Which firms ended 1998 on top? Building's quarterly regional update on contractors' workloads gives the full picture.
The south paid dividends for Kier in the final quarter of 1998. The firm topped the South-east and South-west tables with a total of £65.2m of contracts.

The firm also grabbed a healthy £17m of work in London, although Balfour Beatty took overall honours with £48.7m of work over five contracts.

Dutch-owned HBG was also number one in two regions, the North-east and North-west, with work totalling more than £62m.

An impressive £163.4m workload took Tarmac to the top spot in its West Midlands home turf.

In Scotland, Ballast Wiltshier managed to beat off competition from Laing, Amec and HBG, as well as local heroes Barr Construction and Morrison Construction, to take first prize with £68m worth of contracts.

Prospects declined in Wales, with Watkin Jones & Sons' £8.6m workload putting it at the top of the league. Watkin's performance was well down on Shepherd's table-topping £15.7m in the previous quarter.