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Doubt over projects following Lakesmere collapse

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Lakesmere, one of the UK’s biggest cladding and building envelope firms, has gone into administration, potentially affecting a number of major developments 

The company, which worked on several projects at the Olympic Park, including the roof of Zaha Hadid Architects’ Aquatics Centre, said it faced financial challenges ‘arising from a number of unprofitable contracts’ in its UK business.

Among the schemes on Lakesmere’s books is Lendlease’s ongoing Elephant Park development, which was masterplanned by MAKE and features schemes by MaccreanorLavington and AHMM.

Argent declined to comment on whether Lakesmere’s collapse would effect any of the projects currently under construction at King’s Cross, where the cladding giant has worked on numerous plots.

According to the AJ’s sister title, Construction News, Deloitte was appointed as administrator last week for Lakesmere Group, its subsidiary Lakesmere Limited and Graceful Holdings, the group’s parent company.

The group’s wholly owned subsidiary, McMullen Facades, and its overseas subsidiaries in the Middle East and Asia have not been placed into administration. The group is looking to sell McMullen Facades as a going concern.

McMullen is currently working on BDP’s Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust’s new specialist hospital in Liverpool and Mossessian Architecture’s S2 building at King’s Cross. These scheme remain unaffected.

Lakesmere, which went through a manangement buyout in 2015, employed 241 people in the UK when it fell into administration, with 109 redundancies made.

According to the firm’s most recent full-year accounts, the wider group had 831 employees as of 31 January 2016.

Richard Hawes, one of the joint administrators, said: ‘Lakesmere Limited has experienced financial challenges, arising from a number of unprofitable contracts.

’This has resulted in Lakesmere Limited being placed into administration. Unfortunately, a number of redundancies have to be made in the UK and we are offering those affected support at this difficult time.

‘We are currently assessing the options available, including a potential sale of McMullen Facades Limited, which is continuing to trade solvently.’

McMullen Facades is based in Northern Ireland and no redundancies will be announced there among its 275 staff.

Lakesmere and its subsidiaries have been working on contracts for Crossrail, and recently completed work on the re-roofing of the Populous-designed Olympic Stadium in London.

It also installed cladding on Hawkins\Brown’s Here East in the Olympic Park, and has been working on the NEC in Birmingham and on Jestico + Whiles’ National Graphene Institute in Manchester.

The group’s chief financial officer Mark Johnson resigned on 16 October, according to a filing at Companies House.

The contractor had revenue of £118.5 million in its most recent accounts for the year to 31 January 2016.

Its pre-tax profit was £3.5 million, with a pre-tax profit margin of 3 per cent.

McMullen Facades’ turnover to year-end 31 January 2016 was £37.3 million, with profit before tax of £968,981.

Lakesmere Group has been contacted for comment.

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