Chartered Institute of Building Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Building


Ray O’Rourke hails ‘new wave of interest’ in MMC

16 December 2020

Laing O’Rourke CEO Ray O’Rourke is upbeat about the contractor’s prospects, saying covid-19 has increased interest in “the role and capabilities” of MMC on which his firm’s operating model is based.

Announcing its annual results, Laing O’Rourke revealed a strong order book and gross profit margin of 10.4% in 2020.

There was a slight decline in revenue to £3bn (down from £3.3bn) for the year to 31 March 2020, but an increase in profit before interest and tax of £72.9m (up from £47.2m the year before), despite lower volume and accounting for covid-19 impacts.

Its gross profit margin hit 10.4% during the year, up from 7.7% in 2019, and it finished the year with net cash of £155.2m.

At the year end, the contractor also had an order book of £8.2bn.

Laing O’Rourke said it had “insulated” its operations against Brexit via detailed contingency plans, with mitigation plans for talent and skills retention, labour availability, and plant and equipment imports.

Ray O’Rourke said the results were a “tribute to the hard work and dedication of our people and the leadership team guiding them”.

He said: “As we end 2020, our collective experience, coupled with a relentless focus on leading change in the sector, positions us to confidently face the post-covid, post-Brexit scenarios.

“While there are still challenges in the market, we remain committed to the changes necessary to transform our business and lead a more productive, safe and resilient construction industry.

“The past year has strengthened our resolve and the crisis has reminded policymakers of the strategic national importance of construction, creating a new wave of interest in the role and capabilities of the modern methods of construction on which our operating model is based.

“This new way of building will be vital to delivering tomorrow’s infrastructure and buildings, and to economic recovery.

“We remain grateful to government, our clients, suppliers and other stakeholders for their continued support and collaboration over the period, which bears testimony to the power of our experience.”


MMC is not new, I leant about it back in 1975 in my Polytechnic Days. The use of PC in speeding up the construction process. It’s just taken time and the entrepreneurship of the likes of Ray O’Rouke to put money behind the construction of a PC factory and then build on that. Mind you you need to ensure you have the right team behind you to programme and deliver the works not to lose the gains made by MMC.
I’ve now been in the industry since 1972 and I’ve just come across a system that can deliver you a brick envelope house in probably 60% of the standard time it takes to build in ‘normal’ brick construction house and to the highest standards of insulation. It’s not new, It was around in the late 60/70’s, just taking it’s time to get accepted as a MMC.
I am going to try and introduce the method of construction here in Surrey where I live. If it’s homes we need and the time saving in construction can be put to cheaper homes and more homes in the same time period then councils should be interested.
Ian Rochez-Maggs MCIOB

Ian Rochez-Maggs, 16 December 2020