Wates shifts the balance

A mammoth new contract award for Wates Group helped turn around a month in which the BCLive league table could so easily have fallen short. The Builders’ Conference CEO Neil Edwards looks back over a month in which the BCLive league table ultimately maintained an upward trend.

It is indicative of the fragile nature of current construction demand and sentiment that March 2018 was probably a single new contract award away from a month-on-month downturn that could so easily have set alarm bells ringing. But, as it transpired, that single contract award came along; and it landed with an almighty splash at the doors of Wates Residential who are part of the Wates Group.

The company won a total of five new contract awards during the month; but four of them will barely merit a mention alongside a £1 billion win for its residential division in the London Borough of Havering.   The framework agreement includes the regeneration of 12 individual council estates that together comprise more than 3,000 homes. Although Havering is a London Borough, the town resides in Essex, and so it has been allocated against Essex in the BCLive league table, propelling the county to the top of the regional countdown for the month and pushing Greater London into a distant second place.

In an equally distant second place on the BCLive league table for March 2018 was last month’s winner, Kier Group which compiled a haul of 17 individual new contract awards worth a combined £327.1 million. In a month in which the housing sector once again dominated, the largest Kier contract was refurbishment and repair contract with Aberdeenshire Council across various locations over the next four years.

With 10 contracts worth a combined £296.8 million, BAM swept into third place on the BCLive league table thanks in no small part to a £100 million contract for an extension to the University of Leeds’ International Centre for engineering and physical science.

Bowmer & Kirkland took fourth position with seven new contract awards including a £36 million mixed use development new build for YMCA England in Milton Keynes. ISG was fifth on the table and the last to win more than £100 million in new contract awards with a combined tally of £112.5 million.

Although they didn’t quite crack the BCLive league table Top 5, two other companies made notable strides in the past month. A&H Construction won five new contract awards worth a total of £89.8 million, the largest of which was a new build distribution warehouse in Rugby, Warwickshire.

As a further nod to the move from a brick to a click economy, Winvic Construction also surged into the BCLive league table Top 10 thanks to a £60 million contract to build another distribution centre for online retail giant Amazon.

The BCLive league table for March 2018 included 612 new contract awards worth a combined total of £4,725.6 billion, split between 355 individual companies. This is almost exactly the same as this time last year. In March 2017, the BCLive league table recorded 663 awards worth £4.48 billion.

The league table for March brings to a close the first quarter of 2018, and it ends on a largely positive note with a 10 percent increase in contract values on the previous quarter. That is cause for celebration. But without Wates’ hefty contribution, the picture could have looked markedly different.

 Quick review of BCLive table for March 2018

355no companies were detailed as winning new contracts during March 2017

612no new construction orders are detailed on BCLive

Wates Group secure overall top spot with £1.018 billion of new work

New order winners in £1M to £5M category was Kier Group with office throughout the UK & the £1M and under category went to Harper Group from the West Midlands

Kier Group also secured the most number of new construction orders in the month with 17no

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