The Enquirer understands the news was broken to staff on Monday morning as plant manufacturers started to arrive at the firm’s depots to collect leased kit.
Administrators from EY are now in charge of the company and have made 83 of the 420 staff redundant.
The administration covers Hawk Plant (UK) Limited and its subsidiaries Hawk Plant Hire Limited, Hawk Hire Limited, Safety and Training Limited, Hawk Plant Limited, and Hawk Plant Sales Limited.
It is understood Hawk ran into debt problems after being hit for around £800,000 from the collapse of Carillion and a problem contract in Sierra Leone.
Hawk has a fleet of 2,000 machines and has been supplying kit to sites across the country for more than 40 years.
Latest accounts for Hawk Plant (UK) Limited show the firm made a pre-tax profit of £515,000 from a turnover of £93.4m during the year to December 31 2017.
During the same period, Hawk Plant Hire Limited made a pre-tax loss of £733,995 on a turnover of £75.4m.
Sam Woodward, Joint Administrator, said: “The Group’s cashflow had been impacted by a number of historical problematic contracts and a delay in the commencement of anticipated projects.
“Coupled with this, the group’s funding structure, with significant hire purchase and finance lease commitments put pressure on the cashflow at a time that asset utilisation was comparatively low”.
Subsidiary Enverity Ltd, a ground survey and sight inspection business based in Newark, remains solvent and unaffected by the administration.
Woodward added: “We will now begin the process of seeking to find a suitable buyer for Hawk, to ensure the best possible outcome for all of the Group’s stakeholders.
“In the meantime, we will seek to minimise the impact on the customer base by keeping assets on hire and maintaining service levels.”