Collapse of façade specialist leaves 44 jobless

Façade specialist Speedclad Limited has gone into administration, with 44 staff being laid off.

The Yorkshire-based firm appointed Interpath Advisory’s managing directors for the north, James Lumb and Howard Smith, as joint administrators on 16 August.

Eight staff will, however, stay on for the administration process as they seek a new buyer for the business and its assets.

In a statement, the administrators said that one of the firm’s “major contracts” had become a loss-maker, having a “profound impact” on its working capital.

The COVID-19 pandemic and macro-economic challenges, which delayed projects or forced them to be cancelled completely, were also blamed for the company’s downfall, as well as supply-chain issues, rising inflation and resource shortages.

Speedclad specialised in rainscreen cladding and curtain walling, and the integration of both. It carried out the design, supply and installation of the same.

Interpath managing director and joint administrator James Lumb said: “The administration of Speedclad is symptomatic of the growing challenges facing the construction sector, particularly cladding and façade businesses.”

The specialists were subcontractors on a number of projects, such as Caddick Construction’s £35m office-build, One City Park, in Bradford and Morgan Sindall’s £22m Waterside Places in Manchester.

In the latest results for the year ending 31 January 2021, Speedclad turned over £18.96m, down from £22.15m in the previous year. However, profit before tax in 2021 fell to £97,290, down from £955,643 at the same point in 2020.

The same results for 2021 show the company owed creditors £4.37m within one year.

Lumb highlighted that Speedclad’s administration could signal potential financial distress for other firms of a similar standing.

He said: “Speedclad is historically profitable and has delivered notable projects, such as the façades at the Wellington Place office development in Leeds.

“The company is a well-respected business with strong goodwill in the market from customers, suppliers and other stakeholders. Whilst we are hopeful of finding a solution for Speedclad, its administration suggests that other strong businesses could be facing similar challenges.”

In February, envelope specialist Kaicer collapsed into administration, while cladding firm Prism Architectural ceased trading in August 2021.

More generally, a rising trend of administrations among specialist firms has been observed in recent months. Ten of the 23 firms that folded in July were specialists involved in electrical, maintenance or mechanical installation work, such as heating and air-conditioning.

In June, 15 companies were reported as going into administration, including two specialist firms, whose directors claimed they collapsed because of a lack of support from main contractors.

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