Australia’s leading construction firms, despite facing a multitude of challenges during the past two years, have continued to get projects off the ground and deliver significant city-shaping developments.
BCI’s inaugural Construction League, in partnership with The Urban Developer, provides a comprehensive deep dive into the Australia’s top construction firms based on the total value of projects that commenced construction in 2021.
Australia’s top 50 builders commenced construction on 1334 projects in 2021, representing $57 billion worth of projects. The average project value of this year’s top 10 builders was north of $100 million, more than double the size of the bottom 10.
The Urban Developer’s list of the top 10 builders shines a light on the top-performing firms and projects shaping Australia’s built environment.
Number of projects commenced in 2021: 10
Total project value: $1.33 billion
Average project value: $133 million
Deicorp is a privately-owned property development and construction group for residential, commercial and retail real estate.
Founded in 1999, the Sydney-based business has 200 in-house staff and has constructed more than 8000 apartments in 40 suburbs across Sydney and Canberra.
Deicorp currently has work in hand exceeding $2.5 billion. The builder is under way on the Highline, a 230-apartment project in Westmead, The Banks, a 365-apartment project in Rockdale, and The Siding, a 200-apartment project in Petersham.
Construction is also under way on its largest project to date, Tallawong Village, a 17-building, $340-million development in Sydney’s north-west comprising 987 apartments, 9250sq m of retail and commercial space, and 3400sq m of open space next to the Sydney Metro Tallawong Station.
Deicorp is also planning a $230-million, 55-level luxury residential and commercial building on the site of the Polding Centre in the Sydney CBD.
Number of projects commenced in 2021: 87
Total project value: $1.35 billion
Average project value: $15 million
Kane Constructions is a privately owned commercial construction company active across all property sectors.
The Melbourne-based builder, which has a turnover in excess of $1 billion and employs over 500 full-time employees, operates on the east coast of Australia from offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and Canberra.
With an annual turnover in excess of $1 billion and $1.3-billion of work in hand across 87 projects, the company is well placed to take on a mix of short-, medium- and long-term projects in the sub-$1 million to $250-million-plus value range.
The construction group has total assets exceeding $71.5 million with a security facility to cater for over $2.5 billion of work under construction.
The company’s national pipeline of active projects is predominantly based in Victoria and Tasmania with a collection of projects in Queensland and the Northern Territory and a smaller number of projects under way in New South Wales and the ACT.
It’s most notable currently projects include the $150-million Bendigo Law Courts, $130-million Northern Private Hospital in Epping, and the delivery of six new primary schools and a new secondary school as part of the Victorian School Building Authority’s $120-million new schools bundle.
8. Hansen Yuncken
Number of projects commenced in 2021: 41
Total project value: $1.4 billion
Average project value: $34 million
Hansen Yuncken, founded by Otto Yuncken and Lauritz Hansen in Melbourne in 1918, has been in operation for more than a century.
In 1937, Hansen Yuncken expanded its operations into Hobart, followed in 1939 by an office in Adelaide. In the 1960s it opened a Northern Territory office and in 2010 an office in Brisbane was established.
The company is known for inventing a suspended scaffold to replaster the domed ceiling at Melbourne’s State Library in 1929, converting Adelaide Railway Station into a casino in 1985 while the trains were still running below it and etching into the side of a peninsula on the banks of the Derwent River to create MONA—the Museum of Old and New Art—in 2011.
Hansen Yuncken, now headed by chief executive Peter Salveson, is currently at the helm of $1.4-billion worth of construction projects and returns an annual turnover of $1 billion with 650-plus staff.
The construction group’s national portfolio of projects is currently weighted towards Victoria, with 30 per cent of its projects in New South Wales and nearly 20 per cent in South Australia.
It is currently building a large swathe of community and civic projects while it has also increased its exposure to industrial construction.
Most notably, the construction firm is currently overseeing the $250-million Flinders University Health and Medical Research Building, a 22,000sq m building that will span 10 storeys, as well as the $130-million infill expansion of the Barwon Prison near Geelong.
7. Hickory Group
Number of projects commenced in 2021: 11
Total project value: $1.62 billion
Average project value: $147 million
Hickory Group has quickly become one of Australia’s most diverse building companies.
