Public sector boosts contractors’ workload, but performance is still worse than same period last year

The value of work brought in by the top 10 contractors increased by 23% from April to May, as the sector began to regain some form.

To see the top 100 contractors in May click here

The leading contractors brought in £1.37bn worth of work last month, up from £1.06bn the previous month.

But the amount won was considerably down on this time last year, when the top 10 bagged £1.78bn worth of contracts.

A brace of huge local council deals saw Balfour Beatty top the contractor table for the third month in a row.

The first was a £230m street lighting contract for Cambridgeshire council, following a £203m deal to install 50,000 signs for the same council the previous month. The other was a £100m highways maintenance contract for Warwickshire council.

The contractor’s haul of 73 wins - worth £412m - eclipsed its nearest rivals, with a total value of almost three times that of second-placed Kier, which won 41 contracts worth £171m.

Laing O’Rourke returned to the top 10 after a three-month absence, with a couple of big wins, including a £150m deal to build a factory for Arla Foods in Aylesbury.

Despite talk of public sector cuts starting to bite, the proportion of work from the public sector actually rose last month - from 30% in April to just over half in May.

A greater number of commercial wins also contributed to the improved performance in May, with the value of wins up 35% to £202m, from £150m the previous month.