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Morgan Sindall Time Square Warrington

The burgeoning development operation at Morgan Sindall is making the contractor one of the construction industry’s biggest clients.

Morgan Sindall’s development arm Muse has let £306 million-worth of work in the 12 months to April 2018 according to Glenigan’s construction market research.

Morgan Sindall is ranked in 16th position in Glenigan’s latest ranking of the top 100 construction clients. A year ago, Morgan Sindall was ranked in 44th place after letting work totalling £164 million.

Muse is working with a number of local authorities on regeneration schemes from Bournemouth to Warrington, where the group was selected for a £130 million development programme last summer.

Construction contracts awarded by Muse over the past 12 months includes a £65 million office project in Warrington and in 2017 Morgan Sindall’s regeneration operations had revenue of £175 million.

Contractors outsourcing work

To appear in Glenigan’s rankings of the construction industry’s biggest clients, companies must have let contracts to an external contractor and Muse is awarding work not to Morgan Sindall but to other companies.

Contractors with development operations typically let construction work to rivals to get a better price and Glenigan’s research shows that VINCI is working for Muse on the Bridge Street Quarter project in Warrington.

Elsewhere, Conlon is building the £50 million Market Quarter scheme in Preston for Muse, which recruited Bowmer & Kirkland for a £20 million industrial construction scheme being developed with Premier Farnell.

Other contractors follow suit

North Midland recently announced plans to form a development arm and a number of other contractors already use spare cash to develop construction projects, which can dwarf contracting income.

In 2017, Henry Boot’s contracting turnover was £81.9 million but revenue from property investment & development was £250 million and the company also features among Glenigan’s top 100 clients.

Henry Boot is ranked in 88th position in ranking of the top 100 construction clients for the 12 months to April 2018. The group awarded £108 million-worth of work. Outside contractors used by Henry Boot include Robertson, which is building the £35 million Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference project.

Kier’s property division has a development pipeline estimated at £500 million and also works in joint venture. This includes Solum Regeneration, which is a 50:50 JV with Network Rail.

In the 12 months to June 2017, Kier’s property division turned over £182 million and had a development pipeline valued at £1.4 billion.

Kier is ranked just outside the top 100 construction clients but also let £82 million-worth of work to external contractors in the 12 months to April 2018 according to Glenigan’s data.

This research shows that Kier considered bids from leading contractors including Bouygues, Interserve and McLaren before awarding Galliford Try a £23 million deal to build out student accommodation in Southampton.

Other contractors to have awarded construction schemes to external contractors over the past 12 months include Bowmer & Kirkland with £75 million-worth of awards.

With industry workloads unsettled and commercial clients jittery due to Brexit, pursuing income from property development looks likely to remain an important strategy for major contractors.

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