Almost 40 prospective Canberra home owners, as well as an unknown number of sub-contractors, face an uncertain future following Today's Homes and Lifestyle Pty Ltd's decision to go into voluntary administration.
The Fyshwick-based company, which was first registered in 1994 and trades as Today's Homes, has placed itself in the hands of Deloitte Restructuring Services.
"Today's Homes & Lifestyle is currently building homes for 16 customers," joint voluntary administrator, Eddie Sentatore, said.
"Construction of homes for a further two customers is yet to commence, and an additional 20 clients are in the design phase."
Are you affected by Today's Homes entering external administration? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Calls to Today's Homes offices went unanswered on Wednesday and the builder, Brendan McCoullough, could not be reached for comment.
The business has fared well in local Master Builders Association and Housing Industry Association building awards since 2008, taking out the HIA's top award for custom-built homes between $900,000 and $1.1 million in 2015.
It was named professional medium builder of the year by the HIA in 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012 and professional small to medium builder of the year in 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008.
"With our review of the company's financial situation set to commence, we appreciate that this is going to be a difficult and uncertain time for affected customers, suppliers and sub-contractors," Mr Sentatore, said.
"An immediate priority will be to understand the impact on customers and communicate developments to them as soon as possible.
"Each contract, for projects underway as well as those in planning, will be assessed."
He said the partners were contacting sub-contractors, creditors, insurers and other stakeholders to update them before the first meeting of creditors, which would be confirmed next week.
Master Builders Association of the ACT executive director Kirk Coningham said there would be a damaging flow-on effect for those affected.
"These quite often are smaller businesses so large debts unpaid can put these businesses into peril and affect their capacity to employ and pay their bills," Mr Coningham said.
"This is particularly tough for a small community like Canberra."
Mr Coningham said he had been in touch with all of the clients and several of the subcontractors to offer assistance.
He said he hoped compulsory home insurance would allow the construction of all houses to be finished
"The compulsory insurance should kick in and what we will try to do is work constructively with people who have had a really tough time," he said.
"For a lot of people this is the biggest and most expensive project they undertake in their whole lives, so it can be incredibly distressing.
"Another big hit is the inevitable delays because families will have to continue renting and doing other things to accommodate themselves."
CFMEU ACT boss Dean Hall said he was not aware of any union members caught up in the mess, but had received calls on Wednesday morning from concerned families.
"Our position to families being affected by this is – if they want help, we will ensure Master Builders fulfil their obligation under their insurance policy and community standards on this issue," he said.
"Ultimately it is Master Builders members causing this and it is their insurance policy that is meant to fix it, so they must be held accountable."
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