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Arup heads list of top 100 civil engineering firms as NCE100 2017 reveals the best firms to work for and with

Nce100 web image4

Arup has claimed top spot in the 2017 NCE100 rankings and the title NCE100 Company of the Year after securing an overwhelming endorsement from clients, peers and its own staff.

Arup tops a list that contains consultants and contractors of all shapes and sizes: from the biggest multi-nationals employing more than 30,000 to the smallest specialist employing less than 30.

The top 20
RankLY Company
1 3 Climber Arup
2 2 Non mover MWH Global
3 12 Climber WSP
4 4 Non mover Mott MacDonald
5 5 Non mover Arcadis
6 9 Climber JBA Consulting
7 10 Climber Westlakes
8 18 Climber Royal HaskoningDHV
9 1 Faller Opus International Consultants
10 70 Climber Bouygues*
11 7 Faller London Bridge Associates
12 15 Climber Ramboll
13 13 Non mover AKT II
14 - New Entry Laing O’Rourke
15 43 Climber HR Wallingford
16 16 Non mover Aecom*
17 - New Entry UnPS
18 8 Faller Costain
19 24 Climber hewson consulting engineers
20 33 Climber Davies Maguire

The top five is largely filled by multinationals, with MWH Global, WSP, Mott MacDonald and Arcadis taking second to fifth places respectively.

But the remainder of the top 10 is filled with a wide range of firms, with JBA Consulting taking sixth ahead of SME Westlakes and multinational Royal HaskoningDHV. Last year’s winner Opus International takes ninth place with the top 10 rounded out by the highest ranked contractor, French giant Bouygues.

The NCE100 is a totally independent, authoritative assessment of what it means to be an excellent civil engineering practice. Analysis of a comprehensive company questionnaire is combined with the scoring of our judges who have scrutinised written submissions and then interviewed business leaders from the highest performing companies. This information is then combined with the views of staff themselves – obtained from a confidential survey of almost 6,500 engineers working for NCE100 companies.

The assessment is made against New Civil Engineer’s five core pillars; the competencies and passions sought in outstanding firms: technical excellence; technology leadership; talent development; action on equality and global leadership. Sitting on top of that is an assessment of a key behaviour sought in civil engineering today: collaboration.

Arup stood clear of its rivals when it comes to collaboration, with more peers and clients participating in the NCE100 citing Arup as a company they enjoyed working with than anyone else.

And this clear satisfaction level extended to its staff, with 96% of those taking part in the NCE100 survey agreeing that Arup was “great” and that they had no desire to work anywhere else.

By way of explanation, Arup’s submission said that despite being a firm of over 13,000 people its values still reflect founder Ove Arup’s cultural aspirations outlined during his 1970 key speech; “an inclusive company that operates with integrity and supports individuals to flourish”.

Competition to enter the NCE100 was fierce this year, with 26 new entries causing a number of firms to fail to make the 100 at all.

Highest new entry is Laing O’Rourke at 14. Other notable new entries include BDP, Carillion, Fluor and Amec Foster Wheeler.

Biggest mover was Bouygues, up 60 places to 10. Other big movers included HR Wallingford, up 28 to 15, Mouchel (now part of WSP), up 46 to 23, Interserve, up 49 to 28, Hydrock, up 48 to 33, RSK up 49 to 35, Sweco, up 50 to 46 and Raymond Brown, up 36 to 50.

The NCE100 rankings were unveiled at a gala dinner in London, alongside announcement of the NCE100 Awards. The NCE100 Awards are made to companies demonstrating excellence in specific areas within the core competencies that form the NCE100 assessment.

Full list of NCE100 Awards winners

NCE100 Company of the Year


Diversity Champion


Best Place to Work

MWH Global

Contribution to the Profession Award


Talent Champion

MWH Global

Technology Trailblazer

Laing O’Rourke

Technology Champion

M J Rooney Construction

Global Firm of the Year


International Impact

Mott MacDonald

Technical Excellence Award

Davies Maguire

Low Carbon Leader

Mott MacDonald

Collaborative Firm of the Year


Clients’ Choice Award

London Bridge Associates

Client of the Year

Network Rail

Company to Watch – Editor’s Choice


SME of the Year


Big winners on the night were MWH Global who claimed both Talent Champion for its Cradle to Sage Talent Development Initiative and the Best Place to Work award for its Passionate about My Workplace, Passionate about My Work initiative.

Mott MacDonald were also double winners, claiming the title Low Carbon Leader for its PAS2080 leadership and the International Impact Award for the way its redevelopment of Adelaide Oval serves as a benchmark for future stadiums worldwide.

Other winners included contractors Laing O’Rourke, Interserve and MJ Rooney Construction and specialists London Bridge Associates, Davies Maguire and AKTII.

The NCE100 Awards are judged via scrutiny of written submissions and face to face interviews with representatives from the 50-strong NCE100 judging panel, of which the majority are senior representatives of client bodies. The results of the awards are fed back into the overall NCE100 assessment process.

Surveys were carried out between December 2016 and March 2017. Judging took place in May.

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