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The high cost of affordable housing for subcontractor

A SUBCONTRACTOR this week told The Clare Champion he has twice been left unpaid following works on the affordable housing development at Glaise na Rinne, adjacent to Cluain Airne.
A spokesman for Galway firm Conrock Ltd said the company is down over €60,000 and have laid the blame at Clare County Council’s door. The company are currently considering a picket of the site, in protest.
In a statement, the company outlined the circumstances it has faced. “On two separate occasions, Clare County Council entered into contracts with two different building contractors, who subsequently turned out to have inadequate financial backing to complete the projects for which they had been commissioned. Not only is this a gross mishandling of scarce public funds but it has also resulted in smaller, sub-contractors like ourselves being left without payment for works done.
“We were contracted on both occasions to carry out the mechanical services (plumbing, heating, ventilation, gas installation and so on) on the Glaise na Rinne building site at Tullyglass Lower, Shannon. Back in late 2009, we were appointed by Paddy Burke of Burke’s Builders Ltd and again in late 2011 by Atlantic Developments Ltd to carry out works on this site. Both of these companies have subsequently ceased trading. We were owed €42,000 from Paddy Burke Builders and more recently owed €20,000 by Atlantic Developments, which are enormous figures for our small business. We completed our element of the work in good faith and awaited payment.”
The company claim that too much was paid by the council to Atlantic Developments and that the company failed to pass on payment to subcontractors.
It claims that while assurances were given that Conrock would be brought back to complete works on site following the appointment of a completion contractor, this didn’t happen and they were passed over. “We went back in there again after finding out that Atlantic were gone and I met the bondsman on site. We showed them what was paid and what the final figures were and we were told that those figures would be issued to the council and that we’d be a listed subcontractor in the retendering process but that was just thrown out the window,” a spokesman said.
Shannon town manager and housing director of services Bernadette Kinsella stated that the council doesn’t have a role in providing compensation for any of the subcontractors. “Under the terms of this and previous contracts, the appointment of subcontractors is solely a matter for the main contractor. The council understands that a number of subcontractors who previously worked on this project have been engaged by the completion contractor. The council has to date discharged all sums certified as due under the terms of the two previous contracts and has referred sub contractors with queries to the receiver.”
While Conrock said that it warned Clare County Council about Atlantic Development, Ms Kinsella said the company had met all the necessary criteria. “Atlantic Developments Ltd were nominated as completion contractor by the guarantor consequent on the original contractor going into receivership. The council entered into contract with Atlantic Developments Ltd, following demonstration by the company of satisfactory compliance with all pre-contract conditions as required by rules of engagement.”
She also said the council didn’t have a role in ensuring that subcontractors were retained. “Under the terms of the bond, it is a matter for the guarantor, construction guarantee, to nominate a completion contractor for approval and the council cannot unreasonably withhold its consent. In accordance with the terms of all such contracts, it is a matter for the contractor to engage any subcontractors required.”


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