Analysis by Creditsafe reveals eight of the 10 most searched for UK companies on the Creditsafe system in 2015 operated 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 a 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 issue3.  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 one:  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.”

Number one most searched:

Number one on the “Creditsafe Most Searched Companies 2015” list was SPIE UK.  In the UK SPIE is probably best known as the parent of Spie Matthew Hall M&E.  Searches spiked for SPIE following the IPO of its French parent company in June this year, which valued the company at around €2.5 billion. SPIE UK employs more than 3000 staff from 31 regional offices throughout the UK.