Contractor’s education projects take it over the £200m mark

Business barometer

The total value of work won in November was almost half the figure for the same month last year. As the country slips further into recession, the top 30 companies won 276 deals worth £1.2bn compared with 303 worth £2.1bn in 2007: a 44% drop. Sir Robert McAlpine, last month’s number one, did not feature in this table; neither did Bovis Lend Lease, Skanska or Costain.

Only Kier made it over the £100m hurdle, sealing 40 deals worth £202m and breaking the £200m mark for the second consecutive month. Its biggest wins were in education, highlighting the buoyancy of that sector. Contracts included a £31m student accommodation scheme in Luton and a £27m project for the University of Bedfordshire.

Despite the gloom, the year’s rolling total increased from £27.1bn in November 2007 to £30.1bn in November 2008.

Laing O’Rourke only won two jobs but they were enough to propel it into second place after it came 14th last month. Schemes included the £28m air sciences building at Oxford university and a £60m international pier at Birmingham airport. Its £88m haul would only have been good enough to secure sixth place last month, and 10th place in November 2007.

Third spot was taken by ISG, which won a £52m contract from Suffolk council to build a college in Ipswich.

The top five was completed by BAM Construct, with four wins, and Morgan Sindall with 32. Education also provided a fruitful sector for BAM, as it won a £42m deal with Bolton community college and a £30m deal with Newcastle-under-Lyme college.

In sixth place was Balfour Beatty with £69.6m of work. With 46 wins, its average project size was only £1.5m.

The £125m-turnover Buckingham Group came in seventh place, thanks to the controversial £65m contract to build a football stadium for Brighton and Hove Albion, a scheme that got the go-ahead despite protests from green campaigners.