All quiet at apartment project construction site as second builder goes under

Neighbours and stakeholders have expressed their disbelief and frustration on social media after the collapse of a second construction company associated with a Bokarina Beach apartment project.

Award-winning national construction company PBS Building had taken over construction of The Curl at Bokarina Beach, following the collapse of original project builder BA Murphy in late 2021, reportedly leaving almost $11 million owing to contractors and employees.

Now the multimillion-dollar construction company – founded in 1989 and based in Canberra, but with offices in Sydney and Brisbane employing more than 180 people – has left development sites across Australia abandoned, including The Curl in Barrel Street.

The exterior design of The Curl at Bokarina.

Stockland announced the public release of The Curl, designed by acclaimed local architects O.G.E Group, in August 2021.

The one, two and three-bedroom apartments – a short stroll from the surf beach on Barrel Street – were inspired by the classic curved lines of sails and waves.

The complex also includes a communal pool and gardens, with Lake Kawana, parklands and a future dining and shopping precinct nearby.

At the time, Stockland senior development manager Matt Patullo said the new release of 15 apartments – then with a starting price of $479,000 – came as more homebuyers were drawn to low-maintenance beachside living.

A Stockland spokesperson offered this statement today: “We will work with all relevant stakeholders as further details of PBS Building’s position are made available.

“We have secured all relevant building sites during this time.”

The pool concept at The Curl.

It is understood customers were contacted this morning with all the information that was available at the time.

It is also believed security has been on site since Sunday.

On the Bokarina Beach Community Connection page on Facebook, nearby residents and stakeholders lamented more delays at the site, which borders Bokarina Boulevard, following this latest builder collapse.

Deirdre Williamson wondered, in response to Michael Clark’s post: “That’s the second builder for The Curl. … Is our site cursed?”

David Glen Unwin commented that tradies had been allowed to access the site on Monday to remove tools and equipment.

“We live in the street and heard the commotion around 7 this morning as the tradies arrived for work only to find the gates locked,” he said.

But Madison Radford added that “there was a heap going on at curl on Friday with concrete trucks etc”.

PBS Building was a recognised leader in the project management, design and construction of residential, commercial, industrial, retail, office, apartment, aged care and mixed-use developments.

The company website has been unable to be accessed for days without a login.

But this afternoon, a notice of the appointment of administrators appeared on the homepage. It was accompanied by two statements: one from the administrators RSM Australia Partners, as well as a joint statement by the PBS Board of directors and company founder Ian Carter.

The PBS board and Mr Carter said the “incredibly difficult decision” had been to put its NSW, ACT and Queensland construction businesses into voluntary administration.

RSM Australia Partners Jonathon Colbran, Richard Stone and Mitchell Herrett have been appointed joint and several administrators of five PBS construction companies.

“This has been a gut-wrenching decision that we know will impact many lives and livelihoods,” the statement from the PBS board of directors and Mr Carter said.

“However, after months of intense efforts behind the scenes, in the end it was the only responsible course of action available.

“In relation to our current projects, we secured, not abandoned, these sites with the express purpose of not incurring any further expenses.

“We took this step to ensure that we could negotiate better outcomes with clients for the ultimate benefit of creditors.

“PBS has always prided itself on being able to deliver for our clients – to get the job done, no matter what the challenge. If we experienced trade shortages in one state, we’d hire labour from another state. If we couldn’t source materials, we’d find alternative suppliers.

“Yet, despite this tenacity and more than 30 years’ industry experience, the unprecedented combination of record material costs, fixed price contracts, labour and material shortages, extreme rain events, floods, bushfires and wars has proved an insurmountable challenge.

“We are the latest, but we won’t be the last construction group to buckle under the weight of a broken industry and way of doing business that needs urgent reform.”

The statement said PBS directors had personally been working closely with many clients over recent months to negotiate better outcomes for all stakeholders.

“Every one of our active clients – who have projects at various stages – has received a personal call from our senior management team to let them know that PBS’s construction companies will be entering voluntary administration,” it said.

“We have had some very tough conversations – some of our clients expressed disbelief and shock. We have been receiving humbling messages of support and understanding at all levels, particularly from our long-term contractors, suppliers, and clients.”

Article source: Queensland Property Investor