Large Auckland-based builder Scarbro Construction, founded 27 years ago, has declared insolvency and called in liquidators at 9am today.
That raises questions about the completion of work at five sites and the jobs of around 60 staff.
Andrew Grenfell of McGrathNicol said he and Conor McElhinney had been appointed today at the request of director and general manager Garry Scarborough.
They are liquidating Scarbro Construction Holdings, Scarbro Build and Scarbro Construction.
It is yet a further sign of stress in the multibillion-dollar construction sector, dogged by a string of failures lately.
Scarbro says on its website it employed 60 people and worked on some of the city’s larger projects.
The business, based in Ellerslie’s Dryden Pl, was founded in 1996 and was one of the city’s top builders, categorised as a tier-two construction company.
“Garry has made the tough decision himself. It’s been very emotional for him,” Grenfell said today.
A statement from the liquidators’ said: “The directors have advised that despite four of the companies’ five current projects being close to completion, the deferral of new upcoming projects together with the ongoing impacts of Covid associated disruptions, construction price increases, labour shortages and finally the adverse weather events over recent months, have together contributed to the companies’ inability to continue to trade.
“The liquidators will be working with the various stakeholders over the coming days to assess the options for the projects,” it said.
The builder has worked for state housing provider Kāinga Ora, saying it built new social housing in Cracroft St, Penrose Rd and Kaipātiki Rd at Glenfield. That last project was an $11m deal to build 34 units in five levels.
Grenfell said the business had been working on five sites:
1. Apartments for Kāinga Ora at Glenfield;
2. Apartments for Kāinga Ora, Cadness St, Northcote;
3. Fifteen luxury new Balinese-style villas, Matakana Rd, Matakana;
4. Retail construction in Mt Wellington;
5. Apartments in Great North Rd, Grey Lynn.
In 2018, an expert told the Herald Scarbro was one of the leading tier two builders in NZ along with Dominion Constructors, Leighs Construction, Naylor Love, Watts & Hughes, Haydn & Rollett and others.
Tier 1 builders were named as Fletcher Construction, Hawkins, Icon and China Construction.
The business was founded by Mission Bay’s Gary Scarborough with his brother Paul and says it has been one of the city’s busiest in nearly 30 years.
Scarbro Construction’s directors are Peter John Davis and Garry John Scarborough and it is wholly owned by Scarbro Construction Holdings of Ellerslie.
Scarbro Construction Holdings of Ellerslie is 56 per cent owned by Garry and Rhonda Scarborough, 34 per cent by Alison and Peter Davis, 4.55 per cent by Piers Hiron Hollis and 4.55 per cent by Andrew David Moore.
Its website says it completed an $80m job at Ormiston Town Centre for Todd Properties in March 2021.
The business did a substantial amount of hotel, commercial, industrial, office, retail and residential work.
Around mid-2018, it did $80m work for Newcrest Group at Wellington’s 20 Customhouse Quay St. That was described as a multi-storey 17,500sq m office development located in a prime location in central Wellington, with floor-to-ceiling glazing and sustainable criteria that enabled the building to achieve a 5 Star Green Star rating.
It also cites $8m of work completed 10 years ago at ASB North Wharf for Fletcher Construction.
“In 1996, brothers Garry and Paul (Scarborough) set up Scarbro Construction with fellow construction expert Peter de Nys. They were joined shortly after by Peter Davis.
“Over a quarter of a century on and the company has a string of successful projects under its belt, ranging from fit-outs and small residential and commercial builds through to large-scale high-rise concrete and apartment buildings.
“The company has over 60 permanent staff. Many of them have been with the business since it started back in 1996,” it says.
An industry expert ranked New Zealand’s builders in order of size and capability, listing general contractors, those his firm worked with and excluding civil and infrastructure firms, specialist fit-out contractors and those outside the greater Auckland area.
This list was written in 2018 when the Herald published an article about pressures on the sector.
* Tier 1 were Fletcher, Hawkins, Icon, China Construction.
* Tier 2 were Dominion Constructors, Leighs Construction, Naylor Love, Scarbro Construction, Watts & Hughes, Haydn & Rollett, Ganellan, Cook Brothers Construction, Argon Construction, NZ Strong, NZ Built Environments, Canam Construction, Decmil (big in Australia, new start here), Aspec (floats between tier 2 and tier 3) Brosnan Construction and LT McGuinness.
* Tier 3 were Macrennie Commercial Construction, Gibson O’Connor, and Aspec Construction.
Garry Scarborough’s profile on the company’s site says he started as a cadet with Fletcher Construction in the 1970s.
“He then went on to notch up extensive construction experience throughout Australasia, working for the likes of Beca Carter and the Concrete Construction Group, before starting Scarbro Construction in 1996,” that says.
He was not answering calls this morning and Grenfell said he would now begin the huge task of liquidating the business.