Balfour Beatty is being tipped to land a major construction contract for the University of Sheffield.

The company is believed to be close to securing the deal to build a new engineering faculty block at the south Yorkshire institute. Balfour faces competition from the likes of BAM Construct, Bowmer & Kirkland, Interserve, Miller Construction and Sir Robert McAlpine Construction to land the job. The Construction Enquirer reported that the company is thought to be favourite to take on the project after submitting a "highly-competitive bid" which puts it ahead of the rest of the competition.

Sheffield University has already secured planning permission for the development despite some objections from the local community. The controversial plans include the demolition of the Edwardian wing of the former Jessop Hospital for Women.

It continues to face opposition as national heritage charity Save has said that it is looking to launch legal action against the local authority to ensure that the clearance job is stopped. Despite thorough searches, the university stated that the demolition was a necessity as the site was the preferred choice as it was best for the institute, the city and the region.

Should Balfour take over the contract it will represent much more positive news for both itself and the construction sector. The company saw its construction revenue in the UK drop by 23 per cent for the first quarter of the year which added to an overall decline of 11 per cent for the opening segment of 2013.

The announcement was made during an update the company made to the stock exchange in London and it came after a £50 million profit warning in April. It represented a continued downward trend in the UK with new work becoming more and more scarce for companies such as Balfour.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that there had been a drop of 2.4 per cent in construction output during the first quarter of 2013 which represented a 15-year low and worrying times for the industry.

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