The Melbourne-based company, which now has more than 1000 employees, specialises in construction, structures, facades, manufacturing, fit-outs and logistics.
It has completed upwards of 150 high-profile projects across its 30 years in operation and has an active pipeline of 11 projects under construction.
The bulk of its current pipeline, $1.62-billion worth of projects, is based in Victoria, 60 per cent of which is residentially focused.
In Melbourne, the construction in group is currently at work on Gurner’s $280-million luxury residential and retail precinct Victoria and Vine in Collingwood, Longriver Group’s East Central Tower, a 30-storey building in Box Hill, and nearby CBD Development’s Trio Box Hill, a three-tower, 488-apartment development.
It is also advanced on ICD Property’s 65-storey high-rise residential tower, Aspire, at 299 King Street, and Caydon’s 16-storey "Home", 6.5km north-east of the city in Alphington.
Other construction projects include two hotels—Meriton Suites Hotel, a 57-storey, 300-guest room development at 140 King Street, and Time and Place’s Ace Hotel Sydney, an 18-storey project comprising 264 guest rooms.
6. Icon Construction
Number of projects commenced in 2021: 24
Total project value: $1.8 billion
Average project value: $75 million
Icon Construction is one of Australia and New Zealand’s largest construction firms with more than 24 projects ranging in size from $500,000 to $400 million and annual revenue in excess of $1.7 billion.
Six years ago the Icon businesses were given a lift when one of Japan's largest builders, Kajima Corporation, took control. Kajima subsequently took over another mid-tier builder, Cockram, in 2018 and merged it with Icon.
Kajima Corporation, recognised as one of the largest construction companies in the world, has an annual revenue of $25 billion and market capitalisation exceeding $11 billion.
Icon currently has an $1.8-billion pipeline of major contracts in Victoria, NSW and Queensland.
Almost half of its current projects are residentially focused with a third of those community projects and the remaining portion commercial builds.
Most recently, developer Riverlee appointed Icon Construction to deliver the $500-million Seafarers development featuring residential, hotel and hospitality, in what is set to be the largest private construction project in Melbourne since the pandemic.
Icon is also spearheading the Victoria government’s $420-million public housing renewal program with over 1000 dwellings being delivered in Brighton, Flemington, Prahran, South Yarra, Hampton East and Port Melbourne.
Icon’s subsidiary, Icon Developments, operates separately to the construction business Icon Co and currently has a range of residential and commercial developments in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra.
Number of projects commenced in 2021: 43
Total project value: $1.93 billion
Average project value: $24 million
ADCO is a renowned civil contractor in Sydney’s burgeoning construction industry, handling projects ranging from $1 million to more than $200 million.
Across its 50 years in operation the construction group has delivered over 3500 projects valued in excess of $14 billion.
ADCO, consistently rated as one of Australia’s top 50 private companies, currently has 500-plus employees with strong cash and liquid asset reserves and annual revenues approaching $1 billion.
The firm has enjoyed high levels of repeat business from long-established client relationships among key private and institutional corporates, as well as federal, state and local government agencies, in recent years.
To date, the construction group has delivered over 300,000sq m of commercial space across the country as well as 800 retail precincts.
Its healthcare experience includes major ward extensions and greenfield hospitals. ADCO's education arm has overseen the delivery of 350 primary and secondary school projects across the public, private and independent sectors.
Its current $1.9-billion construction pipeline is mainly based in Victoria and Queensland.
ADCO is currently under construction on the $175-million Griffith Regional Hospital, the Victoria state government’s $132-million upgrade of the Basketball Centre in Wantirna South, and Arklife’s $120-million Cordelia build-to-rent development in South Brisbane.
4. Hutchinson Builders
Number of projects commenced in 2021: 205
Total project value: $2.7 billion
Average project value: $13.1 million
Hutchinson Builders, colloquially known as Hutchies, is Australia's largest privately-owned construction company.
It was founded in Brisbane in 1912 and its first project was the construction of a new kitchen at Fort Lytton for the Queensland government. It has since grown into a dynamic and diverse construction company, delivering sophisticated projects across a comprehensive portfolio.
In the most recent financial year the construction group turned over $2.62 billion with a balance sheet of $350-plus million and no debt.
Hutchies currently has more than 1400 employees, with an average project size of $19 million and build time of 14 months. The builder has more than 150 projects consistently on hand.
