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Keep your friends close, your supply chain closer

CN’s annual CNinsight 100 special issue gives a snapshot of the health of the industry and an opportunity for contractors to benchmark themselves against their peers.

The cninsight 100 shows there is no change in ranking at the top of the table - Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Laing O’Rourke, Morgan Sindall and Kier are the top five, in that order, for the second year in a row. But of these, only Balfour Beatty has increased its turnover, bucking the overall downward trend.

It is movement further down the table that is more interesting. Galliford Try, Bam Construct, Willmott Dixonand ISG have managed to climb up the index in spite of falling turnover. They have done this by pursuing strategies that enable them to hold firm while the recession grinds on.
You can view the league table interactively on CNinsight online, choosing a criterion other than turnover to see which different companies come out on top.

Our analysis and league tables of the rest of the industry - housebuilders, QS consultants, engineering consultants, not to mention demolition, piling, M&E, concrete, building envelope, steel and scaffolding - show adaptability is the key to success.

This is not just about winning work in different sectors and regions but about building and sustaining relationships.

The importance of networks is reflected in our lead news story this week, based on an extensive survey of the 70 largest UK-based contractors by Davis Langdon, shared exclusively with Construction News. The findings highlight stark differences in contractors’ performance.

What unites those that are successful is the emphasis on knowing their supply chain; as Davis Langdon senior project surveyor Peter Medland puts it, “being closer to fewer”. Successful construction businesses - large or small - are about building trust and earning a reputation.

As the survey reveals, there is a major reality gap between contractors’ predicted turnover and their confirmed orders.

This spare capacity in the industry is unsustainable. Firms must strengthen their supply chains, focusing on new areas and seeing if there are other contributions they can make to ensure they win work.

As our project finance special (pages 14-17) illustrates, there are a number of innovative financing arrangements that contractors can use to help get projects off the ground. LABV, TIF, RAB are all on the horizon - and behind the acronyms there are deals to be done and work to be won.


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