LICENCE SUSPENDED: Work stops on major developments
THE company contracted to complete refurbishments to the iconic Mary Poppins building and upgrades to the Maryborough Hospital has had its building licence suspended.
Brisbane-based Sommer and Staff Constructions had its licence suspended on Wednesday night by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission because of concerns about the company's finances.
The 44-year-old building company had been midway through two major Maryborough projects at the hospital and the historic birthplace of PL Travers on Kent St.
The shock licence suspension caught the Fraser Coast Regional Council and Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service off guard.
It is believed the company, which has offices in Brisbane and Hervey Bay, owes subcontractors up to $9 million.
Sommers and Staff Constructions began work on to upgrade mechanical and electrical infrastructure at the Maryborough Hospital on June 11 with work scheduled to be completed mid-late December.
However, work stopped on Thursday.
"(On Thursday) Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service became aware of the suspension of the building licence and is currently informing relevant stakeholders," a WBHHS spokesman said.
"Work has been suspended and WBHHS is awaiting future advice from Queensland Building and Construction Commission about this matter."
The company was yet to complete significant parts of the hospital project before the licence suspension, with only planning and investigative work undertaken.
Council is yet to confirm whether the licence suspension will delay the completion of the $1.5 million refurbishments of 331 Kent St.
"Council is currently in discussions with Sommer and Staff," a council spokesman said.
Works to the historic building started on February 1 and were, before this week, planned to be completed on October 19.
Sommers and Staff Constructions was completing a different project on the Maryborough Hospital to the new specialist outpatients and emergency department.
The new specialist outpatients and emergency department are proceeding as normal.
QBCC Commissioner Brett Bassett said the company's licence was suspended due to the real likelihood of serious financial harm to suppliers, subcontractors or consumers.
"The QBCC is continuing its investigations," Mr Bassett said.
Established in 1974, Sommer was involved in a variety of construction and refurbishment work throughout Southeast Queensland.
Subbies United spokesman John Goddard said he believed trouble at the company had been a long time coming.
Queensland's building industry has been rocked by a series of company collapses in recent years, with subbies losing hundreds of millions of dollars in the process.
Calls by the Chronicle to Sommer's office in Brisbane were not returned yesterday.
According to the QBCC, the company was licensed to perform work up to $60 million.
In the latest financial statement lodged with Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Sommer reported revenue of $97 million in 2016 and gross profit $2.1 million.