ENR California/Northwest Top Contractors: Mixed Reports From West Coast Firms

As the industry navigated post-pandemic supply chain issues and a tight labor market in 2021, top contractors in the Western states registered mixed financial results. While the largest contractors in California were generally flat to down, contractors in the Pacific Northwest garnered solid revenue gains.

On ENR California’s Top Contractors 2022 rankings, 2021 revenue in California and Hawaii for the top 10 contractors tallied a total of $18.02 billion—down 1.8% from the previous year. Six of the top 10 contractors saw revenue that was unchanged or lower in 2021.

Meanwhile, the ENR Northwest Top Contractor list for 2022, which ranks firms based on 2021 revenue from Oregon, Washington and Alaska, shows that the 10 largest contractors registered a combined $8.76 billion in revenue—up an impressive 19.5% from their 2020 totals. Skanska, which retains the top spot in the rankings, remained statistically flat, while GLY Construction saw regional revenue drop 7.3%.

Despite a 7.5% regional revenue drop from last year’s ENR California survey, Swinerton maintained its long-held spot at the top of the rankings. Eric Foster, chief executive officer at Swinerton, says the company pivoted during the pandemic from markets such as commercial office to affordable housing and life sciences.

“We’ve held a steady 14-month backlog,” Foster says. “Typically in changing economies, the targets can change a little bit, but overall this economy seems to still be very strong.”

Foster adds that he expects health care to remain robust for the foreseeable future and that higher education is back at a strong pace after a pause during the pandemic. As a company that tends to avoid megaprojects and focuses on jobs that are $200 million and below, Foster notes that projects on shorter schedules continue to struggle with supply chain issues. “It can take 36 weeks to get solid wood doors right now, and that’s longer than some small projects take,” he says.