Laing O'Rourke

Laing O'Rourke is a multinational construction company headquartered in Dartford, England, United Kingdom. It was founded in 1978 by Ray O'Rourke. It is the largest privately owned construction company in the United Kingdom.[3]

Laing O'Rourke
Private limited company
IndustryConstruction, Civil Engineering
HeadquartersDartford, United Kingdom
Key people
Ray O'Rourke KBE
(Chairman and CEO)
Revenue£2,928.9 million (2017/18)[1][2]
£(18.3) million (2017/18)[1]
£(46.5) million (2017/18)[1]
Number of employees
12,796 (2017/18)[1]


The company was founded by Ray O'Rourke in 1978. It was originally based in east London, and was known as R. O'Rourke & Son.[4] In September 2001, R. O'Rourke bought Laing Construction from John Laing plc for £1. Laing's construction business had been making significant losses, in part due to additional costs on the Cardiff Millennium Stadium project. The name of the company was changed to Laing O'Rourke.[5]

In May 2004, the company acquired Crown House Engineering, a mechanical & electrical engineering business, from Carillion.[6] Laing O'Rourke went on to expand its operations in Australia in July 2006, when it acquired Barclay Mowlem, also from Carillion.[7] In 2015, the company became a member of the Housing and Finance Institute.[8]

In December 2015, the chief executive officer of the company, Anna Stewart, stepped down with immediate effect due to ill health. Ray O'Rourke, the company's executive chairman, assumed her role[9] although it was reported that O’Rourke could only spend a limited number of days in the United Kingdom, due to his tax exile status in Jersey.[10]

On 11 January 2016, Laing O'Rourke announced that it had begun the formal sale process of selling its Australian business. This was a result of multiple unsolicited offers and a desire to invest more heavily in the company's operations in the United Kingdom.[11]

In the year to 31 March 2016, the group made a pre tax loss £246m, after being hit by poor performance on its £1.3bn PFI hospital contract (at CHUM) in Montreal, Canada, and on several now completed problem contracts in the United Kingdom.[12] In December 2016 it was rumoured the Australia arm has been taken off the market after Laing O’Rourke failed to find a buyer.[12] The sale process was later discontinued and the Australian business was refinanced in 2017.[13]

In March 2017, the company withdrew 800 of its workers from the Ichthys LNG storage tank project after not receiving payments from Kawasaki for its work for several months: the amount in dispute was $250 million[14][15] although Kawasaki rejected claims that it owed the disputed money.[16]

In the year to 31 March 2017, the group made a pre tax loss of £67m, largely due to losses of £81m (on revenues of just over £2 billion) at the largest operating division, Laing O'Rourke plc, mainly attributed to its PFI hospital contract at CHUM in Montreal, Canada. The contracting business then employed 8,539 people, more than half of the group's then 15,273 staff.[17]

Publication of the group's results of 2018 was delayed due to "historic turbulence in the construction sector" following the January 2018 collapse of Carillion;[13][18] in December 2018, the company said increased scrutiny from lenders and accountants was delaying a refinancing move,[19] finally closed in January 2019.[20]

With its operations refinanced in the United Kingdom, Laing O’Rourke published accounts for the year to 31 March 2018, showing the group made a pre tax loss of £46.5m (down from £60.6m in 2017) on turnover down to £2.93bn from £3.17bn.[1]


Laing O'Rourke has operations in two major geographic hubs, Europe and Australia. European operations span Abu Dhabi, Canada, Dubai and the United Kingdom. Australian operations cover Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand and South East Asia [21] The company operates in building construction, infrastructure construction, investment & development, modular manufacturing, engineering expertise and support services.[22]

Its projects span a range of sectors including, building, transport, power, water & utilities, mining & natural resources and oil & gas.[23]

Major projects

Major projects involving the company have included;



Laing O'Rourke and its acquisition of 2004, Crown House, were revealed as subscribers to the United Kingdom's Consulting Association, exposed in 2009 for operating an illegal construction industry blacklist. Laing O'Rourke was later one of eight businesses involved in the launch in 2014 of the Construction Workers Compensation Scheme,[51] condemned as a "PR stunt" by the GMB union, and described by the Scottish Affairs Select Committee as "an act of bad faith".[52]

In October 2016, Laing O'Rourke and the other construction companies admitted that the blacklist was unlawful and apologised to those damaged by it.[53] In December 2017, Unite announced it had issued High Court proceedings against twelve major contractors, including Laing and Crown House.[54]

Late payment

In April 2019, Laing O'Rourke was suspended from the UK Government's Prompt Payment Code for failing to pay suppliers on time.[55] It was reinstated in November 2019.[56]


