Mainzeal subcontractors reclaim locked-up tools
KAY BLUNDELL AND TIM DONOGHUE
Contractors and subcontractors have been allowed to retrieve their tools and machinery from the Paraparaumu aquatic centre and Victoria University building sites after Mainzeal went into receivership this week.
Contractors were barred from the Coastlands Aquatic Centre site yesterday as the shock announcement stalled major building projects around the country, including the $21.1 million aquatic centre.
Thomas Plumbing and Gas owner Harold Thomas said receivers allowed him onto the Kapiti Rd site this morning to get some of his equipment.
The long-awaited aquatic centre, off Kapiti Rd, was due to be opened at the end of March but Mainzeal going into receivership would delay completion.
Mr Thomas said he and some contractors and subbies were allowed on site this morning to retrieve equipment.
''We got one of our trucks out. We still have our diggers in there - we do not want to look like we have abandoned the job.
''We are only three weeks away from completing the drainage and the plumbing. We are really pissed off,'' Mr Thomas said.
Kapiti Coast District Council, who are funding most of the project, met with receivers PricewaterhouseCoopers last night and are confident the project will be completed, probably not on time.
PricewaterhouseCoopers says all contractors will be let on to the site to retrieve their tools.
Mr Thomas said he had not been paid since December for work on the aquatic centre.
He was told by the receiver that it was working on the basis that there was no money left for unsecured creditors, such as subcontractors.
"When I hear things like Jenny Shipley and all these people that were directors of this company resigned the night before - that really gets up my craw," he said.
Relieved sub-contractors on Mainzeal's Victoria University site reclaimed their tools from the Kelburn Pde building site this morning.
Among them were 32-year-old Paraparaumu-based carpenter Jay Sandilands and a 41-year-old carpenter from Upper Hutt, Grant Webber.
Both men stood around for about an hour before their employer, Key Skills Recruitment director Ailsa McGavin, managed to negotiate their way in to the upper floors of the Rankine Brown building where their tools had been stashed since Tuesday afternoon.
A frustrated Mr Sandilands was happy to eventually be able to wheel his $2,000 worth of tools out of the building.
"This is the first time I've been bitten by one of the big boys. It makes a change. I've been burnt a few times by little guys I've worked with," Mr Sandilands said.
He needed his tools before he could begin looking for a new job.
"I have not started looking for a new job yet. I don't know of any jobs where they'll take you on without tools. I don't know of any jobs where you can just stand there for the day and do nothing," Mr Sandilands said.
His Key Skills Recruitment colleague, Mr Webber, had landed a jibbing job at Kelburn Normal School today and was waiting for his tools so he could begin work as soon as possible.
Both said playing the waiting game to get their tools had been frustrating.
Among other tradesmen on the site this morning to collect their tools were Rob Andrews and Scott Reece.
Ms McGavin discovered the hard way that life is not easy for the employer of a contracted workforce caught up in a receivership.
"I almost had a heart attack climbing nine flights of stairs [in the Rankine Brown building] because the lifts were not working. Fortunately they got them working so we could get the tools back down," Ms McGowan said.
Meanwhile subcontractors throughout the country on Mainzeal jobs, some owed hundreds of thousands of dollars, fear the worst - that they could lose the lot in the collapse.
Mainzeal's receiver has confirmed that subcontractors are owed money from before the collapse will need to make a claim for their money.
- The Dominion Post
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