BAM Nuttall chief executive Stephen Fox, Costain chief executive Andrew Wyllie and Paul Sheffield, Kier chief executive until recently and now with Laing O’Rourke, have all been awarded CBEs.
The gongs come at the end of a year that has seen each man’s reputation dented by their companies being prosecuted for breaches of workplace health and safety laws.
BAM Nuttall was prosecuted twice in 2014 – once for poisoning workers with toxic lead inhalation and once for botching a bridge lift that resulted in a crane operator having to have his lower leg amputated.
Costain had to pay out £615,000 in fines and costs in July 2014 when the Health & Safety Executive prosecuted after the death of a worker from a telehandler overturning during the construction of the Newbury Parkway development.
Kier hit the headlines in September when the HSE prosecuted it for injuring an 18-week baby who was asleep in his pram. Though Paul Sheffield CBE had left the company two months earlier, the incident itself took place on his watch back in 2011, when site barriers outside a supermarket fell over.
The HSE's own deputy chief executive Kevin Myers is also awarded a CBE after 38 years of service to the organisation, including five as chief inspector of construction.
Other recipients of New Year Honours include Rod Bennion, former chairman of the Construction Youth Trust, who gets an OBE for services to construction training and the community in the southeast.
An OBE also goes to structural engineer Sarah Buck, a director of Exeter-based BSW Consulting, for services to engineering and education.
Recipients of MBEs include: Jason Anker, director of Jason Anker Live Ltd, for services to health and safety in the construction Industry; Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors honorary secretary Albert Palmer; architect Ann-Marie Smale, chair of Construction Industry Council Wales; and TrustMark chair Liz Male, who also runs a public relations firm, for services to the construction industry and consumer protection.