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Balfour and O'Rourke extend annual lead as monthly contractor league rebounds

The combined value of contract wins for the top 50 firms in May shot up 70.8 per cent compared with April as Costain and Skanska shared the summit of the monthly league.

May’s top 50 total of £3.61bn was below the highs of around £4.6bn recorded in both March and January, suggesting the recent severe peaks and troughs may be easing.

Top 50 contractors May 14-May 15

Costain and Skanska took the top spot in May’s table following their appointment in joint venture for a £600m deal as part of Highways England’s A14 improvement project.

The contractors have been reappointed to the contract, having originally been in place only for the scheme to be put on hold following the coalition’s Comprehensive Spending Review in 2010 – the highest-value approved scheme to be shelved.

The £600m contract forms part of a £1.3bn programme; Costain-Skanska’s package covers the first two improvement packages, with two still to be procured.

Third spot for the month went to Kier, which recorded an impressive 30 deals – far and away the highest volume recorded for the period – with a combined value of £207.4m, according to construction intelligence unit Glenigan.

Laing O’Rourke took fourth place, securing eight contracts worth a combined sum of £193.8m, with £150m residential scheme Two Fifty One in central London for client Oakmayne the pick of the bunch.

The public sector dominated the top clients for May, with the Department for Transport unsurprisingly at the top following the A14 contract awards.

The Department for Education was second with an impressive 26 awards for the month, just one shy of the Department of Health, which was eighth by value.

Newcomer Levenseat Renewable Energy meanwhile was fifth after handing a £100m contract for a new energy-from-waste facility in Scotland to M&W High Tech Projects.

Bowmer & Kirkland was hot on O’Rourke’s heels in fifth, its 16 awards being headed by its role as main contractor for a £100m University of Northampton campus scheme.

Sixth-placed McLaren also secured a high-profile job in May, namely the £100m deal for a Uniserve distribution unit in Felixstowe.

Other noteworthy contracts for the month included Victor Buyck and Farrans sharing the £117.6m new Wear Crossing for Sunderland City Council, and Morgan Sindall’s £80.9m social housing deal that will see the contractor deliver 1,000 homes across four sites for Kings Lynn & West Norfolk Council.

In the annual client table the Department of Health’s lead was cut after a relatively quiet May that also saw the Department for Transport nearly double its 12-month total to climb from seventh to second.

The Department for Education’s increase was more modest but still sufficient to move it from sixth to third, while the Greater London Authority slipped from second to seventh after several high-value deals fell outside the period covered.

Meanwhile Network Rail dropped a place to fourth and the Welsh Government was down two in sixth.

High-volume hauls such as Kier’s (30 deals) and Willmott Dixon’s (20) saw the number of deals won among the top 50 firms hit 288, marking a sharp month-on-month rise from the 191 in April.

This produced an average contract value for May of £12.5m, compared with £11.1m the previous month.

Looking at the contractor league for the 12 months to May, Balfour Beatty and Laing O’Rourke remained in first and second positions, with both increasing their annual hauls.

Balfour’s total rose from £2.07bn for the year to April to £2.24bn for the year to May, while O’Rourke’s was up from £1.93bn to £2.15bn.

While the gap between the top two narrowed, the gulf increased significantly back to third-placed Kier, whose total also grew but only from £1.93bn to £1.98bn.

Mace held onto fourth despite a small dip in its annual haul, while Morgan Sindall gained a place to take fifth and Galliford Try climbed two spots into ninth.

Bouygues meanwhile slipped three places to 11th but Carillion gained four places to sit 10th.

Atkins was the top engineering consultant in May, its haul just ahead of CH2M.

Previous chart-topper Hoare Lea slipped to fourth but had a busy month, securing nine contracts, while Waterman re-entered the table in third.

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