Broke tradie ‘led to the slaughter’ by failed builders
An established tiling business has become another victim of Queensland's volatile construction industry and faces extinction despite being owed $600k by seven builders who have gone bust.
The Australian Taxation office has moved to wind up DPH Projects, which was started in Redcliffe in 2005, with a hearing set down for August 30.
DPH Projects sole director Dean Heffernan said he had sold his house and restructured the tiling business - even put his love life on hold - as he desperately tried to stay afloat while builders collapsed around him.
His company's biggest debtor was Bloomer Constructions which allegedly owed him $350,000 when it collapsed in 2017.
The liquidator of Bloomer confirmed DPH Projects was a creditor while Mr Heffernan also launched his own civil action against the collapsed builder in May 2017.
Another debtor was a Gold Coast building company that allegedly owed DPH Projects $140,000 when it struck trouble at the end of last year.
"It's a bloodbath out there, a resilient Mr Heffernan told The Courier-Mail.
"I've had seven builders go broke on me since 2016 and who owe me over $600,000.
"I've had to sell my house and I've put every single dollar I've earned back in to the business to try and keep it alive … I will be forced into bankruptcy by the end of this month."
The ATO launched wind-up proceedings this week and Mr Heffernan expects it all to come to a head at the end of next week.
His troubles started when Bloomer folded and then compounded when more builders went down with some owing as little as $10,000.
The last kick in the guts came when another builder went under over the Christmas-New Year period, Mr Heffernan said.
"It's quite devastating," Mr Heffernan said.
"Originally, I hoped to have traded out of it but the most recent one, at the end of last year, was when they went down on the Gold Coast and they owed me $140,000.
"We actually only went down to help them get across the line and it feels like I've been led to the slaughter."
The 35-year-old said he will have to let go 15 employees although all entitlements have been paid.
The only saving grace is that Mr Heffernan does not have a family to feed but that's no coincidence.
He has deliberately sidestepped being in a long-term relationship because of his company's precarious position.
"For this last three years I've had to avoid any marital relationships out of fear off financial collapse," he said.
Building watchdog Queensland Building and Construction Commission said the non-payment of subcontractors was a major issue and there had been an industry crackdown.
A QBCC spokesman urged subcontractors, who are owed money, to lodge complaints with the watchdog through the adjudication register.
"The QBCC administers the adjudication registry which provides a dispute resolution process that not only helps contractors get the money they are owed, but is more time and cost-effective than going to court," the spokesman said.
Over the last two financial years the QBCC has investigated 2,273 moneys-owed complaints, with more than $11.8 million recovered for creditors in that time, he said.
Since the service commenced in October 2014, the QBCC has investigated almost 5,000 complaints and recovered more than $29.1 million for creditors.