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Welcome to the CN100 2009

This time last year the construction industry was staring down the barrel of a gun.

The downturn was looming and the industry was bracing itself for some tough times ahead.

Then in September, Lehman Brothers collapsed, causing shockwaves to rip through the global economy and ultimately the construction industry.

Construction had gone from seemingly endless growth to the worst recession in living memory.

The CN 100 gives some insight into the early effects of the recession. The top contractor tables reveal record levels of turnover reflecting work won in the good times. But margins have started to take a hit on account of falling profits.

The top house builders table gives a more compelling indication of the industry’s toils with the sector having entered the recession slightly earlier than the rest of the industry.

Half of the names in the top 20 have seen their turnover fall while seven registered a loss.

This year’s supplement comes alongside a new and improved online offering, including an interactive ranking system available here.

Our piece explains how readers can now build their own top 100 tables ranking firms by criteria other than turnover - which is how Construction News’ tables are ordered.

For instance companies can now be arranged by margin, profit, number of staff or directors’ pay along with many other categories.

As with the CN100 supplements in 2007 and 2008 we have once again ranked the companies competing for the seven major subcontract packages.

It is no mean feat and took plenty of graft to dig out the figures. We are pretty pleased with the result, but we welcome feedback on this area featured on pages 16 to 19.

There are a number of new faces in this year’s top 100 - 11 to be precise - with some firms coming in at the expense of a few early casualties of the recession.

We have checked in with number 1 and number 100 placed firms, to find out what life has been like over the past 12 months and what can be expected by the time of the CN100 in 2010.

Click here to see the CN100 listing