London planning specialist files for administration

London-based fit-out specialist Twenty 1 Construction has brought in administrators.

The £68million company, which worked mainly in London and the South East, appointed directors from Grant Thornton last week.

Building News was first alerted to the company’s problems four weeks ago and understands that the administrators of Twenty 1 Construction had been considering filing for administration since early March.

Founded in 2012, Twenty 1 Construction has carried out work in prime locations across London including Aldwych, Grosvenor Street and Farringdon. The company has also built two floors in a building in British Land’s Broadgate Tower, which it tweeted about last month.

Twenty 1 Construction also worked with Mace and WSP at 110 Bishopsgate in the City of London.

In its most recent annual accounts, for the year to 31 December 2020, the company reported revenue of £68.6 million and pre-tax profit of £692,000.

But the company has been hit by shutdowns amid the coronavirus pandemic, leading to a halving of its profits between 2019 and 2020. It reported ‘higher than expected costs’ due to the measures social distancing measures introduced in March 2020. Material shortages, which have also affected the industry for the past two years, have further stretched the business.

The previous year, at the end of 2019, it had a turnover of £72.6 million and a profit of £1.7 million.

In 2020, the company averaged 72 employees. Its cash pool, which stood at £2.6m at the end of the year, had been steadily declining since the start of 2019, when it stood at £6.7m.

The Twenty 1 Construction website has been taken down. NC called the number associated with the company, which went through a selection of options, but then rang.

At the time of publication, Grant Thornton had not responded to requests for comment.

Issues such as rising material costs, labor shortages and the recent spike in inflation have rocked the industry over the past 12 months.

In February, more administrations were recorded than in any other month since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to an expert NC that businesses already struggling for cash before the pandemic began needed only one or two jobs to go bad before facing financial strain and risking bankruptcy.

Last week, Mace warned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could drive up bidding prices even further, as fuel prices soar and material prices remain high.

Alice F. Ponder