Equipment was removed from sites in days before London high-rise builder sank into administration

The administrator of collapsed London high-rise builder Henry Construction Projects has said it is making “positive headway” in its attempts to recover plant and equipment removed from the firm’s sites in the days before it sank into administration.

Hundreds of firms are owed more than £43m after the contractor’s demise earlier this summer, an administrator’s report has revealed.

Sixteen companies are owed at least £500,000 each with one firm owed more than £6m.

In its report filed at Companies House, FRP Advisory said in the days before it was formally appointed on 8 June, it became “evident that there was a risk of substantial chattel assets being removed from sites. It was therefore important for an administrator to be appointed as soon as possible to take control of the situation.”

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FRP said “significant” amounts of formwork and scaffolding had gone missing following Henry’s collapse

But FRP admitted that “a significant amount of plant was not at the expected locations” when it began to draw up an inventory and that Henry’s plant and machinery register was “deficient”.

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Henry had 60 live sites at the time of its implosion and FRP said: “Several of the landowners have reported that plant and machinery was being removed from the project sites in the days leading up to the appointment.”

The fraught days before Henry’s collapse are detailed by FRP in its report with the administrator saying that subcontractors were “approaching developers to demand payment for continuing to work on site” while Henry’s debtors were “ceasing to make payments that were due”.

FRP said that its efforts to recover missing plant and equipment were ongoing “and positive headway is being made”.

But it admitted “significant volumes” of formwork and scaffolding had gone missing and that it had appointed an independent formwork and scaffold agent to undertake an audit.

It said a progress report on its recovery efforts would be published by the end of the year and added that several tower cranes owned by Henry have been sold to site owners and others to incoming replacement contractors.

FRP also said Henry held performance bonds with 12 surety providers. “While final surety claims are contingent on the final losses incurred by site owners, they could total up to £160m,” the report added.

An auction of Henry assets at its Cranford, west London, office was held last month with the amount raised due to be known in the coming weeks.