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Construction firm collapses leaving 48 jobless and Norfolk suppliers unpaid

PUBLISHED: 08:05 27 June 2019 | UPDATED: 08:05 27 June 2019

Gill Building had nearly 50 staff. Picture: Gill Building

Gill Building had nearly 50 staff. Picture: Gill Building

Gill Building

A construction business which has been operating for more than 150 years has collapsed into administration, leaving 48 people out of work and suppliers unpaid.

Charles Gill set up the company in the 1860s. Picture: Gill BuildingCharles Gill set up the company in the 1860s. Picture: Gill Building

Gill Builders folded last week, with chairman Andrew Gill saying he felt "awful" that suppliers "largely in Norfolk" would not be paid.

"It's depressing. These are people we've worked with for many years but unfortunately events have got ahead of us," the 69-year-old said.

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Management at the business will be meeting with staff today to update them on the situation.

"Some of them have already found jobs which is a relief," Mr Gill said.

Mr Gill himself has worked in the family business, set up by his great-grandfather Charles Gill, since he left school.

The chairman said he hoped that administrator RSM would be able to pay back as many suppliers as possible.

"What's been disappointing is the people who owed us money are suddenly not being very forthcoming with their payments," he said.

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"People hear the words administration and then are a lot keener to hold onto their money than pay."

Mr Gill could not comment on how much money was owed to suppliers, and to how many businesses, and said the administrators would be handling this.

The company has been forced to collapse after it saw the need for large contracts dry up.

"We had a really good year last year but we simply haven't had big enough jobs to keep going," Mr Gill said.

"Everyone's been busy, we've had enough going on, but it hasn't been enough or sustainable enough to pay the overheads."

He added: "It's unusual for a building company to last this long. I'm glad we were able to keep it going as long as we did."

According to its latest company accounts, the business had around £1.36m in assets in 2017, with outgoings of around £1.1m.

The company has built the fabric of Norwich since its inception in the 1860s.

It began when Charles Gill, a bricklayer, helped to build a new railway line from Ipswich to Norwich.

Later he set up shop in Trinity Street, building many of the terraced houses which make up the city's Golden Triangle area.

The business was then passed to his son Thomas, and his son Sidney.

Andrew Gill took over the business in the 1970s, and operated out of Colton.

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