More than half of month’s £1.78bn total comes from public projects

The leaderboard of contract wins for March provides further evidence the public sector is effectively propping up the industry, accounting for more than half of work won.

The total value of non-civils deals won by the top 30 contractors was £1.78bn and more than £900m came from public projects. The total is well below the pre-recession level of £2.19bn in March 2007, but was a 22% rise on the £1.46bn recorded in March 2009.

In the week that the main political parties launched their manifestos, which all glossed over the precise level of public sector cuts to come, it highlights the industry’s vulnerability to the post-election scythe.

Deals for the top 30 contractors including civils amounted to £2.14bn. In what the industry will hope is not the start of a worrying trend for a sector that many are pinning their hopes on to provide a steady stream of work, the figure was down from £3.27bn in February and the £3.4bn recorded in March 2009.

Balfour Beatty topped the league table in March, thanks to 51 wins, including a £250m social housing contract for North-east Lincolnshire council. The firm won £354m worth of contracts in the public sector alone and topped the annual rolling table with 792 wins worth £7.3bn.

Second place went to Morgan Sindall, which secured two contracts for schools in Hull with the Esteem consortium.

Sir Robert McAlpine climbed to fourth from 10th with £140m worth of new deals, all from commercial clients, including a £96m American Express deal in Brighton.

But the table brought more bad news for Laing O’Rourke, which won only two contracts in March. Last month finance director Iain Ferguson left the firm, as commercial head Anna Stewart expanded her role to take over his duties amid concern the firm was not winning enough work. Laing O’Rourke is just clinging on to third place in the yearly table, £7m ahead of Kier. It was top two years ago.