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Balfour wins in April and Kier tightens grip on annual league

April’s top 50 contractor table dipped month on month as Balfour Beatty chalked up its first league win for 17 months.

 Top 10 contractors, Apr 2016  
  Click here for the full top 50    
  Contractor No Total (£m)
1 Balfour Beatty 7 308.1
2 Willmott Dixon  15 141.3
3 Kier 19 111.8
4 Bowmer & Kirkland 6 104.6
5 Skanska UK 2 84.6
6 McLaren  3 76.9
7 Morgan Sindall 16 76.6
8 Sir Robert McAlpine 2 76.0
9 Keepmoat 13 73.0
10 VolkerWessels 10 68.4

At £2.19bn, the total value of contracts signed in April was down by 14.9 per cent compared with March, when it stood at £2.58bn.

Nevertheless, the table continues to be relatively stable in 2016, with March having seen a monthly rise of 14.3 per cent, February a drop of 16 per cent and January growth of 10 per cent.

Despite the latest month-on-month decline, April’s top 50 total was actually 3.6 per cent higher than the same month in 2015, when combined wins stood at £2.12bn.

Balfour Beatty climbed to the top of the monthly contractor league, having last claimed the summit in November 2014.

The UK’s biggest contractor recorded seven awards during the period totalling £308.1m, according to construction intelligence provider Glenigan.

Balfour’s largest single deal for the month was the £82.5m contract to deliver a European maintenance hub at RAF Marham for the Ministry of Defence.

The firm will build three new facilities at the Norfolk base: an integrated training centre; a logistics operations centre; and a maintenance and finishing facility.

 Top 10 clients April 2016   Top 10 clients, 12 months to Apr 2016 
  Click here for the full top 50     Click here for the full top 50  
  Client No Total (£m)   Client No Total (£m)
1 Ministry of Defence 12 311.7   Department for Transport 41 3383.4
2 Department of Health 19 73.7   Kemble Water 10 2042.5
3 Development Securities 3 72.4   Department of Health 252 1548.2
4 Network Rail 7 65.6   Department for Education 156 1541.4
5 M&G Real Estate 1 62.0   Network Rail 54 1310.7
6 University of Northampton 2 57.5   Greater London Authority 17 1151.6
7 Northacre 1 55.0   Welsh Government 20 957.0
8 Palace Revive  1 55.0   Dept Regional Development 10 448.3
9 LB of Camden 1 48.0   United Utilities  9 429.5
10 Bournemouth DC 4 47.7   Ministry of Defence 30 365.9

In a break with convention, April’s top 10 clients league was topped by high-volume hauls. In addition to its RAF Marham deal, the Ministry of Defence awarded another 11 contracts during the month to secure its first appearance in the top 10 since October 2015.

League stalwart the Department of Health was second – one of six public sector clients in the month’s top 10. Bournemouth council’s £30m award to Morgan Sindall was enough to sneak it into the leading pack for the first time.

In the annual client league, the Department for Transport maintained its vice-like grip on the top spot, but Network Rail and the Department for Education both gained a place after the DoH saw a high number of deals fall outside the period covered.

Northern Ireland’s Department for Regional Development was a notable mover, gaining two spots to sit seventh, while United Utilities returned to the top 10 having climbed from 14th. Lidl however is now hot on its heels in 11th, having been 42nd six months ago.

Second place for April went to Willmott Dixon with an impressive 15 deals worth £141.3m in total, putting the company on the monthly podium for the first time since October 2014.

Kier took third for the period, its £111.8m haul spread across 19 awards – more than any other contractor in April’s top 50.

 Top 10 contractors, 12 months to Apr 2016 
  Click here for the full top 50
  Contractor No Total (£m)
1 Kier 256 2,325.6
2 Galliford Try 155 2,092.1
3 Bouygues UK 41 1,868.6
4 Laing O’Rourke 27 1,811.9
5 Carillion 52 1,786.8
6 Balfour Beatty 52 1,597.1
7 Royal Bam 82 1,482.6
8 Morgan Sindall 224 1,399.5
9 Vinci 56 1,267.5
10 Costain 16 1,067.7

There were few high-value contracts recorded during the month, with seventh-placed Morgan Sindall’s £30m mixed-use scheme for Bournemouth Borough Council among the notable exceptions.

A total of 231 deals were handed out to the top 50 in April, up 26.2 per cent on March’s 183 – this despite the decline in combined value. As a result, the average contract value for the month was £9.5m, compared with £14.1m in March and £11.1m in April 2015.

A look at the annual contractor league shows that Kier’s lead at the summit increased thanks its rivals falling back.

Second-placed Galliford Try’s haul for the year to April stood at £2.09bn, down 6.8 per cent from the year to March, while Bouygues also lost ground in third, its total wins falling 5.4 per cent from £1.98bn to £1.87bn. 

Among the most eye-catching performances came from Laing O’Rourke, which climbed three places to claim fourth for the 12 months to April.

Despite its decent showing in April, Balfour Beatty actually lost a place in April’s annual league to Carillion, after several high-value deals fell outside the period covered.

Meanwhile Bam swapped places with Laing O’Rourke, sliding to seventh, while Mace was another notable mover, dropping from 10th to 15th.

The combined value of wins across the 12-month top 50 table declined for the fifth consecutive period, losing 4.1 per cent to stand at £33.39bn.

 Top 10 engineering consultants, April 2016 
  Engineering Consultant No Total (£m)
1 Aecom 1 110.0
2 Arup 4 74.6
3 Ramboll 4 56.5
4 Buro Happold 2 48.3
5 Couch Perry & Wilkes 3 47.0
6 Expedition Engineering  1 47.0
7 Curtins 7 42.4
8 BDP 1 42.0
9 Capita 3 39.6
10 RPS 3 32.3

Aecom returned to the top of the table having been eighth in March – its first win since March 2013. Arup fell from first to second and Ramboll was up seven places to third in what was a relatively quiet month for the leading consultants.

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