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Construction failures end in court win for Anderson

DEVELOPER Warren Anderson has beaten a multimillion-dollar court claim stemming from his failed foray into the construction industry.

WA Supreme Court Master Craig Sanderson ruled that a statutory demand made by Rapid Metal Developments against Mr Anderson’s form-work company, Anderson Formrite Pty Ltd, for nearly $3 million be set aside.

Mr Sanderson said there was “a genuine dispute in relation to the defendant’s claim” and that the precise nature of the contractual arrangement between the parties was at issue.

“It was optimistic of the defendant to anticipate that it could resolve its differences with the plaintiff through the statutory demand procedure,” he said.

Had it been successful with its statutory demand claim, it is understood RMD would have been in a position to wind up Anderson Formrite.

Barrister Matthew Howard, who represented Anderson Formrite, said the company had successfully argued that there was a genuine dispute over the amount owed – therefore defeating the statutory demand claim.

It is not known whether RMD plans to continue its pursuit of the $2.7 million it claims it is owed.

The Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry was told in July that Anderson Formrite also faced a $1.7 million statutory demand against his formwork company lodged by Queensland-based labour hire firm Workforce One.

It is understood Anderson Formrite also won that case, though the company could not confirm that.

Workforce One director Kevin McHugh told the royal commission’s July hearing that he needed the $1.7 million to clear a debt with the Australian Tax Office. That debt is believed to be $1.1 million.

RMD was acting as a sub-contractor to Anderson Formrite on the construction of the Woodside building at 240 St Georges Terrace.

It was contracted to supply the equipment needed for the construction of formwork.

Anderson Formrite won a $12.5 million contract to supply formwork to Baulderstone Hornibrook, which is the head contractor on the Woodside building project.

Anderson Formrite was subsequently sacked from the job in May due to low productivity, the royal commission was told.

Mr Anderson told the royal commission that 24 workers that had been supplied by Workforce One were “not skilled men”.

The royal commission was also told of a deal with the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union that would allow Anderson Formrite to offload the 24 unproductive workers.

However, when the plan was to be put in place, CFMEU assistant secretary Joe McDonald insisted that the 24 men to be put off would be the last to have been hired and not the 24 that Anderson Formrite had selected.

Workforce One is believed to have close links with the CFMEU.

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