He will succeed his cousin Gavin McAlpine who took up the post three years ago and is now stepping down to focus on the group’s renewable energy business where he is chairman.
Aged 40, Ed McAlpine has served 18 years with Sir Robert McAlpine as an executive partner.
In addition to providing the executive board with guidance and oversight, he will continue to develop strong partnerships with clients.
During his three-year tenure, Gavin guided the business through a transformative period, overseeing the introduction of a new strategy, the appointment of a new chief executive, and a return to profitability.
Paul Hamer, chief executive of Sir Robert McAlpine, said: “We are delighted that Ed will be taking on the role of chairman at what is a very exciting time for the company.
“Ed has been a highly valued member of the executive board for many years; his chairmanship will provide continuity for the business and allow us to build on the strong relationship we already enjoy as we work together to deliver our new strategy.”