Insolvency of UK’s oldest building firm highlights financial ‘crisis’ engulfing sector

AN industry body has claimed the collapse of Britain’s oldest building company confirms the sector is in a financial ‘crisis’.

The Specialist Engineering Contractors (SEC) Group spoke out following the insolvency of Durtnell & Sons, which has been owned by the same family for almost 430 years.

SEC Group said an examination of Durtnell’s March 2019 accounts showed that cash retentions totalling £630,000 are owed to Durtnell’s supply chain.

The organisation said ‘extremely weak balance sheets’ of the largest UK contractors are creating a ‘ticking time-bomb’, with trade credit insurers now withdrawing cover from many of these companies.

Rudi Klein, the SEC Group CEO said, “Whilst it is extremely sad to lose such a long-established firm, there is now concern for Durtnell’s subcontractors. The retention monies belong to the businesses – mostly SMEs – in Durtnell’s supply chain and for the most part would have represented their profit margins. The Government must now act to adopt (the) Peter Aldous Bill, already in parliament, that protect these monies from upstream insolvencies.”