Booming and busting: construction industry tops most searched companies in 2015

Published:  07 January, 2016

Analysis by Creditsafe reveals eight of the 10 most searched for UK companies on the Creditsafe system in 2015 operate in the construction industry or are specialist suppliers to the sector. 

Five of these firms directly work in property construction and development, while three are specialist retailers servicing the industry.

In terms of growth, the construction sector has experienced a dramatic upturn in 2015. On average, 1,840 new construction companies open per month in the UK, compared to 862 in France and 230 in Belgium. In Germany, the number of construction companies fell by an average of 25 per month.

While the UK construction sector has enjoyed resurgence this year, with new companies established at a much higher rate than mainland Europe, it remains a volatile industry. 

In March last year the UK’s third most searched for company, GB Solutions Limited was placed into administration, which the firm’s directors blamed on a cash flow issue. In addition Fairhurst Ward Abbotts (sitting at 10 in the annual most searched rankings) also called in the administrators this year because of “severe cash flow difficulties”. The firm was prominent as it held a royal warrant as builder and decorator to the Queen.

Table: Top 10 most searched for companies in 2015 and the 2014 comparison

Rank

Most searched for companies 2015

Movement on last 12 months

Most searched for companies 2014

1

SPIE Limited

New entry

Travis Perkins Plc

2

Edmundson Electrical Limited

Up five places

Farnrise Construction Limited 

3

GB Building Solutions Limited

New entry

Tesco Plc

4

IESA Limited

New entry

Balfour Beatty Plc

5

Balfour Beatty Plc

Down one place

Grafton Merchanting GB Limited

6

Wolseley UK Limited

New entry

Mansell Construction Limited

7

Grafton Merchanting GB Limited

Down two places

Edmondson Electrical Limited

8

Tesco Plc

Down five places

Morgan Sindall Plc          

9

Balfour Beatty Regional Construction Limited

Down five places

Spicers Limited 

10

Fairhurst Ward Abbotts Limited

New entry

Wates Construction Limited

Source: Creditsafe 2015

Rachel Mainwaring, operations director, Creditsafe UK said: “The construction industry is one of the most difficult to evaluate as firms rely on a constant influx of new contracts, so companies that file profitable accounts one year can soon find themselves in difficulty the next. The collapse of GB Building Solutions graphically exemplifies the importance of continual credit referencing. While the group had historically traded profitably, cash flow pressures forced it into administration leaving an alleged £30 million trade credit shortfall. The industry is heavily reliant on trade credit so it is vital that suppliers to construction firms continually monitor payment performance and company ratings to avoid potential losses.”

Three of the top 10 most searched companies in 2015 sell construction materials: Edmundson Electrical Limited, Wolseley UK Limited and Grafton Merchanting GB Limited. These firms service an extremely volatile industry where changes in demand are often felt before other sectors of the economy.