Builders face a litany of complaints

MARTIN VAN BEYNEN
Last updated 05:00 09/08/2014
Williams and Co

ON SITE: Williams and Co marketing manager, Marcus Shaw, left, project manager Glen McConnell and director Ashton Williams.

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Poor workmanship, broken promises, constantly changing staff, unpaid bills and lack of progress on new builds.

The picture painted by some subcontractors, former staff and customers of new Christchurch building company Williams&Co Limited is not pretty.

The company, run by director Ashton Williams and manager Barnaby Pask, featured in The Press last Saturday over complaints about lack of progress on new homes in subdivisions in Halswell and Lincoln.

The Press understands about 80 buyers have signed up with the company.

Williams&Co Limited then told The Press the delays were generally not of its making, citing weather, consents and staff changes as the main problems.

It said the company was living up to its promise of getting customers into their homes faster and claimed it was financially sound. In a written statement it said "we are not aware of any credit issues".

But since the article appeared The Press has learned:

At least four subcontractors and suppliers have told The Press they are owed money by the company.

Delays have affected sites in subdivisions in Wigram, Lincoln, Halswell and Kaiapoi.

Pask was the director of three companies, Pask Trustees, Vasari Homes, Pask Investments which went into liquidation in 2008 with a shortfall to creditors of $706,1712. Pask was adjudicated bankrupt in April 2009 and discharged in May 2012.

Williams&Co Limited is a bulk repair supplier to Southern Response but its contract is under review due to claims of poor workmanship and delays.

One of its jobs in Mt Pleasant has allegedly jeopardised a neighbouring property.

After the story appeared in The Press last Saturday, subcontractors and suppliers contacted The Press claiming the company owned them money but did not want their names published because they still hoped their bills would be paid.

However Christchurch firm Chamberlain Suspension, owed $670 since November last year, said it had passed the debt onto a debt collector and another contractor said it had begun court proceedings to recover money.

A tradesman who worked for Williams&Co Limited earlier this year said he was often unable to get supplies as the suppliers had not been paid.

"Most weeks I had to continually phone to be paid. In the end I walked off the job and I am still owed money."

The company's building programme appears to be experiencing severe delays.

Retired couple Geoff and Velma Teehan, who are building their "first and last" home, signed up for a land/home package in October last year.

"We have no verbal communication with them since since October. All we have to show for it is a hole in the ground. We thought we would have nice warm insulated before winter," they said.

The Press has been told of many other jobs on which the company is behind.

One disappointed buyer, who did not want to be named, said the company had a great product but its owners "just doesn't know s--t about running a company".

A year after signing up, their house was just reaching "lock-up" stage and they would be lucky if it was finished by the end of the year. The job should have been completed in May.

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She said the company had built her house in "drips and drabs as money came in to pay suppliers."

Concerns have also been raised about some of the company's repair work.

Peter van Tulder, said Williams&Co Limited was appointed to do the $218,000 repair job on his Waimairi Beach house last year by Arrow International, the project manager for Southern Response.

Arrow had arranged for the interior of the house to be repainted after it was botched by the company.

Two repair clients said Arrow had also agreed to redo work after Williams&Co Limited botched their jobs.

A Southern Response spokeswoman said the operation had concerns about work carried out by Williams&Co Limited but did not want to discuss them publicly.

Williams&Co Limited declined to comment on the new claims.

Director Ashton Williams, in a statement, said "we would prefer to deal with our clients, suppliers and commercial partners on an individual basis to address any concerns rather than through the media."

"We have made apologies and gestures of good faith on a case by case basis to make things right."

- The Press

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