Business barometer — Contractor leads the construction league with a swarm of small wins

A series of housing project wins propelled Kier to the top of the contractors’ league table for February, narrowly beating HBG into second place.

Kier won £288m of work during the month, with £189m coming from the housing sector. Its place at the top of the table was secured in typical Kier style with a large number of small projects rather than large deals.

HBG ran Kier a close second, with a workload of £281m. The firm was also boosted by an £87m win on a mixed-use scheme for Countryside Properties in Liverpool.

South of England contractor Apollo Group had another strong month, picking up £151m of work, which was enough to push it into the top three. The company picked up three significant east London housing wins, for Ascham Homes, Homes for Haringey and East End Homes, which totalled £137m.

February was not so successful for last month’s leading contractor Bovis Lend Lease, which fell 34 places after picking up just a single win: an £8.2m commercial scheme.

Overall, the commercial sector proved the most lucrative for the industry, providing contractors with £939m of work, indicating that the market’s recovery is continuing. The total value of work awarded to the industry was £2.4bn, the same as in January.

When civils work is included, Kier descends to second place, a long way behind the mighty Balfour Beatty. The contractor topped the table with £647m worth of work, including a £550m power contract for National Grid in the east of England.

Carillion also performed strongly in the league, after celebrating the lifting of a one-year tendering ban imposed by Network Rail with a £60m win for the client.

Balfour’s performance was enough to maintain its hegemony over UK contracting, with £3.9bn of work won across 834 contracts since March 2006. The performance dwarfs that of its nearest rival Skanska, which won just under £2bn of work in the same period.