The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, June 28, 2019

Top 400 contractors are feeling no pain, ENR report says

By The Building Tradesman

The nation's construction contractors are generally doing quite well, thank you.

The Engineering News Record's list of Top 400 U.S. contractors based on revenue was released last month, and it provided a favorable diagnosis for the nation's construction economy a decade after the Great Recession.

"The still-healthy market is evident in the results of this year’s ENR Top 400 Contractors survey," the ENR said. "As a group, those firms generated a new record of $405 billion in contracting revenue in 2018, a significant increase of 8.3 percent from the 2017 total of $373.98 billion." The ENR added: "The construction market has been growing steadily for nearly 10 years, with no signs of stopping." 

Among the nation's top 100 contractors, the ENR's list has, for the entirely of this century, annually included two Michigan-based contractors: Southfield-based Barton Malow and Detroit-based Walbridge. It's more of the same this year, as Barton Malow (No. 40, down 12 spots from 2018) and Walbridge (No. 59, -11 spots compared to 2018) were Michigan's top contractors. But for the first time, they had company in the top 100: Lansing-based The Christman Co. jumped from No. 110 in 2018 to No. 93 this year.

Other Michigan-based contractors that made the list include Aristeo Construction Co., Livonia, (No. 194, +5 vs. 2018); Rockford Construction Co., Grand Rapids (No. 243, +7); Commercial Contracting Corp., Auburn Hills, (No. 260, +21); Pioneer Construction, Grand Rapids (No. 268, +5); Granger Construction Co., Lansing (No. 305, -103); Wieland, Lansing, (No. 319, -43); Clark Construction Co., Lansing, No. 320, not on the 2018 list); Roncelli Inc., Sterling Heights (No. 340, -50) and Wolverine Building Group, Grand Rapids (No. 400, not on the 2018 list). 

Notable contractors that didn't make this year's list (or last year's), but that have in the past, include Sachse Construction, Detroit (No 393 in 2017) and George W. Auch, Pontiac (No. 394 in 2017).

The list's 2019 top five U.S. contractors by revenue include, in order, Bechtel, Reston, Va.; Fluor Corp., Irving, Texas; Turner Corp., New York, N.Y.; Aecom, Los Angeles, and The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., Baltimore.

"Industry veterans know the market can’t sustain this pace forever, but they are focused on the opportunities in front of them," the ENR said. 

Gilbane Building Co. Executive Vice President told the publication: “We all remember 2009-11 and don’t want to see that again. So we as an industry are constantly wary, watching for signs of a downturn. But we don’t see any yet.”