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Balfour Beatty tops tables as January hits new peak

Balfour Beatty maintained its annual ranking for the first month of 2014 as contract wins hit their highest January value since 2010.

Balfour Beatty claimed top spot in both the monthly and annual contractor leagues for January 2014 on the back of significant transport deals and the win of the Olympic Stadium redevelopment.

Top 50 contractors Jan 13-Jan 14

The latest leagues from construction business intelligence unit Glenigan show a 107.4 per cent rise in the value of contracts awarded to January’s top 50 firms compared with December 2013.

Contract awards for the top 50 in January were worth a combined £3.17bn, two-thirds higher than January 2013 and the highest figure for January since 2010’s £3.7bn figure.

Almost twice the number of projects were awarded last month compared with December 2013, supporting the forecast growth in output for 2014, as demand begins to swell.

Balfour Beatty’s January haul included the £150m deal to redevelop the Olympic Stadium for the Olympic Park Legacy Company.

It was also supported by some high-value transport projects including a £183m job for the Highways Agency on the M3 Junction 2 to 4a and a £75m line electrification project between Preston to Blackpool North for Network Rail.

The year started strongly, with January’s top 10 clients awarding almost 50 per cent more work by value than in December, at £1.28bn. Transport projects dominated, with the Department for Transport and Network Rail claiming top spots.

There were encouraging signs in the commercial sector, with British Land claiming third place, owed in part to its £180m Clarges Estate mixed-use development in London’s Mayfair, while Land Securities’ £85m office and retail scheme in Shoe Land, won by Skanska, placed it just outside the top half.

Second-placed Willmott Dixon’s total featured the £80m first phase of A2Dominion’s ECO Town Exemplar scheme at Bicester, Oxfordshire, which will see the contractor deliver 94 zero-carbon homes.

Completing the top three for the month was Laing O’Rourke, due primarily to the award of the £180m Clarges Estate mixed-use scheme in London for British Land.

Other major commercial sector wins in January included a £60m hotel scheme in Old Street, London, for Helical Bar and Crosstree, won by Sisk; the £125m fit-out of the UBS headquarters for ISG; and a retail and leisure scheme for Newport City Council awarded to Bowmer & Kirkland, worth £61.4m.

Transport projects remained prolific among the top 10 clients in the year to January 2014, with Network Rail and Greater London Authority retaining the top two spots from December. The Department for Transport just missed out on a podium place owing to the Department of Health dishing out more than half the projects awarded across the top 10.

Outside of transport, commercial developments also made a strong showing, with Land Securities and British Land both making the top 10. Despite more projects being awarded, the value of contracts was 2.6 per cent lower than the 12 months to December 2013.

Outside of the commercial sector, other high-value contracts registered last month were Morgan Sindall’s win to build accommodation in Stafford for the Ministry of Defence, and Costain’s £60m scheme for Network Rail and the Greater London Authority for improvements to stations along the north-east section of Crossrail.

The average contract value across the top 50 was £9.6m, slightly up on the £9.3m for December though still highlighting the plethora of smaller deals that remain attractive to the country’s top contractors.

This theme was also apparent in the annual league, which covers the 12 months to January 2014. Almost 1,000 more projects were awarded across the top 50 contractors compared with the 12 months to December 2013, yet the average value was less than £10m.

Two of the top five annual contractors, Kier and Morgan Sindall, recorded an average contract value of just over £5m, being the only two contractors to win more than 200 projects over the 12 months.

Balfour Beatty maintained its top position annually on the strength of its awards over the past month; its total contract value was some 43 per cent ahead in value terms of second-placed Kier.

Carillion just missed out on the top three, despite an impressive £1.34bn haul across just 35 projects.

Balfour Beatty re-entered the top 10 after dropping out in December, but Waterman secured top billing, despite being awarded one project fewer than ninth-placed Hoare Lee. The top 10 were appointed to 69 projects in January, more than double the number in December 2013.

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