Eleven major building contractors won new work worth more than £100m last month, with Laing O’Rourke at the top of the pile.
The BCLive league table of contract awards, compiled by the Builders Conference, shows that Laing O’Rourke won £260m of new work in January 2014, including a £180m contract for a new-build development in Mayfair for British Land.
In second place was Sisk, with £216.5m of new work won during the month, including a £112m contract for Peabody to redevelop the St Johns Hill Estate in Clapham, London.
Kier came in third with £204.2m. The biggest of Kier’s 12 wins during the month was the £120m Broadmoor hospital extension in Berkshire.
Builders’ Conference CEO Neil Edwards commented: “If you chose to look purely at the headline figures in the BCLive league table for January 2014, it would be easy to believe that everything was coming up roses. A combined total of contract awards from the UK’s only real-time indicator of construction activity reveals that the number of contracts recorded was 869, falling just short of the highest-ever number that was recorded in November last year. At the same time, the combined value of those contracts was £4.195bn, the single highest monthly total in the BCLive league table’s two and a half year existence. Equally encouraging is the fact that the table shows an unprecedented ‘distribution of wealth’.
“While previous record months have generally been buoyed by one or more landmark projects, the January 2014 total contained just one contract worth over £200m (a framework deal to upgrade a number of Network Rail premises across Kent, won by Costain). However, the top 11 companies on the table – headed by Laing O’Rourke, each won work worth more than £100m, another notable first.
“But if the recession taught us anything, it was the importance of caution and the need to look at the bigger picture. And while such an upsurge in activity after five or more years in the doldrums is to be welcomed, context is everything.
“For one thing, the number of tenders recorded in January 2014 was around 600 with a combined value of £1.66bn, an average tender value of £2.8m. Compare that to the same period last year: the BCLive league table recorded 854 tenders in January 2013, worth a combined total of £5.22bn and an average value of £6.11m. Not only does this represent a marked decrease from what was still the tail end of the recession but it also rings alarm bells for two or three months’ time when those tenders turn into contracts.”