15/12/2016 - 15:13

Architecture firm collapses after spin-out

15/12/2016 - 15:13

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Perth-based architecture firm DAPM Architects is in the hands of liquidators, less than a week after it was spun-out of national group DesignInc, but its managing director says the collapse represents an opportunity for a new beginning.

DesignInc's Perth office provided architectural services for three DoubleTree by Hilton proposals, including this one planned for Fremantle.

Perth-based architecture firm DAPM Architects is in the hands of liquidators, less than a week after it was spun-out of national group DesignInc, but its managing director says the collapse represents an opportunity for a new beginning.

DesignInc announced last week that its Perth outpost would leave the group, with DAPM to be headed up by former DesignInc Perth managing director Ron Jee.

Last week, DesignInc national chairman Ian Armstrong said the split came because the Perth office had taken an opportunity to focus on aged care, hospitality and modular design, areas not core to the DesignInc offering.

However, it was resolved at a general meeting of DAPM earlier this week that the company would be wound up, and Pitcher Partners appointed as liquidators.

The liquidation is being handled by Pitcher PartnersBryan Hughes and Daniel Bredenkamp.

Mr Armstrong said DesignInc planned to maintain a long-term presence in Perth, with details on a new Perth office to be announced shortly.

Mr Bredenkamp said he was not privy to the details of the split from DesignInc prior to being approached by DAPM last week.

“We were approached by the director, the company was obviously not in a sound financial position, we then at a high level discussed all the options around the company,” Mr Bredenkamp told Business News.

”The company has been put into voluntary liquidation and we are essentially in the process of winding up the affairs of the company.”

Mr Bredenkamp said Pitcher Partners was still in the process of calculating the company’s outstanding debt, however there was no suggestion of improper conduct by the firm’s directors.

He said making sure the projects that DAPM had on its books were not derailed by the company’s collapse was his first priority.

“There are some ongoing projects so we’re looking at completing them where we can and making sure that those projects aren’t left in the lurch,” Mr Bredenkamp said.

Recent projects by DesignInc Perth include Mantra Group’s Peppers Hotel on Wellington Street, which is Australia’s tallest modular building, while the firm also provided design work on three DoubleTree by Hilton hotels, proposed by developer SKS Group.

Mr Jee told Business News that the liquidation of DAPM was the first step in the process of establishing a new firm, ModCon Architecture, with the new name to better reflect the operations of the company.

Mr Jee said clients that had been contracted under the DesignInc banner were happy to come along under the new brand, while all the company's former employees were not out of pocket any of their entitlements.

"The last two or three years have been really hectic, we went through a really rapid period of expansion and with that we’ve copped the fallout of delivering big projects and there not being a lot of new ones coming on stream to keep the cash flow going," Mr Jee told Business News.

"We’ve made sure that all our employees are well looked after, we don’t owe anything to our employees, and some of them will be following me under this new brand.

"Things happen in business, our clients all understand that and they want to continue this relationship because we have got a lot to offer and we’ve done a lot of good things."

Mr Jee said 2017 would provide the opportunity for ModCon Architecture to cement it as a leader in modular and prefabricated design.

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