India Buildings
India Buildings in Liverpool was one of Styles & Woods' problem jobs

Styles & Wood to appoint administrators

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Sale-based Styles & Wood’s parent company Extentia Group has taken the “difficult but correct and responsible decision” to appoint administrators to the troubled fit-out contractor and immediately cease activities.

Craig Eastwood, chief executive of Extentia, said: “Extentia’s programme management business Styles & Wood has experienced significant cashflow issues following a handful of large developer-led projects. By nature, this type of work is complex with high revenues and low margins; a situation inherited by Extentia Group’s new leadership team who succeeded predecessors at the end of November 2019.

“Unfortunately these cashflow issues have become too significant for Styles & Wood to sustain, and so the difficult but correct and responsible decision has been made to file an intention to appoint administrators and discontinue all programme management activities.

“Our focus now is to work with our stakeholders and advisers to explore options for the Styles & Wood businesses, making it a priority to protect the interests of our colleagues and those employed within connected Styles & Wood divisions.”

The news follows a difficult 2019 for Styles & Wood, which saw the company replaced on a couple of high-profile projects in the region, and senior members of its management team depart.

At India Buildings in Liverpool, Styles & Wood was delivering a £38m fit-out contract, which was terminated in September, and Caddick Construction appointed to take over.

At the time Styles & Wood said a “dispute has arisen” and the company was seeking legal advice, describing the termination of the contract as “wrongful”.

The refurbishment project had seen a series of complications and delays, after the discovery of nearly 400 tonnes of asbestos and additional works which required specialist planning permission. Caddick was later replaced on the scheme by Overbury.

In July, Styles & Wood was also taken off Hyphen, Boultbee Brooks’ 52,000 sq ft office on Manchester’s Mosley Street set to be occupied by WeWork. At the time Styles & Wood told Place North West the project had “significant issues which gave rise to delays”.

Hyphen Reception

Styles & Wood was replaced on Hyphen by Russells

In November, Tony Lenehan, chief executive, and Phil Lanigan, chief financial officer, of Styles & Wood and Extentia Group, both left the business.

Lenehan and Lanigan were both long-time senior staff at Sale-based Styles & Wood. The company became part of Extentia, a property services group formed when Central Square Holdings acquired Styles & Wood and furniture company Southerns in 2018. Following the deal Lenehan became chief executive of both Styles & Wood and Extentia.

Eastwood, previously executive director of the Group’s furniture fixtures and equipment business, was appointed replacement chief executive.

Extentia is made up of 11 businesses. These include interior design consultant SpaceInvader; furniture supplier Ralph Capper; and engineering consultant GDM.

Regarding the financial position of the wider group, Eastwood said: “Overall trading conditions within Extentia Group are positive, with strong year on year growth across the majority of businesses, and each having solid forward pipelines. These include Extentia’s furniture, fixtures and equipment businesses Southerns, Broadstock and Ralph Capper, together with Extentia’s professional services entities which include Space Invader Design, Keysource, GDM and Concourse Facilities Management.

“Extentia Group’s FF&E and professional services businesses remain unaffected, and with the continued support of our stakeholders and funders we are very confident about the future. All of our FF&E and professional services businesses are trading well and we are firmly placed to capitalise on the pipeline of opportunities that have been secured.”

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There is a trend here… working for developers on large schemes seem to be fraught with risk and putting contractors under one by one… cannot tell me all contractors are at fault….seems too much of a coincidence…this is the start of the bubble bursting…..

By Anon

This is becoming a weekly thing now. When are we going to have a proper debate about whatever it is that is clearly wrong with the construction industries attitude and approach to business these days.

By Green T

I would bet that most of the contractor on the large developments going up in Manchester are operating at a loss.

The bigger fry is probably sustaining it better than your postains, S&W etc

By Anonymous

Lots of contractors are very poorly run.

By North by North-West

Main contractors are in a race to the bottom. Its a crazy situation. The construction ‘ecosystem’ is too unbalanced where some are taking way too much out leaving insufficient margins for the rest. It needs to be brought back into balance or it will continue until there is a collapse. Maybe that’s what is required so we can start again with a new model.

By Verum

Perhaps we should go back to the days when consultants independently advised clients. Perhaps they didn’t always like what they wanted to hear, but at least there were checks and balances to the system back then

By Nice T

I’m old enough to remember very similar events to these happening in 2008-2009….

By MancLad

It was noted that a number of staff left when Exentia tookover S&W most were seasoned professional who couldn’t see an office furniture dealer working as a main contractor. This was mainly due to the other members of the group not understanding contractors and the construction market. They did know it from a Sub-contractor POV but not from the nitty gritty of construction.

By Tellmemoretellmemore.

“There is a trend here… working for developers on large schemes seem to be fraught with risk and putting contractors under one by one… cannot tell me all contractors are at fault….seems too much of a coincidence…this is the start of the bubble bursting…..” its been known for years big contractors ask for loads of extras during the job and then picks faults at the end of the job and refuse to pay sub-suppliers. We’ve been done by 3 construction firms in the past.

By Phase