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Building firm which collapsed owing £2m had just £4.5k in bank

PUBLISHED: 09:20 06 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:43 06 September 2019

Omnis Construction's base on Hurricane Way, Norwich, is now abandoned. Photo: Archant

Omnis Construction's base on Hurricane Way, Norwich, is now abandoned. Photo: Archant

Archant

Suppliers have spoken of their anger after a building firm collapsed owing them £2 million.

Omnis Construction's base on Hurricane Way, Norwich, is now abandoned. Photo: ArchantOmnis Construction's base on Hurricane Way, Norwich, is now abandoned. Photo: Archant

Omnis Construction Ltd, based on the Norwich Airport Industrial Estate, called in liquidators in May after racking up debts of more than £2.14m to 200 creditors, including local tradesmen.

Documents filed at Companies House in July by administrator Parker Andrews show Omnis had £70,700 in assets, including £4,500 in the bank, left for unsecured creditors.

Parker Andrews said it was still working out how much money could be paid back.

Omnis blamed its collapse on problems building housing developments.

Martin Worrall, director of Omnis Construction. 
Photo Simon FinlayMartin Worrall, director of Omnis Construction. Photo Simon Finlay

The business, which was set up in 2004, more than doubled its turnover from £3.8m to £10m in 2018 by winning contracts to build housing estates in Norwich, Cambridge and Colchester - but that ultimately led to its downfall.

"These projects were difficult to manage and were delivered late and damages were levied against the company," the administrator's report said.

One creditor, owed tens of thousands of pounds, said: "From November last year we were chasing money every day and I even said to one of the directors 'we can't afford to keep working for you'.

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"They would give you the last week's pay but not pay the debt off. You are on a sticky wicket because they owe you so much money, you've got to keep going back."

Another supplier said: "They (Omnis) were telling us everything was fine.

"I don't see how a company can rack up debts of that much and not realise it is going into administration."

Parker Andrews said it was not possible to save the company because of "serious cashflow problems".

Omnis Construction's base on Hurricane Way, Norwich, is now abandoned. Photo: ArchantOmnis Construction's base on Hurricane Way, Norwich, is now abandoned. Photo: Archant

The largest supplier is owed £255,000, while HMRC is also owed £84,000.

The firm was owned by directors Jon Smith and Martin Worrall.

It is the second large Norwich building contractor to collapse over the summer, after Gill Building folded in June.

The documents also said directors took out a £290,000 loan from the company, but Parker Andrews said this was an accounting error and it was likely that the directors were owed.

Jon Smith, director of Omnis Construction. Picture: Jon SmithJon Smith, director of Omnis Construction. Picture: Jon Smith

We have tried to contact the directors for comment.

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