FORS Gold member and tipper haulier PJ Brown (Construction) went into administration owing £6.5m to creditors, an administrator's report has revealed.

The Crawley-based firm was tipped over the edge by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw construction sites in lockdown from March.

The report, by joint administrators Nicholas Cusack and David Perkins of Parker Andrews and Andrew Andronikou of Quantuma, said the company reached peak performance in 2017 achieving £1.3m in profits.

However, by the end of 2018 profits at the firm, which specialised in construction transport and had an operating licence for 79 vehicles, had fallen to £794,240.

The joint administrators said that whilst PJ Brown (Construction) “still appeared to be trading well moving into 2020 - it had begun to struggle to keep up with its ongoing obligations due to its aged debtors”.

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The report added that the pandemic lockdown put an additional strain on the company’s cashflow and its ability to pay its outstanding debts, resulting in the firm going into administration in June this year.

Commented Andronikou: “PJ Brown Construction has been a successful firm for a number of years and was widely regarded as one of the largest of its kind in the region. However, the coronavirus pandemic has had a detrimental effect on the construction sector as a whole and the firm has subsequently seen large contracts cancelled. This, coupled with threats of winding up being received from creditors, ultimately pushed PJ Brown Construction into administration.”

The joint administrators are currently in the process of winding up the firm’s affairs. Its 86 staff members have been made redundant and some plant and machinery sold for £31,750 to sister company PJ Brown (Civil Engineering), which is also owned by Peter Brown and which still operates.

PJ Brown (Civil Engineering) had also requested use of PJ Brown (Construction)’s operating licence, according to the report. However the administrators advised that a transfer of the licence would not be possible.

PJ Brown (Construction) gained FORS bronze accreditation in 2014 and acheived Gold FORS status last year.

It operated from four depots based in Crawley, Uckfield and Horley and recently upgraded its fleet with 10 new tipper trucks.

Requests for comment from Peter Brown, the owner of PJ Brown Construction have yet to receive a response.