Delivery of government projects under review after major Jersey building firm's collapse

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THE government is reassessing how upcoming building projects – including new sports facilities at Oakfield – will be delivered following the collapse of Camerons, the Economic Development Minister has confirmed.

Deputy Kirsten Morel said he also expected ‘new employment opportunities’ to emerge for employees of the construction company, which was previously one of Jersey’s biggest.

The 66-year-old firm, which was redeveloping Bath Street and building homes at Ann Court, blamed a number of factors, including Brexit, Covid and the recent increase in costs, for its demise.

Meanwhile, the Jersey Construction Council – of which Camerons was a member – has issued a statement, saying the industry was ‘arguably less competitive now without a major organisation like Camerons, and the impact of this may be felt by customers in due course’.

Deputy Morel said: ‘Camerons is a decades-old company, and it is sad to see its decline; the company has been a trusted contractor for the Government of Jersey for many years, managing and co-ordinating key construction projects on our behalf.

‘The company had been intended to work on a number of upcoming government building projects, including the development of Oakfield sports facilities and a new firing range for the States of Jersey Police. We will now reassess how these are delivered.

‘Importantly, Andium Homes has made preparations for this eventuality and has already engaged with another local contractor for its building programme.’

Deputy Morel added that his thoughts were ‘with the employees and their families, who will be facing immediate uncertainty in light of this announcement but who have skills that are valuable to our Island, and I would expect new employment opportunities to emerge very quickly given the level of demand in today’s construction sector’.

The JCC issued a statement yesterday saying it would not comment on the ‘causes or circumstances that may have led to the decision of the directors of Camerons to cease trading’.

‘The council will, though, draw the Island’s attention to the impact that will be felt by many workers, from Camerons, their suppliers and sub-contractors across the industry.

‘This can – and must – be avoided in the future through further troubled financial times by the sensible sourcing of construction services by clients,’ the statement added.

‘There are no winners from the announcement made by Camerons. The Government of Jersey, through its many organisations, by far the largest client to the industry, must do everything it can to help sustain a vibrant and competitive industry through progressing with planned expenditure.

‘Private-sector clients also should be reassured of the resilience of our industry, and not be deterred from progressing their planned expenditure.’

JCC policy sub-committee chair Simon Matthews – an ex-Camerons employee – called it a ‘sad day’ for the Island’s construction industry.

He added: ‘Trading conditions for main contractors are presently very tough. In addition to the delayed and continued impact of the Covid pandemic on resources and supplies, there is also the impact of the Ukraine conflict on energy prices, food prices and household income. The inflationary pressures on costs are very hard to manage on projects of long durations, where a fixed price is sometimes agreed years before completion.’

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