Loweth, a 112-year-old Essex-based contractor, has been placed in administration. It is making 200 employees redundant.
The building firm, which was founded in 1892, is now in the hands of insolvency practitioner Begbies Traynor.

Administrator Nick Hood said the £20m-turnover firm had been hit by increased competition and low profit margins on large contracts.

He said: "This is a tragedy for a long established name in the construction sector, and of course for its staff and directors."

Hood said that efforts in the last year to find a buyer for the firm had been frustrated by employment protection regulations that protected the company's 200 members of staff.

He said: "Unfortunately, there are very few companies willing to take on the employment liabilities of such a large number of people, when margins are so slim and the commercial risks are so high."

Loweth, a private company that is based in Romford, specialised in the refurbishment and maintenance sectors.

It had a client list that included Barclays Bank, HBOS and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Hood added: "Loweth is just the latest victim of the ferocious price competition that exists in the construction sector."