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Balfour tops 2013 contractor league

Balfour Beatty secured the highest value of contracts over the 12 months to December but the total haul across the top 50 fell over the course of 2013 compared with the previous year.

The latest annual league tables from construction business intelligence unit Glenigan reveal that the top 50 contractors of 2013 secured £23.88bn of work, 7.4 per cent below that in 2012.

However, there was an encouraging increase in the number of projects awarded.

Balfour Beatty, Kier and Morgan Sindall topped the annual table, but Balfour’s £1.91bn haul was £520m less than during 2012, with Kier taking £240m less than the previous year.

There were 165 more projects awarded in 2013 than in 2012, so the latest data is still indicative of increasing confidence and a rise in demand.

Client activity quietened down towards the end of the year, with the value of work awarded across December’s top 10 29 per cent down on November; however, the monthly total was still double that awarded in the same month of 2012.

Orion Capital Managers secured top spot through the award of its housing scheme to Brookfield Multiplex, while the Department of Health took second place due to a number of smaller deals. Sainsbury’s stepped into the top 10 due to a £40m store and petrol station project at Waterlooville, Hampshire.

Looking at the average contract value over 2013 shows a fall of £1.4m – to £9.3m – compared with 2012, suggesting that lower-value projects have become increasingly crucial to the country’s top contractors.

This is borne out by the fact that not all those winning more than 100 projects ended up in the top 10 contractors for the year, with examples including Wates in 16th place with 111 deals, Interserve’s 105 wins only just securing it a top 30 spot and ISG’s 155 wins taking the firm to 11th place.

Kier and Morgan Sindall were the only two firms to win more than 200 projects.

The top 10 clients of 2013 awarded marginally more work by number of deals than in the previous 12-month period, but 25 per cent more by value than in 2012.

Transport was the core driver for this, with Network Rail and the Greater London Authority maintaining their top spots from the previous month’s table, and the top three clients accounting for 60 per cent of the work awarded across the top 10.

Land Securities’ entry as the fifth biggest client for 2013 was an encouraging sign of rising demand in the previously struggling commercial sector.

Over 2013, contractors increasingly had to win at least £1bn of work to make the top 10 of Glenigan’s annual league, whereas in 2012 £866m was enough to reach this point.

The monthly league for December 2013 shows the value of work won by the top 50 contractors fell by a third compared with November, falling to £1.52bn from £2.27bn.

December’s total across the top 50 firms marked the lowest monthly value of the year, though this was still a healthy 52 per cent up on December 2012.

The average project value also crept up compared with November, hitting £9.1m compared with £8.6m.

Large deals awarded in December 2013 included the £300m project for Orion Capital Managers, won by the month’s top contractor Brookfield Multiplex, to convert a school site into a residential development of seven houses, two villas and two studio apartments in Chelsea, London.

Mace’s second place was largely due to a £120m regeneration scheme in Bracknell, Berkshire, for a joint venture comprising three clients including Legal & General and Bracknell Forest Borough Council.

The scheme will include a commercial development alongside a cinema and retail outlets.

Top 50 contractors Dec 12-Dec 13

Other notable projects awarded in December included a Balfour Beatty and Kier joint venture winning a £121m project to redevelop RAF Lyneham for the Ministry of Defence and Carillion’s £80m contract for two residential towers in east London for Freysporne and London Exhibition Centre.  

Further down the table, Hill Partnerships won a £40m residential scheme for Cambridgeshire County Council, while RG Group netted a £40m store and petrol station project for supermarket chain Sainsbury’s in Waterlooville, Hampshire.

After two months topping the table, Balfour Beatty has dropped out of the top 10, replaced by Hoare Lea, while AKT II and WSP complete the podium. The momentum of November continued with the top 10 being appointed to 33 projects in December, identical to November.

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