THE UPTURN in commercial orders is gaining pace and starting to influence the top 50 contractors table.
J Murphy bagged the first job to come out of London's successful bid for the 2012 Olympic Games last month. The cable tunnelling deal is worth £200 million. But Bovis Lend Lease still edged the civils firm into second place. The Anglo-Australian giant booked in three jobs in August and the two biggest illustrate the extent of new commercial work coming on stream. Bovis Lend Lease landed a £70 million deal to build a 13,500 sq m super market plus other shops and leisure facilities in Glasgow and a £204 million office and retail scheme at Bishopsgate in central London.
Other firms are also enjoying the commercial revival. Balfour Beatty took a £100 million deal with Castlemore Securities to build a mixed development at Holborn in central London.
After slipping down the table, Balfour Beatty and Bovis Lend Lease are both within reach of second-placed Kier in the annual contractors top 50, although Laing O'Rourke remains well out in front.
In the clients annual top 50, the departments of transport and health are first and second but development giant Grosvenor is the UK's third biggest spender on construction. Land Securities is also among the top 10, along with British Land, Bovis's client on the £204 million Bishopsgate scheme.
In February there were eight commercial and industrial developers in the annual clients top 50 but that number has surged in the past six months. This reflects a dramatic increase in commercial activity recorded by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply.
The CIPS reported that activity in the commercial sector up to August grew at a far faster rate than in the housing or civil sectors.
In the clients top 50 there are now 11 commercial developers, with Westfield at 21, two places ahead of ProLogis.
Rosemound and Allied London are also among the top 30 biggest clients.
St Modwen, Stanhope, Retail Property ? Bovis's client in Glasgow ? and Teesland are also in the top 50.
The few house builders among the top clients are ones that develop commercial projects, with Wilson Bowden ? parent of David Wilson Homes ? appearing along with Berkeley, Crest Nicholson and Countryside.