Lease, which sub-contracted the state-funded projects to building companies like Perle.

Out-of-pocket tradesmen will meet again later this month.

The administrators, Rogers Reidy of Sydney, will release an update to creditors in a week’s time.

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