Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to the newest version of your browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of Construction News, please enable cookies in your browser.

Welcome to the Construction News site. As we have relaunched, you will have to sign in once now and agree for us to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Christmas freeze bites but Kier makes it two out of three

Kier topped the contractor table for the second time in three months as the festive slowdown dragged overall wins to their second lowest total of 2017.

 Top 10 contractors, December 2017 
  Click here for the full top 50  
  Contractor No Total (£m)
1 Kier 38 263.1
2 Royal Bam 10 240.5
3 Willmott Dixon  11 177.4
4 Sir Robert McAlpine 1 160.0
5 Mace 2 142.5
6 Galliford Try 9 106.2
7 Morgan Sindall 7 102.7
8 Bowmer & Kirkland 5 99.1
9 John Sisk 1 90.0
10 Keepmoat 5 84.4
  League tables are subject to revision 

The monthly league, ranked by the value of contracts won in the period, saw the combined wins of the top 50 contractors hit £2.57bn in December, down 22.9 per cent compared with the £3.33bn recorded in November.

December’s total was also 13.6 per cent lower than the £2.97bn posted for same month of 2016, according to construction intelligence provider Glenigan.

However, last month’s figure was not the lowest recorded in 2017, being marginally above September’s £2.55bn total.

It was Kier that had the most productive run-up to Christmas, bagging an impressive 38 individual contracts totalling £263.1m. This was enough to send it to the top of December’s league table – its second triumph of 2017, having also taken first place in October.

The company’s deals during the month included a £50m residential project for Leicester City Council and a £20m industrial scheme in Bath for client Rotork.

While Kier’s was among the lowest winning monthly hauls of 2017, its 38 wins represented the highest volume of wins of any table-topping firm last year. It was also the most contracts secured by Kier in any month of 2017.

 Top 10 clients December 2017   Top 10 clients, year to Dec 2017 
  Click here for the full top 50     Click here for the full top 50  
  Client No Total (£m)   Client No Total (£m)
1 Department of Health 20 216.5   Department for Transport 36 3396.9
2 London School of Economics 1 140.0   Battersea Power Station DC 3 1607.0
3 Global Infrastructure Partners 5 105.8   Department of Health 248 1308.7
4 LB of Hounslow 2 90.7   Manchester Airports Group  6 1078.9
5 Bruntwood 1 90.0   Ministry of Defence 35 943.2
6 Department for Education 10 73.0   Network Rail 83 854.0
7 Prudential 1 72.5   Homes & Communities Agency 17 813.7
8 Homes & Communities Agency 2 61.2   National Grid 13 623.4
9 Luton Borough Council 1 59.5   Department for Education 66 582.1
10 TBI 1 59.5   Greater London Authority 32 532.9
  League tables are subject to revision    League tables are subject to revision 

The Department of Health went one better than Kier in December, taking its third monthly league triumph in four months with 20 awards worth £216.5m. Having had a relatively quiet start to 2017, the department’s construction activity accelerated during the second half of the year, culminating in its recent run.

The Department for Education has also been increasingly busy, with 10 deals handed out in December, while LSE’s second place marked its first appearance in the top 10 since July 2015.

For the first time on record, the top 10 of the annual contractor league were completely unchanged compared with the previous period. The Department of Health cemented its third place after its busy month, opening up a sizeable gap to Manchester Airports Group.

The Homes & Communities Agency closed the gap to Network Rail in sixth while also giving itself a cushion to National Grid in eighth. Despite an active month, the DfE saw several large deals fall outside the period covered, causing it to slide closer to the GLA in 10th.

Bam claimed second place in December having sealed 10 contracts valued at £240.5m, giving the firm only its second podium place of 2017. Willmott Dixon meanwhile was some way behind in third on £177.4m across 10 projects, in a remarkably similar performance to its previous month. 

Mace bagged one of the biggest single contracts of the month after the London School of Economics handed it the £140m Paul Marshall Building project – enough to secure fifth place in the table.

Other major deals during December included a £90m office project in London’s Circle Square for client Bruntwood, propelling Sisk into ninth place, while McLaren’s confirmation on a retail-led development in Banbury gave it 15th spot.

The combined number of wins across the top 50 contractors for the month was easily the lowest of 2017, at just 183 – though this was marginally ahead of the 180 recorded in December 2016. Last month’s average contract value came in at £14m, just short of November’s £14.2m. 

 Top 10 contractors, year to Dec 2017 
  Click here for the full top 50
  Contractor No Total (£m)
1 Sir Robert McAlpine  31 3,038.0
2 Kier 261 2,412.8
3 Balfour Beatty 72 2,406.3
4 Laing O’Rourke 26 2,224.7
5 Morgan Sindall 313 2,217.1
6 Galliford Try 161 2,216.1
7 Vinci 54 1,979.9
8 Willmott Dixon  151 1,450.9
9 Wates 101 1,337.5
10 Carillion 39 1,327.2
  League tables are subject to revision 

A look at the 12-month contractor table reveals that Sir Robert McAlpine has increased the gulf to Kier by nearly £150m, cementing what is now a substantial lead.

However, competition for places below the summit has intensified, with Morgan Sindall leapfrogging Laing O’Rourke to take fourth and only £130m separating second and fifth for the year to December.

Troubled contractor Carillion fell two places into 10th, Wates rose from 11th to ninth and VolkerWessels gained six places to sit 15th.

At £42.54bn, combined contract wins across the annual top 50 were more or less unchanged from the £42.52bn posted for the year to November.

 Top 10 engineering consultants, Dec 2017 
  Click here for the full top 20  
  Engineering consultant No Total (£m)
1 WSP 11 298.6
2 Chandler KBS 1 150.0
3 AKT II 1 140.0
4 ChapmanBDSP 1 140.0
5 Curtins 10 137.5
6 Buro Happold 4 113.0
7 Mann Williams 4 104.5
8 Crookes Walker 1 90.0
9 MLM 5 68.5
10 Smith & Wallwork 1 60.0
  League tables are subject to revision 

WSP clinched its first win in the engineering consultants table for December since March 2017. Chandler KBS made its top 10 debut in second, while AKT II was third – also its highest league position since March.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.