An artist’s impression of Citro at West End, one of the projects stalled by the QBCC suspending Sommer & Staff Constructions’ building licence.
An artist’s impression of Citro at West End, one of the projects stalled by the QBCC suspending Sommer & Staff Constructions’ building licence.

Watchdog suspends builder’s licence

THE building watchdog has suspended the licence of a 44-year-old Brisbane construction company because of concerns it will not be able to pay its subcontractors.

The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) suspended the licence of Sumner-based Sommer & Staff Constructions on Wednesday night because of concerns about the company's finances.

It is believed the company, which has offices in Brisbane and Hervey Bay, owes subcontractors up to $9 million.

QBCC Commissioner Brett Bassett said last night, 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," said Mr Bassett.

Established in 1974, Sommer was involved in a variety of construction and refurbishment work throughout southeast Queensland.

An artist’s impression of Citro at West End.
An artist’s impression of Citro at West End.

Its recent projects included the seven-storey Spice Apartments on the Gold Coast, Rawlinson Street Apartments at Murrarie and the refurbishment of Maryborough Hospital.

It is currently working on the 106-unit Citro apartment complex in West End.

According to its website, the company was a founding sponsor of boxing champion Jeff Horn.

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.

Mr Goddard said Subbies United was in contact with the company's general manager and financial controller last October in regard to suspension of contract works at a project at Mt Gravatt and non-payment of subcontractors on various jobs.

"This is a horror one and we have had concerns about for a while," Mr Goddard said. "It is important subbies should get trade credit insurance to cover themselves."

Calls by The Courier-Mail 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.