Company wins £375m of contracts, but overall value of work falls by £1.8bn

A comparison between the total amount of work won in December 2008 and the same month in 2007 makes for predictably gloomy reading.

Although the top 30 companies won 255 contracts compared with 276 in the previous year, the value of the work was less than half: £1.7bn as against £3.5bn, although last year’s total was skewed by Laing O’Rourke’s £1.8bn deal for Heathrow’s East Terminal.

Top of the tree was Rok, which won 17 jobs totalling £375m. This will be welcome news after the contractor issued a profit warning in November and axed 750 jobs. Garvis Snook, Rok’s chief executive, said: “The lights across the UK went out in the week after the government’s bank bail out.”

Well, not all of them: last month the construction and social housing group signed on a £200m extension to its repair and maintenance deal with insurer Zurich. It also won a £130m building and refurbishment framework with BAA, which propelled it upwards it from 11th spot in November. Snook said: “I’m certainly feeling much better about things now than I was then. We’ve reshaped the business to pick up these types of reliable repair and maintenance deals.”

At a trading update this week it pointed to future framework turnover of £2.3bn, although the confirmed order book was £400m at the end of 2008 compared with £590m in 2007. In second place was Wates which won 33 deals worth £279m, a figure that was bolstered by a £168m haul in the public sector. Its wins included a £35m deal for Leyton Sixth Form college in London and a £22m project for John Lewis Partnership in Cardiff.

BAM Construct ended up in third place with five deals worth £234m, including an £88.5m deal for Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. The top five was completed by Kier and Balfour Beatty. The latter finished top of the leader board that includes civils work thanks to a £365m Highways Agency deal for the A46.