Contractor picks up £429m worth of work from office and retail sector while Bovis wins school prize

Sir Robert McAlpine's performance in February provided more evidence that the commercial sector has recovered. The contractor won £431m of building work last month, £428.6m of which was in the commercial sector.

The five project wins kept the company at the top of the two monthly contractors' leagues for the second month in a row.

McAlpine's biggest win was a £244m office scheme in Bristol on behalf of the Bristol Alliance, a joint venture between developers Land Securities and Hammerson. Its other notable project in February was a £154m shopping centre in Leicester.

February was the company's most successful month in terms of contract wins in the past 12. Just how successful is shown by its leap from 11th to sixth in the rolling table of yearly work won; it has now bagged 31 contracts worth £1.2bn between February and March 2005.

Bovis Lend Lease made a re-entry into the building-only league last month. It made it to second place with three wins worth a total of £357m. In contrast with McAlpine, its performance was largely the result of picking up public sector work, in particular Lancashire council's £250m Building Schools for the Future programme. Its other big win was an £85m office scheme in Manchester for Allied London Properties.

Balfour Beatty came third with £214m of contracts, and Laing O'Rourke was in fourth place with £136m.

ROK and Shepherd Construction, neither of which featured in the top 30 in January, both did well in February. Rok took fifth place with £124m of wins, mostly within the housing sector.

Shepherd was one place below Rok thanks to two contracts in the public sector that were worth a total of £89m. ISG InteriorExterior was close behind with £88m, boosted by two large London office jobs for investment bank Morgan Stanley and law firm Norton Rose.

Most work in the building league was won in the commercial sector, followed by the public, housing and industrial sectors, in that order.

In the separate league that also includes civils work won, Balfour Beatty came in second behind Sir Robert McAlpine, after picking up civils contracts worth £187m. The second biggest winner in civils was Morgan Sindall, which came in at sixth.

In the rolling annual league, the top five companies remained the same in February, although Kier swapped places with Bovis Lend Lease, moving up one to second place with a total of 616 contracts worth £1.5bn.

The architects' league was practically a reprint from last month: the only change in the positions of the top seven was the entry of Alsop. The big change in the clients' rankings was the appearance of the National Grid at number two. Among the QSs, Gleeds slipped past Turner & Townsend to take the number four spot, but Davis Langdon remained firmly in the ascendancy with twice as much work as its nearest rival.

This information is compiled for Building by ABI Building Data. Call 0151-353 3500, email or see

ABI’s figures include UK contracts with a value of £100,000 or above, and all work awarded by negotiation or competitive tender, including residential and civils work, unless stated otherwise.