  1. "Annual report and consolidated financial statements for the year ending 31 March 2018" (PDF). Laing O'Rourke. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  2. "Laing O'Rourke pre-tax losses fall 20%". The Construction Index. 19 February 2019. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  3. Top 100 construction Companies The Construction Index
  4. Laing O'Rourke: History Archived 2 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  5. "Laing shares half in value". BBC. 27 September 2001. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  6. "Laing O'Rourke pays £17m for Crown House". Construction News. 20 May 2004. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  7. "Carillion sells Barclay Mowlem to Laing O'Rourke Australia for £30m". Contract Journal. 3 July 2006. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  8. "PIF Proposal: Housing & Finance Institute" (PDF). City Of London Corporation. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  9. "Laing O'Rourke CEO Anna Stewart resigns - Appointments". Construction Week Online. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  10. "Ray O'Rourke can only spend part of the year in UK". Construction Enquirer. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  11. "Laing O'Rourke to sell Australian business". Construction News. 11 January 2016. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  12. "Laing O'Rourke suffers massive £246m loss". Construction Enquirer. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  13. Rogers, Dave (29 October 2018). "Laing O'Rourke blames 'Carillion factor' as it looks to calm jitters over late-running accounts…". Building. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  14. "Workers caught up in $250 million contract dispute between Laing O'Rourke and Kawasaki Heavy Industries". NT News. 15 March 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  15. "Laing O'Rourke takes 800 workers off Ichthys LNG project". LNG World News. 15 March 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  16. "Inpex: Kawasaki rejects claims it owes money over LNG project dispute as workers left high and dry - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". 17 March 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  17. Rogers, Dave (13 March 2018). "Laing O'Rourke plc stays in red". Building. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  18. "Laing O'Rouke refinancing delays results". Construction News. 29 October 2018. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  19. Clarence-Smith, Louisa (17 December 2018). "Construction giant Laing O'Rourke faces questions over crucial funding". Times. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  20. Morby, Aaron (8 January 2019). "Laing O'Rourke seals refinancing deal with banks". Construction Enquirer. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  21. "Where We Work". Laing O’Rourke. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  22. "What We Do". Laing O’Rourke. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  23. "Our Sectors". Laing O’Rourke. Archived from the original on 27 September 2014. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  24. Ascot wins its race to redevelop the course The Times, 11 June 2006
  25. Queen opens new Heathrow terminal BBC, 14 March 2008
  26. Darwin Convention Centre
  27. IAQ Handbook Archived 13 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  28. UK giant Laing O'Rourke denies ME withdrawal Construction Weekly, 10 June 2010
  29. "Equion signs major Newcastle hospital contract worth £300m". John Laing plc. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  30. What next for Laing O'Rourke? Britain's most secretive contractor Building, 5 November 2010
  31. "One Hyde Park, Knightsbridge Flats". e-architect. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  32. "'Milestone move' for PFI hospital". BBC. 19 December 2006. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  33. "New ward approved for 'shoddily built' Middlesbrough hospital". BBC. 8 May 2008. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  34. "The Contract/Project Agreement (PA)" (PDF). University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  35. Laing O’Rourke begins London Gateway dredging NCE, 17 March 2010
  36. O’Rourke to start Cheesegrater next month Construction Enquirer, 2 August 2011
  37. Laing O'Rourke/Ferrovial sign £800m Terminal 2 deal CN Plus, 15 March 2010
  38. "The Pacemaker: Inside Laing O'Rourke's fastest ever hospital". Construction News. 11 December 2014. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  39. O’Rourke wins prized £350m superlab contract Construction Enquirer, 2 March 2011
  40. O’Rourke signs £1.27bn deal for Canadian hospital Construction Enquiror, 25 February 2011
  41. "Laing O'Rourke and Ryder appointed to build £200m Dumfries Royal Infirmary". Urban Realm. 3 September 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  42. "TfL awards £300M Bond Street contract to Costain/Laing O'Rourke JV". New Civil Engineer. 4 August 2010. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  43. Aldar Al Raha Beach sees first contract Arabian Business, 16 July 2011
  44. "Glan Clwyd Hospital Redevelopment". Premier Construction News. 30 April 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  45. "Next step for Northern Line Extension". Wandsworth Council. 21 August 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  46. Garner-Purkis, Zak (26 October 2018). "Laing O'Rourke confirmed on Carillion's Royal Liverpool Hospital". Construction News. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  47. Laing O'Rourke/Bouygues lands £2bn Hinkley nuclear prize Construction News, 19 June 2012
  48. "O'Rourke starts work on £420m Brighton hospital". Construction Enquirer. 3 September 2014. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  49. "Laing O'Rourke wins £700m Brent Cross expansion". Construction News. 23 October 2017. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  50. Rogers, Dave. "Laing O'Rourke wins £250m Whiteleys job | News". Building. Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  51. "Construction blacklist compensation scheme opens". BBC News: Business. BBC. 4 July 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  52. "Scottish Affairs - Seventh Report Blacklisting in Employment: Final Report". Scottish Affairs Select Committee. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  53. "Blacklisted workers win compensation from big construction firms". The Guardian. 29 April 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  54. Prior, Grant (4 December 2017). "Unite launches new round of blacklisting legal action". Construction Enquirer. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  55. Morby, Aaron (29 April 2019). "Industry giants shamed over late payment". Construction Enquirer. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  56. Morby, Aaron (21 November 2019). "Laing O'Rourke reinstated to prompt payment code". Construction Enquirer. Retrieved 22 November 2019.

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