£300m win propels contractor to poll position, while overall awards fall for second month in a row

Contractor Laing O’Rourke took the top spot in the building work league table in March, for the first time for almost four years.

The win came after it secured the contract to build the £300m station for Crossrail at Liverpool Street station.

The contractor, which recorded £353m of new work awards in the month, rose from 16th place in February, when it won contracts worth £16m.

The wins also bumped Laing O’Rourke up the table of total work won over the past 12 months. It now sits in seventh place, with £834m of work secured, up from 11th place a month ago.

Its success came as the CPA/Barbour ABI construction index fell for the second successive month in March, putting it 9% below the heights it reached in January.

The index, compiled by the Construction Products Association using data from construction information firm Barbour ABI, is at 117 for March, down from 123 in February and 129 in January this year. The contract awards index uses a January 2010 base of 100.

The dip in new work comes despite strong results for housebuilders in the first few months of 2012, and anecdotal evidence of confidence returning to the commercial market after the euro-crisis last year.

Kier and Morgan Sindall were the second and third placed contractors this month, with £153m and £126m worth of work secured respectively. Balfour Beatty, the UK’s largest contractor, which put 12,000 staff on notice this month under a major restructuring, slipped out of the top 10 in March, securing just £57m of work.