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1 Nov 15 Contract award levels look set to remain strong till the end of the year. Neil Edwards reports

Amid media speculation of shrinkage in the UK construction sector, the industry put in another above-average and unseasonal performance in November 2015 to begin the end-of-year countdown with an upbeat flourish.

The combined value of new contract awards during the month once again exceeded the £4.3bn mark with each of the top six companies securing in excess of £200m of new work.

Making a rare appearance at the top of the table for the month was Mace, which secured three contracts with a combined value of £427.5m. Key among these is the £400m contract to build the new Tottenham Hotspur football stadium close to its current White Hart Lane home.

The company fought off stiff competition from stadium construction specialist Brookfield Multiplex which built the new Wembley Stadium, and Sir Robert McAlpine which delivered the Emirates Stadium just up the road for Spurs’ local rivals Arsenal.

In second place was Kier Group with a haul of 18 individual new contract awards with a combined total value of £267.4m. The largest of these was a £55m framework deal for the refurbishment and repair of five schools across the south of England.

While the figures once again showed that London is streets ahead of all other regions in terms of construction demand, the North East was buoyed by a £45m contract for the extension of Newcastle University’s Science Central campus which was won by Bowmer & Kirkland.

Together with 12 smaller contracts, this drove the company’s monthly total to £239.2m and propelled it into the league table Top 3 for the first time in several months.

Also riding high is Galliford Try which secured £229.3m of new work to claim fourth spot. The big prize for the company in November was an £80m hospital extension contract for Luton & Dunstable Hospital NHS Trust.

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Sliding into fifth position was Laing O’Rourke, courtesy of a pair of contracts with a combined value of £226m. The largest – valued at £116m – is a 16-storey new build comprising offices, retail units, restaurants and 100 dwellings in Paddington for client Derwent London. Laing O’Rourke also bagged a £110m shopping centre extension order at Charter Place in Watford.

Spencer Group claimed sixth position – and became the only other company to break through the £200m threshold in November 2015 – with a single £200m order for the construction of a new power plant for Energy Works (Hull) that boosted Yorkshire’s regional figures to £435.7m.

Housing remains the strongest sector with 193 contracts awarded in the month for a combined total of over £1bn. Schools and universities were responsible for 144 individual contracts with a value of £866m while the entertainment sector – boosted by the Tottenham Hotspur stadium contract – with just over £600m across 36 contracts also accounted for a big chunk of the month’s contract awards.

• Neil Edwards is chief executive of The Builders’ Conference

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