The O'Rourke family has eclipsed the Shepherds, the McAlpines and the Laings in The Sunday Times 2003 Rich List.
Ray O'Rourke and family jumped 229 places in the list to equal 163rd position, after the newspaper valued their wealth at £195m – thanks to the acquisition of Laing Construction in 2001 for £1. The family jumped to 20th in Ireland's richest 100.

The list, published last weekend, claims that the Essex-based Laing O'Rourke operation is now worth £185m, and "will use the Laing brand to win even more prestigious work".

The list charted the reversal of fortune for Sir Martin Laing and family, who dropped 52 places to 245 in 2003 after the ignominious O'Rourke sale. It is now worth £133m, with only a £31m holding in Laing.

The Shepherd and McAlpine families dropped in the list. At £165m, the Shepherds slipped to equal 192nd – the same as pop singer Sting – and Sir William McAlpine and family were down 36 places to equal 228th, with a fortune of £145m.

Top performers from the wider construction sector were JCB owners Sir Anthony Bamford and family, worth £675m, and Wilson Bowden chairman David Wilson, valued at £345m.

Highly-placed industry figures also included Persimmon chairman Duncan Davidson, worth £99m, and Sir Christopher Wates and family, valued at £90m. CABE chairman and Stanhope founder Sir Stuart Lipton slipped 277 places to 742nd with a mere £47m in the bank.

New entrants from the sector in the list included brothers Stelio and Stef Stefanou, who are worth a combined £64m. Stef's John Doyle Group is worth £35m, and Stelio's support services outfit Accord is valued at £29m.