Verry Construction has brought in an operations director to sort out payments to subcontractors after a series of complaints over late payments and unpaid debts

The £120m-turnover firm said Roy Willor had been appointed to the role to “strengthen communication with the outside world and the finance department”.

Members of the supply chain said substantial amounts of money were owed and one firm confirmed it would be taking legal action to recover debts.

One of its creditors, recruitment agency Borne Resourcing, issued a winding-up petition in March that is due to be heard on 6 May. If the debt, valued by Borne at “tens of thousands of pounds”, is not paid then Verry will be put into liquidation.

Two earlier winding-up petitions were dealt with by the firm last month.

Chris Stanley, director of matting contractor All Mat Systems UK, said he was owed about £2,000 from an invoice issued in December.

I hoped the money would come after 60 days. I never expected to still be waiting in April

Chris Stanley, All Mat Systems

He said he had called regularly to demand his money, but despite being told in April that a cheque was being sent first class, he was still awaiting payment.

Stanley said: “We’re only a small firm – we need every little bit of cash. I had hoped the money would at least come after 60 days. I never expected to still be waiting in April.”

John Gibson, chairman of Verry, said the firm was undergoing “some restructuring”, including the hiring of Willor.

Gibson admitted cash was tight, but added that the business had the support of its bankers and a strong order book of schools work. “We’re trying to fight our way through the current climate,” he said.

A credit report from a rating agency obtained by Building rates Verry as a “high-risk company”, scoring 23 out of 100. The average for construction firms is currently 52.