Contractors are still pondering the implications of Balfour Beatty’s canny swoop on American infrastructure firm Parsons Brinckerhoff last month.

The almost universal reaction has been one of envy at a deal that takes Balfour up the food chain and further into the white collar world of consulting while strengthening its US power base.

The deal could blaze a trail for other companies to do the same (moving up the food chain) and some chief execs have already instructed their advisors to start looking for a similar deal.