A South-east contractor that went into administration last month had almost £200,000-worth of unsettled county court judgments made against it in the three weeks before it went under.
Administrators from Duff & Phelps were appointed after Essex-based BSL Built Solutions filed for administration on 16 July, but Construction News has learned that the firm had been the subject of eight court judgements against it since 25 June.
Those judgements, from creditors that made claims in advance of the company falling into administration, totalled £193,670.
Seven of the judgements ordered payments of more than £20,000, with one for more than £50,000
Credit rating agency Top Service also told Construction News that BSL Built Solutions had been subject to 75 adverse reports from its customers over the last 12 months.
“It’s definitely a warning sign,” said Top Service managing director Emma Miller. “Companies of that size might pick up the odd judgement but to have these judgements of fairly large amounts and in such quick succession [is unusual].”
One subcontractor that worked with BSL on a recent job told Construction News that it was still owed £30,000 for work it had carried out.
“We’d always had problems getting money from them but until this year we always got it in the end,” said the subcontractor, who did not want to be named.
“Something has got to be done to stop [late payment].
“People will have to close [their businesses] because of this.”
BSL subsidiaries BSL Joinery Solutions and BSL Built Solutions London also fell into administration last month.
BSL’s last full set of published accounts, for the 12 months to October 2011, show it had a turnover of £5.4m and made a pre-tax profit of £465,000.
The company’s business was focused on high-value housing refurbishment work.