The developer whose builders keep going broke
Summary: BUILDING companies that work for a developer financed by self-managed superannuation funds have an unhealthy habit of going broke leaving subcontractors unpaid.....
Signage has gone up on a former Development Delivery Construction building site naming as head contractor/owner's representative a company headed by a former Sunshine Coast builder banned for life by the Queensland construction regulator from having a position of influence in the state's construction sector.
Marc Withnall, formerly of Peregian, is a director of Integrated Civil which according to the signage has replaced failed building company Development Delivery Construction (Ddel) on the site as head contractor for client SMSF Property Australia/Capital.
Ddel cancelled its Queensland Building and Construction Commission licence on March 7 after it was suspended by the Queensland building regulator on February 20 for non-payment of debts.
The Sunshine Coast Daily has seen emails from SMSF Property Australia procurement consultant Zoe Walsh sent to sub contractors informing them that because of its licence suspension Ddel had been replaced by Integrated Civil as head contractor for the Livingstone Street project in Brisbane.
Ms Walsh invites subbies to transfer to the Integrated Civil platform so that they could continue to quote for work.
The SMSF business model draws in self-managed superannuation funds to finance projects including at Peregian Springs and a number of locations across Brisbane.
Geoff Moon, the director of Platinum Electrical in Ashgrove, says he remains owed $25,000 by Investructure, a loss that continues to affect his business.
He said even though at the time he was working for Investruction, its invoices where branded Development Delivery Construction.
He said he had called the number for Integrated Civil listed on the building site sign and found himself talking to a call centre in the Philippines.
Like Integrated Civil, Ddel shared offices at Level One, 800 Kingsford Smith Drive, Eagle Farm with SMSF Property Capital a company which has Withnall's partner Suzanne Keene as its director.
In December, 2015, Ddel was assigned contracts formerly held by Investruction Pty Ltd with SMSF Property for projects at Manly Road, Brisbane, and the Maleny Commercial Development Pty Ltd development in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.
Mr Withnall was a director of five companies that were either placed in administration or liquidation between 2004 and 2006.
He was banned from being a director, secretary or influential person of any company licensed by the QBCC.
In 2007 he was also banned from managing companies for three years by Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
Mr Withnall has been listed as a senior employee of SMSF Property Capital Pty Ltd and was its company secretary from November 3, 2010, until May 15, 2013 following his ASIC ban.
Integrated Civil is currently facing action in the Sydney and Brisbane courts relating to none-payment of invoices.
It is being pursued in Sydney by Atf Services Pty Ltd for the sum of $26,810 and in Brisbane by Brisbane City Council relating to an amount of $3476 for service provision.
QBCC Commissioner, Brett Bassett said Withnall was a permanently excluded individual, which meant he could not hold a QBCC contractor or nominee supervisor licence, or be a director, secretary or influential person for a QBCC-licensed company.
"Integrated Civil Pty Ltd cannot carry out building work without a QBCC licence,” Mr Bassett said.
"The QBCC cannot confirm investigations that may be currently on hand.”
Mr Bassett did not responds to questions put by the Sunshine Coast Daily about whether the QBCC had the authority to act given that Integrated Civil was not the holder of a QBCC licence?
Nor did he confirm whether the QBCC ascertained whether Intregrated Civil's licenced building nominee Martin Oliver had a physical presence on the building sites for which he is claimed to be responsible?
Mr Bassett did not address whether the QBCC intended to investigate the relationship between SMSF and the construction companies it engaged particularly around the influence that may be being exerted by individuals the QBCC has seen fit to exclude as people of interest in the Queensland construction industry.
Housing and Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni said he was confident the QBCC fully understood the seriousness of these questions and was committed to ensuring the existing laws were fully upheld.
"I'm aware the QBCC do not usually comment to confirm investigations which are currently ongoing,”.
"This is consistent with usual practice in regulatory compliance matters.
"Concerns have been raised during consultations by both the industry and the community about people who should be excluded from specific roles within the building and construction industry but nevertheless appear to remain inappropriately active in the industry.
"I am examining this feedback very closely to determine if the state's existing laws can be strengthened further.”