De Luca Corporation managing director Nic De Luca. Picture: Mark Calleja
De Luca Corporation managing director Nic De Luca. Picture: Mark Calleja

Suspension could stop work on major projects

Work could stop on some major projects following the building regulator's decision to suspend the licence of one of Queensland's "most successful construction and development companies".

The Queensland Building and Construction Commission suspended De Luca's building licence late Friday.

De Luca, established 25 years ago by managing director Nic De Luca, markets itself as one of Queensland's "most successful construction and development companies".

The company has handled some major south-east Queensland commercial and industrial projects over recent years, including work at Brisbane Airport and for retailer Bunnings.

It is currently building a Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia warehouse on a 30,000 square metre site at Wacol. It also recently completed a $9 million warehouse for Liquid Specialty Beverages at Narangba.

The QBCC said De Luca was a large value licensee with an annual turnover of more than $230 million but it currently had a net asset position of negative $3.2 million.

QBCC commissioner Brett Bassett said this asset value represented a risk to the sector.

"Last month, we issued the company with a show-cause notice and it has been unable to demonstrate that it meets mandatory financial requirements," Mr Bassett said on Friday.

"Licensees which operate with insufficient liquidity and assets to support their turnover are operating with a heightened financial risk."

Mr De Luca said the company had provided the QBCC with its financial accounts over a week ago and before Friday's suspension notice had not received any indication there were any issues.

 

De Luca Corporation’s managing director Nic De Luca. Picture: Mark Calleja
De Luca Corporation’s managing director Nic De Luca. Picture: Mark Calleja

 

"We believe there has been a technical misunderstanding of the audited accounts and we have engaged the commission this evening," he said in a statement on Friday night. "From our discussions ... we are confident this matter (will be) resolved by Monday morning."

The QBCC and Mr De Luca could not be reached for an update comment on Sunday.

The company has 21 days to show the regulator how it will meet the financial requirements, otherwise its licence may be cancelled.

Mr De Luca started the business in 1994 initially developing public housing units for the Queensland Housing Commission. His first industrial development was undertaken in 1997.

According to its website, the company now takes on major construction projects for some of Australia's biggest retail, industrial, commercial, educational, bulky goods and institutional companies.

Mr De Luca is an established member of Brisbane's property industry. According to the company's website, he is a member of the Property Council of Australia, Masters Builders and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Mr Bassett said while there were no current monies-owed complaints against De Luca Corp, its failure to meet asset requirements was a breach of QBCC licence conditions.

"New laws which came into place earlier this year are designed to help provide Queensland's building and construction industry with improved stability," Mr Bassett said on Friday.

"Rules around assets and the liquidity of a company help ensure that when a company takes on a construction job they have the financial capacity to finish the job.

"This in turn helps provide stability to subcontractors, suppliers, investors and consumers and helps to minimise potential collapses.

Mr Bassett said the QBCC was giving licensees every opportunity to prove they were operating within the law.

"But I will not hesitate taking swift and appropriate regulatory and enforcement action when required," he said.


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