Business barometer Commercial projects worth £170m propel contractor past Kier

Skanska raced to the top of the contractors’ league last month with a strong performance in the commercial sector, where it scored £170m worth of work.

The workload, which was spread across five projects, lifted Skanska from 23rd place to overtake Kier, which was pushed into second place with £133.3m of work.

Kier also secured most of its work in the commercial sector, with £73.5m coming from commercial clients. This reflected the continuing strength of the sector, which provided £959.5m of the industry’s £1.8bn workload throughout the month.

The housing market, in comparison, provided only £289.6m of work, which is evidence that recent rises in interest rates are beginning to cause a market slowdown.

Among those that did benefit from the housing sector was Apollo Group, which secured two large housing wins totalling £40m of its £53.2m workload. These included a £20m contract for Stevenage Homes in Hertfordshire and a £20m scheme for London Borough of Newham in east London.

Bangor-based Watkin Jones Construction also scored a significant win in the sector, a £30m housing scheme in Birmingham for Carlton. This pushed the regional contractor up to 19th place in the league.

Another regional contractor that performed well in August was Leadbitter, which secured a brace of leisure centre wins to push it to 11th place from 24th last time, with £63.2m of work. A leisure contract worth £17.9m for Corby council also helped boost Willmott Dixon’s performance, with the contractor rising to sixth place from 17th in July.

Skanska remained top when civils work was included, with £13.7m of work in the sector pushing its total workload to £184.1m. This put it ahead of Balfour Beatty, which won £166.4m of work – enough to keep it top of the rolling annual league with almost £3bn of work spread across 739 projects.