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One of Australia’s biggest building firms has been plunged into administration as unions seek assurances that workers will be looked after, AAP reports.

Probuild confirmed on Thursday its South African parent company, Wilson Bayly Holmes-Ovcon Ltd, had placed the building company into administration.

“We are caught up in a set of circumstances not of our making,” a Probuild spokesperson said. “We are working closely with the administrator on a number of plans to protect our clients, subcontractors and employees.”

Probuild said it was pursuing “several options” to raise the capital necessary for it to continue as an Australian building company.

Deloitte has been appointed as administrator. Sal Algeri, of Deloitte, said the company’s immediate focus would be on assessing Probuild’s financial situation and working to stabilise businesses and projects “where possible”.

“We will assess options to preserve value, and engage closely with creditor groups and other stakeholders across the spectrum, including clients, employees, unions, suppliers, contractors and sub-contractors,” he said.

Two other businesses under WBHO Australia – Monaco Hickey and WBHO Infrastructure – have also been placed into administration.

Probuild is a major design, construction and project management group operating in most states, including NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia. It employs more than 1,000 people as well as contract trade workers to build offices, residential buildings, and shopping centres and other key infrastructure.

Probuild is currently managing at least a dozen major projects across Victoria, NSW, Queensland and WA.

The construction union is trying to establish the company’s situation and the likely impact on workers.

The construction industry has faced shortages of key materials and increased costs during the pandemic, compounded by a lack of skilled workers.

In 2020, another major builder, Grocon, went into administration after a legal stoush with government agency Infrastructure NSW over its Central Barangaroo project in Sydney, which torpedoed its balance sheet.

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