At the end of a very busy year, here’s a reminder of the stories that stood out for our readers


Every week Building publishes the big impact stories that affect companies working in construction.

Here we have compiled a list of the top 10 most read stories over the entire year.  

>>See also: Best of 2023: columns and opinion pieces

>>See also: Best of 2023: interviews

The list, based on unique page views according to Google Analytics, places the most popular stories at the top of the rankings. 

Where there are multiple articles on the same broad story we have grouped them together into one ranking.

1. £250m-turnover London M&E specialist sinks into administration

Published October

London M&E specialist Michael J Lonsdale has gone into administration after nearly 40 years in business.

The £250m Berkshire-based firm was set up in 1986 but earlier today Begbies Traynor was appointed administrator of a company that in its last set of accounts employed close to 250 people.

Both Michael J Lonsdale and Michael Lonsdale Group have gone into administration, a statement from the firm said today.

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2. ISG tackles ‘inaccurate and false claims’ which prompted bosses into round of meetings with concerned firms

Published November

ISG has responded to rumours that have swept the industry about the financial health of the company which prompted senior figures at the business into a round of meetings with concerned firms to reassure them about the state of the contractor.

Building has been told chief executive Matt Blowers recently met up with three London cost consultants as part of a drive with “stakeholders” to address the rumours specifically.

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3. Turner & Townsend acquires Alinea

Published February

Turner & Townsend (T&T) has taken over London firm Alinea in a deal which will see the latter’s 110-strong staff merged into the larger consultant’s cost management team in the capital.

The combined team will from today operate under the name Turner & Townsend Alinea. It is aiming to be the leading data-led cost consultancy in the capital.

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4. Directors banned as 10 demolition contractors hit with £60m fine after bid-rigging probe

Published March

Ten demolition firms have been fined a total of close to £60m for their involvement in bid-rigging following a years-long probe by the Competition and Markets Authority.

The CMA said the fines were “for colluding on prices through illegal cartel agreements when submitting bids in competitive tenders for contracts. These bids were rigged, deceiving the customer that they were competitive when that was not the case.” Five firms were also found guilty of making and receiving so-called ‘compensation payments’.

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5. Laing O’Rourke racks up worst loss in firm’s history as business nosedives £288m into red

Published November

Problem jobs in the UK and the cost of a dispute in Australia helped send Laing O’Rourke crashing to its worst set of results since the business was formed in 2001.

The country’s biggest private contractor racked up an eye-watering pre-tax loss of £288m, eclipsing the £246m it lost seven years ago, on turnover up £500m to £3.6bn for the year to March 2023.

In anticipation of negative headlines, chief operating officer Cathal O’Rourke and group finance chief Rowan Baker have spent the past few weeks visiting key clients to warn them bad news was coming and to calm fears about the state of the business. “Clients have been very supportive and we’re delighted with the way it’s gone,” Baker added.

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6. Buckingham sinks into administration with nearly 500 jobs lost

Published September

Buckingham collapsed into administration this evening with nearly 450 jobs lost straight away from the divisions administrators couldn’t sell.

Grant Thornton was appointed administrator earlier today and immediately axed 446 jobs from its building, civils, major projects, sport and leisure and demolition businesses.

Earlier, Kier saved 180 jobs with a deal to buy the firm’s £150m-plus turnover rail business, which includes its work for Network Rail and HS2, for £9.6m.

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7. Directors go and jobs axed as McAlpine carries out major overhaul of business

Published April

Sir Robert McAlpine is cutting around 60 jobs, waving goodbye to two senior directors and switching its focus to sectors rather than regions under a major rejig of the business by chief executive Paul Hamer.

The most eye-catching departures are the firm’s London boss, Alison Cox, a McAlpine board member who has been in the post for just 18 months, and the managing director of its Southern business Ian Cheung who has been with the firm seven years.

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8. Executives go as Gleeds cuts 40 jobs and appoints new COO

Published November

Two executive directors at Gleeds are leaving under a restructuring at the group which will see 40 roles cut.

Douglas McCormick, who joined the consultant at the start of 2020 as the executive chair of its UK business, is going along with Steve Mason who arrived last year to lead the firm’s operations in London.

The pair, who officially go next month, arrived with impressive CVs with McCormick having previously been in charge of listed consultant WYG, later bought by US firm Tetra Tech, and before that Sweett, also listed, that was bought by Currie & Brown for £29m in 2016.

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9. Mace boss rips into ‘absolutely shameful’ decision to mothball HS2 Euston

Published July

Mace chief executive Mark Reynolds has called the government’s handling of its decision to mothball the HS2 site at Euston “absolutely shameful”, accusing it of “sneakily” releasing the news just weeks after reassuring firms the job was still going ahead.

The scheme has been put on hold for the next couple of years at least, leaving a vast empty site in the middle of the capital.

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10. The RAAC schools crisis: what we know so far

Published September

The government is under growing pressure to explain why it has waited until days before the start of the autumn term to order the closure of schools found to contain a lightweight form of concrete that can collapse without warning.

The Department of Education (DfE) yesterday told more than 100 school buildings to close following years of warnings from experts about reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC).

The lightweight material was used across the UK and in many types of buildings, including hospitals, from the 1950s to the 1990s but has now passed its 30-year design life.

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