THREE quarters of Laing O'Rourke's triumphant run of contracts successes is being funded by the private sector, according to an exclusive survey for Construction News.
Research by Emap Glenigan into the number of jobs won by the top private and quoted contractors shows that only Bowmer & Kirkland does less Government work.
Unlike B&K, Laing O'Rourke is targeting massive expansion.This is coming through the private sector, which has financed 66 per cent of the firm's contracts in the year to April 2004.
Margins on private jobs are generally perceived as being higher but the commercial sector has been in recession in recent years and the City has been urging quoted firms to up their Government-funded workloads.
This shows up in the survey with half the jobs at the top 10 contractors financed directly or indirectly by the Government - up 5 per cent on the previous 12 months' figure.
The quoted contractor with the greatest percentage of publicly-funded jobs is Amec and the lowest is Galliford Try.
Galliford's low score is down to the small number of high value framework deals it has with utilities, whose spending is regulated by the Government and count as public in the survey. At privately-owned firms the average number of public jobs rose 4 per cent to 43 per cent.
The contractor with the highest percentage of public work is Willmott Dixon, which has been trying to move away from private sector work and 79 per cent of the firm's workload is Government-funded.