Business barometer — Public projects take contractor to the top but Balfour retains annual lead

The contractor and housebuilder Kier took top spot in the contractors’ league last month, scooping almost £375m of work with 58, mainly small, contracts.

Most of them were in the public sector, where it landed contracts worth more than £161m.

Morgan Sindall came second, with 39 contracts worth £231m. Most were in the public sector, though it also beat rivals in the housing sector with £107m of contracts.

Its biggest single contract was a £64m housing project for New East Manchester.

Sir Robert McAlpine secured £222m of work from eight contracts, giving it third place. The biggest project was a £109m schools scheme in Newcastle upon Tyne.

HBG, which took fourth place with £208m, won the highest-value work in the commercial sector, with £159m. It also won the overall biggest project, a £150m commercial scheme in Chester.

Laing O’Rourke made number five in the contractors’ league table, after not making it into the top 30 last month. It scooped £117m of work in six contracts.

When civils work is taken into account, the top four remain the same but Skanska nips in at number five with £149m, securing almost all of the contracts in civils (£129m).

But this shuffling has done little to alter the annual league. Balfour Beatty is still top dog overall, despite coming in at number twelve in the building-only table with £74m and 13th when civils is included.

In the annual top five Kier’s top place moved it up two places. Morrison is the only company that recorded a significant jump in the yearly ranking. It climbed 26 places into the top 30 after winning 15 civils projects worth £67m in July. In June, it secured just £5.5m of work.