Skanska has just pipped Carillion to top spot in the monthly contractor’s table for August after a successful return to the top 50.
The Anglo-Swedish giant did not even feature in the monthly top 50 for July but picked up nearly £200 million-worth of work in August, including a £120 million job for Defence Estates in Huntingdon, to secure top spot.
Skanska’s August order book lifts the firm up two places to twelfth in the annual contractors table, where Balfour Beatty remains a long way clear at the top with a £1 billion-lead over second-placed Carillion despite booking in just £80 million-worth of work last month.
A third of Balfour Beatty’s total comes from a civil engineering sector that is starting to show signs of picking up, according to Emap Glenigan, which compiles the contracts league.
This contradicts the view of members of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, whose members in a recent state of trade survey expected less work to come on stream.
A likely reason for this discrepancy is that the work recorded as let is predominantly main contracts and smaller packages are not seeping down to the majority of CECA’s members.
An illustration of this is the position of engineering giant Siemens at the top of the civil engineering contractors table on the back of a host of power projects.
Over the past few months, Siemens has been awarded contracts for a vast swathe of projects - mostly for wind farms, for clients such as Dong Energy, Warwick Energy and utility company Scottish & Southern - that have lifted the German-owned business up to fifth spot in the annual contractors table.
Siemens picked up another wind farm project in August for NPower Renewables worth £25 million.
Work has started on this particular project but not on all of the firm’s other recent successes, such as a £350 million wind farm project to be built by Siemens at Sheringham in Norfolk for client Ecoventures, which is not likely to start until at least 2009.
This trend is evident in other power projects, which have helped produce the uplift in overall civil spending at a main contract stage and in the figures but not necessarily in terms of work further down the construction chain.
More civil work appears to be coming on stream en masse as well. A £400 million road maintenance contract in Lincolnshire and two more big power projects, this time in Scotland, helped boost the total amount of civil work out to tender in August to £1.9 billion, according to Glenigan.
When these projects reach main contract award stage, the order books of the main contractors in the league tables will swell but work may not immediately make an impact elsewhere.
To download PDFs of the top 50 contractors, top civils, health, education, public and private housing contractors and the top 50 clients click on the resource box on the right hand side of the page.