CJ Sims, founded in 1946, has built a reputation as a high-quality refurbishment specialist. It has carried out several royal projects, including ones at Windsor and the refurbishment of Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones’ house at Bagshot, Surrey.
Work has stopped on all Sims projects, but it is understood that those close to completion may still be finished, including work for the London Borough of Southwark.
A source close to the company said: “The failure of Sims is due to a combination of things, but ultimately it comes down to cash flow. It simply had the misfortune to be involved in a number of contracts that had difficulties from which it could not divorce itself.”
The company is understood to be owed money on several projects. Leonard Curtis’ Keith Goodman said: “Wafer-thin margins leave little room for error, and any problems on site, coupled with an acute cash shortage, may be enough to damage a sound business irreparably.”
Sources said Sims was unlikely to be able to trade it way out of its difficulties, and the receiver is looking for a buyer. It is understood that several firms are interested.
Sims had also built a reputation as one of the first small firms to embrace partnering. The source added: “Sims’ belief in partnering has certainly taken a jolt. I think it has discovered that partnering only works when the client is as committed as the contractor.”
It is not clear whether the firm will be able to keep its royal warrant under new ownership.