Care home provider terminates contract with troubled builder

Belong Birkdale

North West care home provider Belong has terminated its contract with a Warrington builder which is facing administration.

Cruden Construction was reported to have filed a Notice of Intent (NOI) to appoint an administrator last Friday, July 24.

NOI’s are aimed at providing a period of protection from legal action by creditors.

Business adviser KPMG is understood to have been approached to handle any possible administration.

Last month Belong appointed Cruden to complete work on its £19m state-of-the-art care village in Birkdale – taking over from original contractor Pochin which had been working on the Oxford Road development when it went into administration last year.

Around 100 jobs are expected to be created at the Birkdale site, which is scheduled to open next year.

However, Belong’s chief finance officer, Chris Hughes, has confirmed that the group has acted to protect its interests with the Birkdale scheme by terminating its contract with Cruden.

He said: “In light of the events unfolding around Cruden Construction, we have reviewed our recent decision to proceed with them as contractors for the site and have terminated the pre-construction services agreement with them.

“Naturally, this is frustrating, but as we were still in the very initial stages of engagement prior to the main building contract, we are confident the impact will not be significant.”

He added: “Belong has now taken back control of the site, ensuring it is both secured and insured, and is exploring all other avenues to progress the build of Belong Birkdale as quickly as possible.”

The latest accounts filed at Companies House by Cruden, for the year to September 2018, showed an increase in revenues, from £32.611m to £38.331m, but pre-tax losses deepened, from £18,157 in 2017, to £588,427 for 2018.

Several North West construction firms have collapsed in the past few months, including CPUK Group, Bardsley Construction, Pochin and Harry Fairclough.

Cruden Construction has been contacted for comment.

KPMG declined to comment.