North East construction firm lost £938,000 when Tolent went bust

A North East building firm has told ITV News Tyne Tees it has lost £938,000 that it was owed by the construction company when it went bust this year.

Premier Plant & Civil Engineering Ltd saw more than two thirds of its work wiped out "overnight" when Tolent collapsed.

Tolent, which was responsible for some of the most high profile buildings in the North East, including Hadrians Tower in Newcastle and Riverside in Sunderland announced it had gone into administration in February.

Michael Thompson said: "Overnight, about 70% of our work was just gone, so we spent the next six weeks trying to engage with existing clients and get the men back to work and get the company up and running.

"We had a few weeks where there was only half of our staff out working, which was tough for me and probably tough for the staff as well."

Construction of car park in Berwick. Credit: ITV News

Mr Thompson's firm had built up reserves for "a rainy day" so was in a better position than other companies, but securing a contract with Northumberland County Council to build a leisure centre car park meant his workers were saved from redundancies.

He added: "Without this contract, we would have had to reduce the numbers of staff. We’ve currently got about 15 men on here, so it’s about 40% of our overall staff for 19 weeks, so that’s given us a good breathing period to get back into the tender stage and plan for future work."

Tolent went bust in February 2023 due to "significant challenges including the rising costs". Credit: ITV News

According to new reports, the failed construction business owed around £76m when it collapsed and administrators have released documents detailing how many smaller firms in the supply chain were hit.

Stuart Miller, from the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, warned it may take months before we know the full scale of the fallout from Tolent's collapse.

He said: "Many, many supply chain businesses were affected. We don’t have an exact number, but it would run into many dozens, if not possibly hundreds of supply chain partners with Tolent.

"Most I think will live to fight another day, but I think the outcomes will work themselves through in the coming months and years and we may well find that some businesses will struggle significantly with lost monies that were owed via the Tolent supply chain."

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