Founder of Laing O’Rourke honoured for services to the construction industry

Ray O’Rourke, chairman of construction firm Laing O’Rourke, has received an honorary knighthood in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the UK’s construction industry.

As presenter of the award, business secretary Vince Cable praised O’Rourke for having “a focus on the customer and a quality driven agenda” and commended O’Rourke as being “widely respected across the construction industry”. 

Cable said that O’Rourke’s use of lean construction methods and offsite manufacturing is particularly effective at eliminating waste and maximising efficiency. Cable went on, “coupled with his commitment to training people, this has helped Laing O’Rourke… serve as an exemplar for the rest of the industry”.

O’Rourke’s contribution to the construction industry has spanned more than 40 years, in which he turned the concrete contractor he founded, R O’Rourke & Sons, into a multi-million pound main contractor, completing an audacious buy-out of John Laing’s construction arm in 2001.

Whilst O’Rourke is chairman of the UK’s largest privately owned construction firm, he is an Irish citizen and as such is not entitled to being awarded for his services by the Queen.