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Royal Liverpool subcontractor goes under

Blackbourne Integrated, an Antrim-based M&E firm, has fallen into administration following losses incurred on projects under two collapsed “main contractors”.

The subcontractor received no recovery of the losses and suffered an 18-month period of restricted cashflow.

The contractors in question have not been named, but Blackbourne had previously worked under Carillion on the Royal Liverpool University Hospital redevelopment.

Blackbourne was set to complete a £4m package of works on the hospital by February next year, which included the installation of ventilation and air conditioning systems, water services, the installation of medical gases, and main cable and electric works.

But after Carillion went into administration in January last year, a significant number of defects were found in the work it had carried out, and work has since been stalled.

A statement posted on the company’s website from its directors said that of the main contractors that caused the M&E specialist to incur losses, one was based in England with the other based in Northern Ireland.

The statement added: “It is with deep regret that after 60 years of trading in the mechanical and electrical contracting industry that Blackbourne Limited has ceased trading today and all 86 employees have been made redundant.

“Trading conditions in construction generally, and in our industry in particular, have been extremely difficult in recent years.”

Alongside the collapse of two main contractors, Blackbourne directors also attributed the company’s fall to a £20m London project running on for a further year at a loss, causing additional problems to the cash position of the business even after a £3.1m cash injection to help cover losses.

In its most recent accounts up to 31 March 2018, Blackbourne suffered a loss of £3.9m from a turnover of £24.7m.

The directors’ statement said: “We have explored all possible options to continue our operations, remain in business and reduce the level of redundancies.

“Sadly, despite the efforts, we have been unable to find a positive outcome. We know that this will be a very difficult time for our staff, many of whom have given over 20 years of loyal service to the company.”

Baker Tilly Mooney Moore is managing the insolvency process.

A spokesman from the accountants said: “[Blackbourne] has now ceased trading. We continue to work with the relevant stakeholders throughout this process.”

Blackbourne worked on projects such as Queen’s University Belfast’s £50m library and its £12m Elms Student Village, as well as the £120m Royal Victoria Hospital critical care unit in Belfast and the £45m King’s College Hospital London extension.

A number of Northern Irish contractors have collapsed over the last couple of years, including Dixon and Lagan Construction.

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