Works to complete Albany’s new 108 room waterfront hotel have hit another snag after builder Pindan Group went into administration on Tuesday due to financial strife.
The $24 million project, headed by landowner and prominent Albany businessman Paul Lionetti, was originally slated for completion for late 2020, but that end date ended up being pushed back to the middle of 2021.
A contractor working on the Hilton Garden Inn told the Weekender the job was mere weeks away from being finished.
But with Pindan Group reportedly in $100 million of debt, it’s unclear whether contractors and subcontractors will finish the project off or get paid for their work.
Police made their presence known at the construction site on Wednesday morning to “keep the peace”.
Mr Lionetti visited the hotel site that morning, chatting to a number of tradies who were huddled around in deep conversation.
Works on the hotel car park continued despite the controversy, with trucks and excavators busy moving dirt around the construction site.
Pindan unable to meet its debts
Pindan – which is based in WA but was bought out by Singaporean company Oxley Holdings in 2019 – has 68 active projects, 280 employees, 500 subcontractors and 400 trade suppliers.
Accountancy firm Ernst and Young, who were appointed administrators on Tuesday, said it was “urgently assessing” Pindan’s financial position.
Contractors have reportedly been grabbing gear they own from Pindan-run sites across WA, worried those sites would go into lockdown and administrators would keep any equipment that wasn’t clearly labelled.
CMFEU State Secretary Mike Buchan said subcontractors were left exposed by a “foreseeable” problem.
“No doubt we’ll again see a cascade of foreclosures and receiverships of subcontractors who are left exposed because of non-payment by builders and contractors up the chain,” he said.
“The stupidest thing about this is that it wasn’t just foreseeable, it was completely foreseen. For the last 8 years, CFMEU has been telling everyone who would listen that the Western Australian construction industry is operating well below a level that is safe, viable, and sustainable.
“Builders and major contractors undercut each other to win work, to the point that they quote on projects at prices they know full well are not achievable. Then they try to find ways to gouge some sort of a profit where there is none.”
Pindan Managing Director Scott Davison and Executive Director Tony Gerber told staff in an email on Tuesday the company had no faith in meeting its debts and obligations.
Great Southern Live attempted to contact Mr Lionetti for comment.