Groundworks firm files administration notice

Groundworks specialist Bowie Construction has filed a notice of intent to appoint administrators, after apparently being hit by cashflow issues on a bad job.

The Cambridgeshire company turned over £14.5m and made a pre-tax loss of £996,830 in its latest set of accounts, which covered 1 January to 30 December 2022. It shortened its accounting period by a day prior to filing the results.

Among its recent projects were three subcontract packages for Morgan Sindall-owned Lovell Homes on housing jobs in King’s Lynn, for client West Norfolk Borough Council, one of which was recently completed.

A meeting of the local authority last week was told that the company had stopped trading.

Cabinet member for business Alistair Beales said Bowie was in “financial distress caused by cashflow issues from […] a major job that wasn’t paying”.

Lovell’s 78-home job in Salters Road in the town is now expected to be delayed by around five weeks, Beales said.

The 226-home scheme at Florence Fields, where Bowie held a £12m contract, is likely to be set back more significantly and “efforts are ongoing to resolve the situation”, he added.

Beales said that Lovell may conduct the groundworks at Salters Road itself, but Florence Fields would probably be too challenging for such a move.

He also said that Bowie was working for Lovell on an undisclosed number of other sites across the country.

Linton-based Bowie was formed in 2007. According to its website, it carried out road and sewer construction, paving and fencing as well as groundworks, and worked as both subcontractor and principal contractor.

There has been no update on the company’s website or social media channels about its activity but it filed a notice of intention to appoint an administrator on Wednesday (3 April).

Calls and emails from Construction News to Bowie Construction have not been answered.

Accounts for the 12 months to 31 December 2021 show it made a loss of £623,916 on turnover of £11.6m.

Director Andrew James Bowie said in the 2022 accounts, which were published in December 2023, that margins had been hit by fixed-price contracts agreed before the Covid pandemic.

He said the firm’s subsequent performance was improving and forecast a net profit of £559,000 in 2024.

Lovell Homes has been contacted for comment.

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