Business barometer Contractor takes the lion’s share of building work as Bam cashes in on civils

For the first time in several years, Wates came top of the monthly contractors league after winning £202m of work, ending Kier’s three-month reign.

The family-owned firm picked up 27 contracts, including £50m for academies let under Partnerships for Schools and an £18.1m deal to build luxury apartments for Land Securities in Wellington House in Victoria, central London. Second in the table was Bam Construct with £131m of work, including a £75m head office for Network Rail in Milton Keynes. Kier came third with £88m of work. Carillion was fourth with contracts worth £88m, including two schools in south Tyneside.

The stats confirmed suspicions that average project values have been falling sharply. The number of jobs won in December 2009 (273) was greater than in December 2008 (255), but the total value of that work dropped from £1.7bn to £1.1bn over the same period.

The figures tend to support the theory that infrastructure is the place to be (even though the latest figures from Experian on page 56 show activity fell sharply at the end of last year). Twenty-seven civils jobs were won in December, worth a combined total of £541m, compared to £568m in December 2008.

The top civils contractor was Bam Nuttall, which took the number one spot after bagging the £220m Tottenham Court Road tube station redevelopment, with partner Taylor Woodrow. Another big winner was Balfour Beatty, which picked up £115m of civils jobs, including the £17m A487 for the Welsh assembly, and Morgan Sindall, which grabbed £120m of work, including a £75m AMP5 contract with Yorkshire Water. Another big hitter was Interserve, which won £69m of work.

Fosters + Partners continues to dominate the number one architect spot, having agreed to design the new Terminal 1 and 2 buildings at London’s Heathrow airport for £1.5bn. Meanwhile, rival Make has picked up four projects worth a total of £1.1bn, including the £1bn Noho Square mixed-use scheme in London, pushing it to number two.