Architecture firm HHA Architects has been placed into liquidation at the hands of property developer Norman Carey, after he won a court case to safeguard its insurance.
Health care architecture firm HHA Architects has been placed into liquidation at the hands of property developer Norman Carey, who won a court case to safeguard the insurance at stake in his professional negligence claim.
WA Insolvency Solutions’ liquidators Jimmy Trpcevski and Gary Anderson were appointed after Mr Carey lodged an application in the Supreme Court to wind up the Cottesloe-based architecture firm, claiming he was a creditor of the company.
The claim stems from a long-running court case between Mr Carey, his company Goldblaze, and Alistair and Kathleen Hume’s HHA Architects, in which Mr Carey is claiming damages for a breach of contract and professional negligence.
Mr Carey claims he entered into an agreement with HHA to design three houses in 2014, but that those houses were never constructed because the design did not comply with the state’s Water Services Act.
He claimed the alleged oversight constituted a breach of the agreement and resulted in a 10-month delay to the project.
Former HHA Architects owner Mr Hume disputed the allegations, rejecting the alleged terms of the agreement and alleging that the claim had no merit and should not be settled.
Mr Carey lodged the wind-up application this year on the basis that he believed HHA Architects had begun diverting its assets, leaving the company with little more than its professional indemnity insurance policy to support the damages he is seeking in the negligence case.
HHA Architects ceased operating in July 2018, with Mr Hume conceding the business had been ‘mothballed’ until he could nullify the legal claim, according to a document lodged with the court.
Supreme Court Master Craig Sanderson agreed that by all accounts the couple had shut-up shop, taking their website down, and ceasing their employment with the company.
According to the court documents, Mrs Hume resigned as director and transferred her shares in HHA Architects.
But Mr Carey highlighted that a new company, Hume Healthcare Architects, had been established weeks after HHA ceased operating, with Mrs Hume serving as director and Mr Hume employed as an architect.
Mr Carey said HHA was now a “mere shell” and pushed for a liquidator to be appointed to the company in a bid to safeguard the company’s remaining insurance policy.
In the Supreme Court judgement handed down last week, Master Sanderson found it was proper to appoint a liquidator as an ‘essential’ step to protect the interests of the consumer.
A notice confirming the liquidation was published by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission this morning.