Bedfordshire-based Kier Group takes the top spot for the first time. Despite a challenging market, Kier has a total order book of £4bn, including a £600m contract for a new six-lane toll bridge on the Mersey Gateway. Its acquisition of road maintenance provider May Gurney in July strengthened its service business. Up one place, Costain Group's forward order book jumped 20% to £2.9bn in the first half. Galliford Try rises to third on the back of record annual profits, thanks to the revival in the housebuilding sector. But Balfour Beatty, sector winner for the past nine years, falls to ninth position after a torrid year, including two profit warnings within six months. The company's first-half pre-tax profits fell by 70%.