Hertfordshire contractor set to enter administration

Stevenage-based main contractor ARJ Construction Ltd has filed a notice of intention to enter administration.

The firm was established in 1991 and focuses on projects worth £10m to £60m, particularly in South East England.

Its most recent accounts filed with Companies House, covering the 12 months to 30 April 2023, appeared healthy as revenue soared by 61 per cent from £72.7m to £117m.

However, the Hertfordshire company’s cost of sales soared from £59.3m to £101.6m, amid what directors described as “increasing inflation and labour challenges across the sector”.

Pre-tax profit rose by 8 per cent from £2.5m to £2.7m.

A construction market analyst, speaking to Construction News on condition of anonymity, said the notice of intention “came out of the blue”, given ARJ’s positive net cash balance of £20m at the end of April last year.

The firm had no bank loans and employed a monthly average of 136 staff, according to its latest accounts.

ARJ had a wide portfolio of active projects in its £280m order book for 2023/24.

Among them is the Paradise Depot 56-home affordable housing scheme for Dacorum Borough Council in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, with completion expected in spring 2026.

Another ongoing scheme is Hearnden Court in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, for Greatwell Homes. ARJ is building 57 energy-efficient care homes there, due for completion in winter 2025.

The firm has also been involved in the later-living sector. Last December it was selected by client Inspired Villages to build the Wellcroft Green development in Albourne, Sussex.

Data provider Glenigan also notes that ARJ is the main contractor on two Manchester jobs: a £24m expansion of Mollies Hotel (pictured) in the former Granada Studios for Allied London Properties, and a £15.6m office fit-out job in St John’s Quarter for Booking.com.

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