Opinion: Enquiry needed into Rok shock

Grant Prior 12 years ago
Share

Rok has gone from the Nation’s Local Builder to the country’s biggest construction collapse in just a few hours.

But a stunned industry is still struggling to understand how the  firm fell from grace so quickly despite the management’s assurances that all was well financially.

Rumours had been circulating since Connaught’s fall in September that Rok could be the next maintenance specialist to run into trouble.

But chief executive Garvis Snook moved quickly to distance his firm from the troubles surrounding Connaught and there was even brave talk of buying a few contracts from the failed firm.

Snook was well practiced by then in soothing city and industry fears following a traumatic summer that saw Rok’s share price plummet following another profit warning.

Accounting problems were discovered at the plumbing division but Snook insisted the troubles were localised and the group enjoyed a healthy order book.

Rok even declared a share dividend and the subsequent months saw a steady stream of good news as it picked up major insurance contracts with Axa and Tesco and repair work across the Scottish Highlands.

But some more cynical rivals were not convinced  about Rok’s financial footing and a series of  announcements added to their fears.

The firm was forced to apologise to departing finance director Ashley Martin who had earlier been wrongly blamed for the plumbing division disaster.

Then PwC was brought in last month to advise on a refinancing deal with the banks. That obviously didn’t work and PwC is now in charge of the company as administrator.

The accountants are now trying to shift the social housing maintenance contracts as quickly as possible with Mears the likeliest buyer.

But yet again trade suppliers will lose out and subcontractors will pay an even bigger price at Rok’s construction business which had an annual turnover of around £250m.

The collapse will be a logistical nightmare for PwC with hundreds of small building jobs hit.

One thing is for sure, it will be the trade suppliers who lose out.

The fall of Connaught is feared to have cost subcontractors more than £100m. That bill could be even higher for Rok.

Those suppliers left with unpaid bills will want to know whether they were spun a line about the firm’s finances.

A full enquiry into the circumstances of Rok’s collapse is the least the industry deserves.

Latest news

Administrator details confirmed at Southampton M&E firm

Begbies Traynor now in charge at Working Environments as suppliers face large losses
9 hours ago

Applicant numbers nosedive for construction vacancies

Recruitment market gets even more competitive - how the Enquirer can help
13 hours ago

Housing association shuts in-house modular factories

Swan closes loss-making steel frame and cross-laminate timber factories
16 hours ago

350-homes approved around iconic London Tube station

Housing blocks to be built around Grade II-listed Hounslow West Tube station
16 hours ago

Domis set for £195m Boddingtons Brewery scheme

Developer Salboy buys Manchester site to kickstart long-awaited 556 homes project
17 hours ago

John Lewis £500m funding deal to build 1,000 rental homes

Deal to advance BTR flats at store sites in Bromley, West Ealing and Reading
1 day ago

Esh launches new housing retrofit division

Esh Retrofit Solutions will target market to improve the energy performance of social rented homes
17 hours ago

Eric Wright wins tricky £52m Liverpool transformation

Contractor working with engineers at Ridge and Partners on "challenging" Stanley Lock Flight site
3 days ago

Investment giant buys Bristol M&E contractor

RDCP Infrastructure acquires Avon Combined Electrical Services
4 days ago

Demolition start for £50m Farnworth town centre rebuild

Caddick Construction is tipped for main works due to start in the spring
4 days ago

L&G Modular strikes deal to build 1,000 affordable homes

Modular homes business teams up with Hampshire's Vivid housing association
4 days ago

Former Erith operations director joins John F Hunt

Scott Exell named new operations director at demolition specialist John F Hunt
4 days ago

Green light for £135m Leeds twin tower resi scheme

Construction to start in New Year on 500 build-to-rent apartments
4 days ago

Mace hits 1m tonnes carbon saving target for clients

Present work pipeline betters 2026 carbon emission saving target
4 days ago

Plans in for £40m surf park at former Kent colliery

Seahive surf lagoon and health resort will be built near Deal
5 days ago

Crushed demolition worker vows to return to industry

Shannon Brasier hoping to return to construction following horror accident
5 days ago

Mount Anvil to start 900-home North London estate rebuild

Planning approval paves way for Barnsbury Estate rebuild in Islington
5 days ago

Green light for major laboratory campus in Cambridge

Developer BioMed to tender first building on 600,000 sq ft lab complex in the New Year
5 days ago

Belfast firm signs the biggest work deal yet under Project Gigabit

Fibrus to hook-up rural Cumbria to lightning-fast broadband under £108m deal
5 days ago

McLaren wins Leeds logistics park contract

Work to start imminently on warehouse complex for Firethorn Trust
5 days ago

Work restarts on £683m waste power plant after site death

Construction suspended for a week of investigations following fatality
5 days ago

Demolition starts on £135m Wigan Galleries scheme

Contractor BCEGI starts work on project to redevelop Wigan town centre
6 days ago

Amey CEO to step down following private equity buyout

Amanda Fisher to leave once business is transferred to new owners
6 days ago

New body set up to vet plant operator card schemes

Contractor trades bodies unite to tackle competency concerns over plant operator skills cards
6 days ago

Kier leads switch to hybrid battery generators

Battery units work alongside smaller generators cutting run times by nearly 60%
6 days ago

Plans in for first Leeds co-living scheme

Watkin Jones submits plan to convert old Direct Line HQ into 230 studio flats
6 days ago

Demolition worker crushed by excavator

Court hears 20-year-old woman was left with "life changing injuries"
7 days ago

Government pays £700m for 50% stake in Sizewell C

New body, Great British Nuclear, will be set up to develop pipeline of nuclear projects
6 days ago

Costain wins Heathrow Airport asset renewal deal

Firm takes early contractor involvement role in Terminal 2 baggage handling upgrade
7 days ago

Worker killed on £683m waste power plant site

Fatal collision involving heavy goods vehicle on giant north London site
1 week ago

Contractor services