The big businesses get bigger, while the small firms are squeezed; that's the general theme of the 2010 Top 100 Construction Companies table.
Spanning a period which saw the industry continue to suffer from the economic slowdown, the aggregate turnover of the UK's 100 biggest construction firms shrank 1.4% to £68.4bn. Their collective profit was down 8.7% at £1.77bn.
The picture was even worse among the Top 20 House Builders. Overall revenue was down 35.8% across the sector at £10.9bn, though their total losses were reduced by 44.3% to £1.9bn.
The Top 20 Plant Hirers saw total turnover drop 13% to £4bn, with combined profit dropping more than a quarter to just £210m.
But while the overall picture was one of contraction, the bigger firms' performance held up well.
Balfour Beatty, which now accounts for an astonishing 15% of the Top 100's revenue, was one of six to grow turnover in the top 10 – none of whom dipped into the red.
Overall, the 10 biggest companies' combined turnover was up by 1.6% compared to last year – while in contrast, the revenue of the bottom 10 was down by 13.7%.
Amid the wider gloom, there were some success stories. Mitie climbed into the top 10 after increasing turnover 13% to £1.72bn, while its £91.7m profit was the third best in the table. Willmott Dixon ended the year £1m short of being a £1bn company, after growing revenue 19.1%. Listed contractors Mears and May Gurney continued to expand, and will be expecting revenue to pass the half a billion mark in 2010.
A few familiar names disappeared from the table. Jarvis went into administration earlier in the year, and found no buyers. Doyle dropped out of the Top 100 after turnover fell almost a third to £123m, as did Tolent, where revenue plunged 43% to just £87m in a year which saw the firm de-list from the Stock Exchange.
In the Top 20 House Builders table, the big players continue to dominate, with the five largest firms now accounting for 69.7% of revenue (2009: 65.6%). Though they also account for more than two thirds of total losses.
The revenue of the bottom five in the Top 20 fell by 42% to £793m.
With many of the big house builders now buying land again, performances next year can be expected to improve.
In the Top 20 Plant Hirers table, the picture was slightly different. Aggreko, the new number one, increased turnover 8.1% to £1.02bn, and profit by 28.4% to £244m.
But the other four hirers in the top five experienced falls in revenue, and two of them posted losses.
Smaller hire outfits which might have expect to struggle, such as HTC Plant and Selwood, saw turnover hold up reasonably well. Total revenue for the bottom five was £246m, compared to £271m in 2009.