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Double first for Laing O'Rourke as Tideway rules in August

Laing O’Rourke assumed top spot in the monthly and annual contractor leagues thanks to confirmation of its role on London’s £4.2bn super sewer.

A number of deals for the Thames Tideway Tunnel were signed during August, with many of the month’s top 10 contractors owing their positions to the scheme, according to construction intelligence provider Glenigan.

Top 50 contractors Aug 14-Aug 15

The finalised contracts included the £746m central package awarded to a joint venture between Laing O’Rourke and Ferrovial Agroman, as first revealed by Construction News in February.

In addition to its share of this deal, Laing O’Rourke also secured a £50m office project in central London for Derwent London.

This helped the contractor to a monthly haul of £594.4m across seven contracts, giving the firm first place for August ahead of its Tideway JV partner, Ferrovial.

The remaining Tideway contracts confirmed last month were behind several of contractors’ league positions.

The £605m package for work on the eastern section of the tunnel went to a Vinci/Costain/Bachy Soletanche joint venture, giving these firms fifth and joint-sixth place respectively.

The £416m contract for the project’s western section meanwhile was awarded to a consortium comprising Morgan Sindall, Bam and Balfour Beatty, with these contractors taking third, fourth and eighth in the monthly table.


No prizes for guessing August’s top client, as Thames Water’s parent firm Kemble Water chalked up a winning haul 15 times larger than that of second-placed Department for Education.

The infrastructure sector was a major presence across the monthly top 10, with United Utilities taking third and Merseyside Waste Disposal in fifth. There was also a debut top 10 appearance for emerging supermarket superpower Lidl, reflecting steady growth in its capital programme.


The Thames Tideway Tunnel is the largest infrastructure project to be undertaken by the UK water industry and will tackle sewage pollution in the tidal River Thames. It will create more than 9,000 direct and indirect jobs at the peak of construction.

A look at the top 50 firms for the month reveals that the combined value of contract wins in August fell 40 per cent compared with July to stand at £3.82bn. However, this was still above the average in 2015 to date, with July having marked the highest combined total for more than seven years.

Moreover, August’s top 50 total was 44 per cent higher than the £2.65bn recorded in the same month of 2014.


In the annual client league the Department for Transport hung onto top spot despite seeing its lead reduced after several major DfT deals fell outside the period covered.

Kemble Water re-entered the table in second after a relatively long absence, while the Greater London Authority was unable to improve on third despite increasing its 12-month haul. This pushed former league supremo the Department of Health down to fourth for the period, while Network Rail also dropped two places to sit seventh.


In terms of volume, the total number of deals among the top 50 contractors in August again fell back from the giddy heights of July, declining 30 per cent to 213.

This gave an average contract value of £17.9m for the month, down from July’s £21m but significantly higher than in August 2014, when the mean figure was just £9.6m.

There was plenty of upheaval in the annual league covering the 12 months to August, with Laing O’Rourke’s exceptional month helping it jump ahead of Kier to claim first place.

The two contractors’ differing business models are evident from their annual hauls, with Laing O’Rourke having recorded 30 contracts totalling £2.28bn, compared with Kier’s £2.19bn across a whopping 260 contracts.

Meanwhile Royal Bam was arguably the biggest winner in the 12-month table, climbing five places to claim third and push Balfour Beatty down to fourth in the process.

Galliford Try also gained five places, moving from 10th to fifth, while Willmott Dixon edged up one spot to enter the top 10.

These climbers came at the expense of Skanska and Vinci, both down two places to sixth and eighth, and Mace, down four places to ninth.


Seacore took its first top spot on record due to its involvement in the Thames Tideway Tunnel packages. Peter Brett was another re-entry in second for the month while Buro Happold climbed from 13th to third.

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