Almost four out of five of the builder’s current projects are in its home state of Queensland, while Victoria accounts for 12 per cent and New South Wales 7 per cent.
Hutchies currently has an even split of projects by sector with its residential, commercial and community projects weighted evenly.
Its most notable current builds include RetireAustralia’s $200-million The Green retirement village in Brisbane’s Tarragindi, Frasers Property Australia’s $200-million Brunswick and Co build-to-rent project in Fortitude Valley, and Vitale Project’s $400-million, 22-storey Mondrian Hotel on the Gold Coast.
Number of projects commenced in 2021: 89
Total project value: $2.9 billion
Average project value: $33 million
Privately owned for more than two decades, Built is a national diversified general contractor and currently one of Australia’s largest private construction groups.
The Sydney-based company currently has 1000-plus employees in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, specialising in both large scale new builds to complex refurbishments and intricate fit-outs.
The company currently has in excess of $3 billion of work in hand, predominantly in New South Wales and Victoria, with more than half commercial projects. Built has an annual turnover of $1.7 billion.
It is currently overseeing a number of high-profile office projects, most notably Walker Corporation’s $3.2-billion Parramatta Square development—one of Australia’s largest urban regeneration projects.
Built was engaged by Walker Corporation to deliver their vision for the 3ha masterplan which will deliver six buildings, 6000sq m of public space, a refurbished town hall and state-of-the-art library to accommodate a growing workforce of 23,500 people.
The construction group also has its own experienced and accredited in-house sustainability team and has been recognised for more than 60 Green Star, LEED, WELL and NABERs ratings across its Australian projects.
Number of projects commenced in 2021: 14
Total project value: $4.6 billion
Average project value: $328 million
Multiplex is a tier-one construction company which has been operating for over 60 years.
The construction firm currently operates across four continents in six countries with 1600 staff in Australia, 900 in Europe, 4100 in the Middle East and 120 in Canada.
It has delivered more than 1000 projects with a combined value in excess of $145 billion.
In mid-2007, Brookfield Asset Management—a global alternative asset manager with $600 billion in assets under management and a 120-year heritage as owners and operators—proposed an acquisition of Multiplex which valued the company at approximately $7.3 billion.
Across the last financial year, Multiplex generated $5 billion in revenue and currently holds a workbook of 55 projects valued at $20 billion.
The builder’s current workbook includes $3.7-billion worth of commercial projects, $5.2-billion worth of residential projects, $1.9-billion worth of health and aged care projects and $2-billion worth of education and community projects.
It currently has a heavy exposure to Western Australia, accounting for more than 30 per cent of its current pipeline, while is also building consistently in New South Wales and Queensland.
The largest project on its books is the $1.5-billion Footscray Hospital which will feature more than 500 beds, enabling care for almost an additional 15,000 patients and an extra 20,000 people to be seen by the emergency department each year.
It has also been engaged by Infastructure NSW to deliver the new $750-million Sydney Fish Market, which includes the construction of new public promenades, offices, commercial space and a ferry wharf.
Number of projects commenced in 2021: 80
Total project value: $20.6 billion
Average project value: $258 million
Sydney-based Lendlease is a global real estate and investment group with a core interest in city-shaping projects and urban development.
Lendlease has a $100-billion-plus development and construction pipeline as well as $30-billion in assets under management.
Its sizable pipeline includes a number of urbanisation projects spanning 21 sites in nine global cities.
The bulk of its Australian pipeline is based in New South Wales, with balanced exposure across Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.
The company’s largest project is Barangaroo South—one of Sydney’s largest urban regeneration projects—a $10-billion-plus development project comprising One Sydney Harbour and Crown Sydney.
It is also constructing Sydney Place,a $1.9-billion commercial development in Circular Quay that will become home to cloud-based software company Salesforce and will become Sydney’s tallest office building when completed this year.
In Melbourne, Lendlease is working on the $6.6-billion Victoria Harbour masterplan, $3-billion Melbourne Quarter precinct and the $1.2-billion Victoria Cross over-station development in the North Sydney business district.
The BCI Construction League, in partnership with The Urban Developer, ranks builders and builder-developers by the total value of projects that commenced construction in 2021.
Check out Australia's top 50 construction firms, here.