Forced to chase $60,000: Subbie's woes after M'boro job
MONTHS after finishing a painting job for a prominent Maryborough building, Leon Embrey was still chasing thousands of dollars owed to him by construction company Sommer and Staff.
The headaches of constant phone calls, emails and waiting over those months led him to cut ties with all big building businesses promising work on the Fraser Coast.
Mr Embrey, the co-owner of LNL Painting, and at least 20 other staff were helping to undertake painting works on the Maryborough Government Office Building on Wharf St in 2017.
While he said communication with the foreman was pleasant throughout the job, the real headaches started when it came to pay.
"It was an ongoing battle to get paid. I felt things were flying pretty close to the bottom throughout the project,” Mr Embrey said.
"At different stages through the project we were chasing up to $60,000 owed to us.
"It was never a straightforward process.”
Mr Embrey did manage to acquire the money owed to him for the job, but only several months after work had been finalised.
"At the time they we were employing up to 20 painters for the job and we had to find the money to pay them,” he said.
"All those guys have other payments to look after, like mortgages and the like.
"To me, it seemed like it was a situation with a large company who didn't care about a small family business.”
Sommer and Staff's 2017 Maryborough job was a precursor for the financial woes that would leave local builders in the lurch last year.
Midway through works on the Mary Poppins building on Kent St and electrical and mechanical upgrades on the Maryborough Hospital, the company had its licence suspended by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission on September 5.
One week later, the company went into administration.
Mr Embrey said he wanted to see larger building companies be more open and honest in their dealings with local subbies.
"When we tender for something we've always got to provide plenty of information - why can't these companies do the same?” he said.
"We're a fairly family-oriented company so the last thing I want to do on pay day is tell my boys I can't pay them.
"I hope it never happens. You're not employing people, you're employing families.”