Folding firms hit subbie again
THEY say that bad things come in threes.
If that's the case, Patrick Kirwan is looking forward to a well-earned break.
For the third time in just two years, the Yeppoon subcontractor has been left out of pocket due to construction companies going bust, an increasingly common reality for those in the building industry.
Mr Kirwan started work on a government building project on Patrick St in Allenstown under contractor Monopoly Constructions in June last year.
Mr Kirwan, owner of concreting and steel company Patrick Kirwan Pty Ltd, said the site was shut in January when the contractor went broke.
After going through the same thing twice before, Mr Kirwan is owed almost $100,000 in total, excluding the cost of materials and labour.
Mr Kirwan said he spent $30,000 on solicitors' fees to contest one construction company last year and got nowhere.
Now, he is calling on Queensland Government building consultancy body, Project Services, to act.
"For government projects they make building companies sign a statutory declaration saying they've paid all subcontractors, but no government department actually checks to see if this is true," Mr Kirwan said.
"There's nothing in place to protect us - it's not fair."
Housing and Public Works Minister Bruce Flegg said Project Services always checked to ensure that the required statutory declaration was received from the contractor.
If it were not received, he said the contractor's payment would be withheld and an appropriate response to their claim given to the contractor requiring submission of the declaration.
Mr Flegg said if the state became aware of a potentially false declaration, the department would review the matter and determine whether to refer it to police.
However, he confirmed that Project Services did not, as a matter of course, confirm with every subcontractor that they had in fact been paid.
Member for Keppel Bruce Young said it was an issue which had to be addressed.
"We've got to come up with a mechanism to protect these subbies," he said.
"The statutory declarations need to be followed up."
"Whether it's government projects or private there needs to be something to stop this from happening."