He was the grandson of Sir Robert who founded the civil engineering and building contractor in 1869.
Malcolm is the second senior figure from the generation who laid the foundations for modern day contracting to pass away this year, after Sir Frank Lampl, honorary vice president of Bovis Lend Lease, died aged 84 last month.
Like the McAlpine family-owned company, he avoided the limelight but worked hard to fight for construction’s corner in Whitehall over many years.
“Malcolm was a straight-talking, no nonsense and quite modest guy,” said one contracting boss.
James Wates, deputy chairman of Wates Group, said: “He was a huge friend and support to me around the broader industry.
“Malcolm was a committed and very passionate man about construction and always made sure people knew what a great industry it is.”
He was a very active member of the CBI construction group and UK Contractors Group until just a few months ago.
Stephen Ratcliffe, chief executive of the UK Contractors Group, said: “Malcolm was passionate about the construction industry and a great advocate for us.
“He was an energetic member of UKCG and I personally benefited enormously from his wise counsel and enormous experience.
“He will be sadly missed by his many friends at UKCG.”
A former employee at McAlpine said: “There will be huge sadness in the family but it will also be business as usual at Sir Robert McAlpine.
“It’s very much a family-run partnership so there are unlikely to be any big changes.”
Around six family members hold key positions in the firm. They are: David, Callum, Andrew, Edward, Hector and Gavin.