Queensland: ‘I ordered Pizza Hut, they have $5 special’, shopkeeper owed $15,000 as construction company collapsed

‘I ordered Pizza Hut for dinner because they have a $5 special’: Heartbreaking admission of struggling trader who owed $15,000 after construction company collapsed

  • Collapsed Pivotal Homes offices sold for $1.05m, deals still due $6.17m
  • Tradie owed $15,000 to $1,000 in her bank account, with a baby on the way
  • He ordered a Pizza Hut kids pizza for $5 because it was all he could afford

The former headquarters of collapsed construction company Pivotal Homes has sold for $1.05million while a trader owed $15,000, with a baby on the way, struggles to get by.

‘I ordered Pizza Hut for dinner because they have a $5 special. It’s a kid’s meal and I’m starving but I’m fine,’ said the shopkeeper, who wished to remain anonymous.

His pregnant wife’s doctor said she needed nutrition, so he went to the supermarket to buy some vegetables, but the price of everything is going up.

He was owed $15,000 after Surfers Paradise’s Pivotal Homes company collapsed in May and six months later he still is, as his bank balance has fallen to its last $1,000.

The subcontractor is far from being the only one. Pivotal owed $6.17 million to 169 unsecured creditors when it collapsed.

A Queensland-based trader is left with just $1,000 after the collapse of Pivotal Homes, which owed him $15,000. Pictured is an image of a distressed man sitting on a bed

The company has traded at “consistent losses” since November 2020, its liquidator found.

Unsecured creditors will get between 11c and 20c for every dollar owed to them.

Commerce is unlikely to collect a penny from the $1.05 million from the sale of the office, however, because it does not belong to Pivotal.

They were owned by a company called V24, whose shares were, until recently, held by Pivotal director Michael Irwin.

On August 5, the shares were transferred to another company, owned by his daughter Courtney Irwin.

V24, of which Mr Irwin is still a director and company secretary, also owns his luxury home on the Isle of Capri on the Gold Coast.

The shopkeeper who made it difficult told the Gold Coast Bulletin he was teary-eyed and unsure how we were going to pay the rent this week, next week or the week after.

He is speaking out because he doesn’t want his story and the stories of 168 other creditors – mostly small businesses – to be forgotten.

Thousands of Australian trades have gone bankrupt in recent times as construction companies collapse.  Pictured is a house under construction

Thousands of Australian trades have gone bankrupt in recent times as construction companies collapse. Pictured is a house under construction

It was a shock when they received the announcement in May, as before Pivotal paid on time every time, until liquidation day when no one received notice.

The trader has only $1,000 left in his bank account and is struggling to find more work.

His mind was sometimes drawn to desperate thoughts of bank robbery or grocery store robbery. He knows he won’t, but the thoughts are there.

He drank a little to cope with the stress and has just started taking medication for depression and anxiety.

Despite his dire straits, he recognizes it when he meets other traders who also have money who are going through an even tougher time.

A tradesman who owed $15,000 to a bankrupt construction company only has $1,000 left.  He ordered Pizza Hut for dinner because they have a $5 special.  Pictured is an image of a Pizza Hut takeout

A tradesman who owed $15,000 to a bankrupt construction company only has $1,000 left. He ordered Pizza Hut for dinner because they have a $5 special. Pictured is an image of a Pizza Hut takeout

“I saw men in tears. I take $20 or $50 out of my wallet and give it to some of these guys where I can just so they can feed their families,” he said.

“It devastated us, tore us apart.”

Daily Mail Australia tried to contact Mr Irwin, but the Pivotal Homes website is down and his phone number has been disconnected.

Thousands of Australian traders have gone bust in recent times as construction companies collapse – with the whole industry on the brink of a huge slump.

Explaining the collapse of Pivotal Homes

The collapse of Pivotal Homes on May 26, 2022 left an uncertain future for 280 homes.

Surfers Paradise was one of Queensland’s biggest homebuilders before it went into liquidation.

The company, which was a category three builder, certified for low-rise work up to $30 million, had 16 full-time employees.

It achieved 211 jobs worth $56.7 million in 2020-21 and 105 jobs worth $30.5 million in the 2021-22 financial year, according to records held by Queensland Building and Construction Commission.

Pivotal Homes collapsed on May 26, 2022, leaving an uncertain future for 280 homes.  Pictured is a traditional woman

Pivotal Homes collapsed on May 26, 2022, leaving an uncertain future for 280 homes. Pictured is a traditional woman

In a statement at the time, Pivotal Homes said it had 103 homes under construction, at various stages from poured slab to turnkey, and 177 homes awaiting building approval from councils.

The company, which is a former sponsor of the Gold Coast Titans, said rising labor and construction costs meant the business was no longer viable.

“In my 30 years of experience, I have never seen a set of circumstances like this and we are obviously not alone in these unfortunate conditions facing the industry,” said managing director Michael Irwin.

“We are absolutely devastated for our 16 employees at Pivotal Homes and assure that all creditors, contractors and subcontractors have been paid in full.”

Pivotal Homes, which is a former sponsor of the Gold Coast Titans, said rising labor and construction costs meant the business was no longer viable.  A young female maintenance engineer is pictured testing the voltage with a digital multimeter

Pivotal Homes, which is a former sponsor of the Gold Coast Titans, said rising labor and construction costs meant the business was no longer viable. A young female maintenance engineer is pictured testing the voltage with a digital multimeter

Mr Irwin said those who buy homes in Pivotal “are in a net gain position”.

“The work they paid for is done. In fact, they did more work on their homes than they paid for,” he said.

Earlier this year, Matthew Mackey, chief executive of engineering firm Arcadis, told Daily Mail Australia “I don’t think a lot of companies take cost increases seriously.” It’s a perfect storm.

“Small businesses don’t have the cash, they don’t have the same safety net.”

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