Several hundred job losses can be expected, both at Rowecord and down its supply chain.
Alistair Wardell, senior partner at the Cardiff office of Grant Thornton, will lead the administration of the UK's third-largest structural steel engineering company.
Rowecord, which until recently employed nearly 600 staff at sites in Newport, Baglan and the Tata Steelworks in Port Talbot, built the roof at the London Olympics Aquatic Centre, as well as the stadiums for Cardiff City Football club and the Llanelli Rugby Club (Parc y Scarlets).
It is currently working on major projects at the Dover Docks and the British Museum and recently built the blast furnace for Tata at Port Talbot, where it has 120 people on site providing general maintenance.
For year to 30 June 2012, Rowecord made a pre-tax profit of £3.18m on turnover of £68m, which was a strong improvement on the previous year’s £4.7m loss on turnover of £38m.
However, in calling in administrators, Rowecord managing director Andrew Hoppé said that the company had “exhausted every option to sustain the business for the future”.
Administrator Alistair Wardell said: “This is a devastating blow, not just for the Rowecord workforce which will be affected, but for the Welsh economy as a whole.
“It is also likely to have an impact on a number of other companies along the M4 corridor that up until now have been suppliers to Rowecord.
“Among our roles as administrators will be to explore which, if any, parts of the business can be salvaged and whether any jobs can be saved.
“A number of Rowecord employees will be retained in the short term post-administration to complete work in progress.”