Borders building firm runs out of road

Blair Nimmo and Alistair McAlinden from Interpath Advisory were appointed joint provisional liquidators to the company on 7th February 2024.

JS Crawford Contracts (Borders) Limited was founded in 1946 and based in Melrose in the Scottish Borders. It specialised in residential house-building.

The company had recently experienced financial pressures arising from challenges on a development of 14 retirement flats in Melrose. After exploring the options available to them, the directors made the difficult decision to seek the appointment of joint provisional liquidators.

The £7m-turnover business has ceased to trade and all 23 members of staff have been made redundant.

Michael Crawford, owner-director of JS Crawford, said: “It was with great sadness and regret that after 50 years of trading, JS Crawford (Contracts) Borders has ceased trading, with the loss of 23 jobs. It is something I had been desperately trying to avoid, and had hoped that the company could trade out, but unfortunately, the necessary backing from suppliers and funders was not there.

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“The failure of my business is due in the main to the delay in completion of the West Grove project. Over the past year additional and unsustainable interest charges combined with rampant cost inflation has resulted in a significant loss on the project. The shareholder had been supporting the business, but these efforts were ultimately in vain, and so the only option remaining was to liquidate the company.”

West Grove is a four-storey retirement complex being built on the site of a former church. With backing from the Bank of Scotland, it is being developed by Rural Renaissance, the parent company of JS Crawford that is also owned by Michael Crawford. Completion had originally been expected before the end of 2022.

Alistair McAlinden, head of Interpath Advisory in Scotland and joint provisional liquidator, said: “It is sad to see this well-established, family-owned business enter into liquidation. Persistent strong headwinds, including cost inflation, tight margins and labour shortages, are continuing to impact companies across the housebuilding and wider construction industry and unfortunately, in the case of JS Crawford, they were too difficult to overcome.

“The directors had worked hard to explore other options but unfortunately, had no option but to place the company into provisional liquidation. We will endeavour to provide any and all support to those workers impacted by redundancy during this difficult time.”

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