Tradespeople step up after company collapse

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 05:00 14/11/2012
Willy and Amanda Buchanan with Michael, 5, and Sophie, 7, in front of their unfinished house at Wreys Bush.
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ

GRATEFUL: Willy and Amanda Buchanan with Michael, 5, and Sophie, 7, in front of their unfinished house at Wreys Bush.

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Tradespeople and sub-contractors hit by the collapse of CS Homes are rallying together to help two Southland families whose homes have been left unfinished by the company.

Company director Colin Murray Hiatt put the business into voluntary liquidation last week.

Industry insiders believe he has fled to Australia and could owe more than half a million dollars to contractors and suppliers in the region.

Among the homeowners left in the lurch were Southland Stags and Highlanders flanker Tim Boys and the Buchanan family, of Wreys Bush.

Boys said it was too early to know what would happen to his home but he was grateful that Southland businesses were helping him.

"We are working through it. Southland businesses are stepping up to help us out. I hope it works out," he said.

Builders who played rugby with Boys at the Winton-based Midlands club volunteered to help him finish his home.

Ben McHugh said they would give up a few days of their time for free to help Boys put in windows, prepare building paper for bricks and put on the roof.

Mr McHugh would then take over the full building contract after Christmas.

Placemakers Invercargill operator Alister Rance said his business had been affected by the CS Homes collapse but he wanted to help Boys and his partner finish their home.

Most CS Homes creditors were doing what they could to help Boys and the Buchanan family, he said.

"This is extraordinary when you consider these guys are owed money."

Willy and Amanda Buchanan had worked hard to build their dream home in Wreys Bush and thanked Kevin Clark Building and Installation Services for helping organise contractors to finish work on their home.

"I take my hat off to him, he is a true Southland guy that did not walk away when things got tough," Mr Buchanan said.

They had been up to date with payments for the house, but money had not been passed on to most contractors.

The couple believe more than $200,000 is still owed to tradespeople who worked on their house and between $5000 to $10,000 owed to them personally.

"We are absolutely gutted for the guys who have done work on our house and not been paid. Despite being owed a lot of money, some guys are coming back, which is unreal," Mr Buchanan said.

Mr Clark said he expected the Buchanan home would be complete in three weeks.

He had completed 28 houses for CS Homes during the past few years. He had stood behind his three clients and negotiated on their behalf with the liquidators to get their homes released, so they could carry on, he said.

"I could not just walk away and leave these people . . . I have built up a relationship . . . I could not say ‘stuff you' and walk off, it wouldn't be right," he said.

He had helped organise contractors to come back and finish a few projects at cost price.

collette.devlin@stl.co.nz

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- The Southland Times

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