Swedish firm tops monthly league thanks to £1.2bn PFI hospital scheme

Swedish contractor Skanska was out on its own in last month's contractors league, thanks to the biggest PFI hospital scheme in the UK reaching financial close.

The £1.2bn Barts and the London scheme stalled at the end of last year after the NHS announced a spending freeze, but to the relief of Skanska it was given the official go-ahead last month.

Skanska won a total of 10 building contracts worth more than £1bn, all within the public sector. Its successes in May pushed the company up five places to second in the rolling annual league with 177 wins worth £1.9bn under its belt.

The upturn in its fortunes came at the expense of Bovis Lend Lease, which dropped to third.

Kier managed to secure second place behind Skanska in May, winning contracts worth almost £192m. As has traditionally been the case with this company, Kier secured the spot by winning 50 smallish projects, rather than a handful of big ones.

Most of the work it won was within the public sector, followed by commercial work.

In third place, not far behind Kier, was Bovis Lend Lease, thanks to a single £163m contract to build student accommodation for Sheffield University.

In terms of building work overall, the public sector drove the industry last month, awarding £1.4bn of contracts. In comparison, the commercial sector handed out a mere £419m of work, the housing sector £414m of work, and the industrial sector £33m.

When civils work was included (see table, "Top contractors including civils"), Skanska was still far ahead, but Balfour Beatty beat Kier into second place. Balfour's civils work alone was worth £324m, including a £140m Highways maintenance contract for North Yorkshire council. Overall the industry was awarded £559m of civils work in May.

With the exception of Skanska's surge, there was little movement in the rolling annual table.