Watch the changing fortunes of the top 20 US construction companies over the last decade

Chinese construction companies may now occupy all of the top 5 places on International Construction’s list of the world’s Top 200 construction businesses, but US firms still have plenty of clout.

The top 20 companies in the US accounted for a combined annual revenue of more than $207bn in 2021, building major projects all over the world and further afield.

Now International Construction has compiled the data for US construction companies’ sales performance over the past decade, between 2013 and 2022. The animated graph provides an insight into how the landscape among US construction firms has changed over that time.

Source: International Construction Top 200/KHL (Graph created using Flourish Studio)

While Bechtel ruled the roost for several years from 2013 onwards, it was gradually overtaken in the top spot by Lennar. Lennar itself then gave way to D.R Horton, which took the top place in the 2022 list.

Meanwhile, mergers and acquisitions have also affected the hierarchy over the past decade. Cleveland Bridge & Iron held a place among the top firms until 2018 when it was merged into McDermott International, which then filed for Chapter 11 banktruptcy in January 2020, before exiting again later that year. 

Top companies in 2022

The top 20 US construction companies, according to International Construction’s Top 200 for 2022 were:

US position Company Sales (US $ million) Overall position (Top 200) Overall position in 2021 (Top 200)
1 D.R. Horton 27,774 10 13
2 Lennar 27,141 11 12
3 Jacobs Engineering 14,100 22 27
4 PulteGroup 13,926 24 30
5 Fluor* 12,434 26 21
6 Bechtel* 12,239 27 17
7 Peter Kiewit* 10,378 29 40
8 Emcor Group 9,903 32 34
9 Whiting-Turner Contracting 9,200 36 35
10 Toll Brothers 8,790 37 50
11 NVR 8,742 38 47
12 KBR 7,339 49 57
13 DPR Construction* 6,800 53 111
14 McDermott International 6,083 60 36
15 Hensel Phelps 5,868 62 58
16 KB Home 5,724 64 81
17 Gilbane Holdings 5,548 65 59
18 M.A. Mortenson 5,250 68 68
19 Meritage Homes 5,141 70 73
20 McCarthy Building* 4,706 75 72

Source: International Construction Top 200 (2022)

* = Estimated turnover

Fastest climber in 2022

Seven of the top 20 companies in 2022 were housebuilders and developers, with the rest made up of commercial contractors and engineering firms.

Kiewit subsidiary The Industrial Company built the 1GW natural-gas-fired Seminole power plant in Florida Kiewit subsidiary The Industrial Company built the 1GW natural-gas-fired Seminole power plant in Florida (Image courtesy of Kiewit)

The fastest climber in the list was Peter Kiewit. The employee-owned company, with more than 27,000 staff, jumped 11 places from 40th in the Top 200 in 2021 to 29th in 2022.

The business undertakes projects in the US, Canada and Mexico across sectors including transportation, water, power, oil, gas and chemical, building and mining.

Among the major projects Kiewit won in 2022 was a $309.7m runway extension project in Alaska for the Department of Defense.

The contractor will extend Runway 16/34, one of two at Elmendorf Field, by 2,900ft, to make the runway a total of 10,000 feet. According to U.S. Army Col. Damon Delarosa, the “mega-project” is the largest Pacific Air Forces construction project awarded to date. It involves moving 12 million cubic yards of excavation, equivalent to around 800,000 dump truck loads.

Meanwhile, North America’s largest housebuilder, Texas-based D.R. Horton, saw its revenue for the 2022 fiscal year climb further, to $33.5bn.

The business had 46,400 homes in its inventory as of 30 September 2022, of which 27,200 were unsold.

However, it saw net sales orders in the fourth quarter ended 30 September 2022 drop 15% to 13,582 homes on the same period the year before, as the US housing market endured a difficult year amid rising mortgage rates and high inflation.

Housing market declines but infrastructure set to grow

Commenting on the list, International Construction editor Andy Brown said: “The US construction market has been strong in recent years with one of the major contributing factors behind this being the country’s housing market – during the Covid-19 pandemic both home improvements and the desire of people to move to a different type of property led to the sector seeing substantial growth. It is no surprise that a good number of US-based contractors in the ICON Top 200 are from this sector.

“The housing market has started to slow in the US, with contractors now less optimistic about the private sector than a year ago, but hope has turned to the public sector. Despite issues with a lack of workers and supply chain problems, President Joe Biden’s US$1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, as well as other bills, should lead to activity remaining high in 2023.”

Watch out for International Construction’s updated Top 200 list for 2023, due to appear in the July-August 2023 issue of the magazine.

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