Soaring residential sector leads steady growth in construction industry, says new RLB Index

  • Insights
  • Soaring residential sector leads steady growth in construction industry, says new RLB Index
About this article
Taryn Harbert


Taryn Harbert


Market Research
Market Insights

Sign Up for Market Trends & Insights


Residential sector leads growth, commercial and mixed use also show increases

According to the new issue of the Index, the residential market – specifically high-rise condominium and apartment developments – will continue to lead growth in the overall industry throughout 2015. Commercial and mixed-use developments are also contributing to crane activity.

“Our findings indicate that residential developments are driving high-rise construction activity with a significant lead over other project types,” states Julian Anderson, president of Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) in North America. “While commercial and mixed-use projects are also showing increases, collectively, we are seeing over 50% more cranes working on residential projects than those working on projects in all of the other sectors combined.”

The North American RLB Crane Index identifies Boston, Calgary, Chicago, Denver, Honolulu, New York, San Francisco, and Toronto as having 50% to 83% of cranes on major residential developments, followed by commercial and mixed-use projects. The Index further reports that:

  • Toronto leads the count with 83% of cranes dedicated to high-rise condominium projects
  • New York’s 70 cranes are dedicated to high-rise luxury residential and mixed-use developments in Manhattan. Nearly 5,377 new condominiums will be available in 2015, citing Corcoran as a source
  • Los Angeles’ increase of 11 cranes over the past six months is dominated by mixed-use (21 cranes) and condominium/apartment projects (18 cranes)
  • Washington, D.C., shows 31 cranes in its skyline, an increase of five over the past few months, with 58% of them on residential and mixed-use developments
  • Mixed-use and commercial developments are also contributing to crane counts in Phoenix, Portland, and Seattle

RLB’s local offices gather data and information for the Index via surveys and other collection methods, including physically counting all fixed cranes appearing on each city’s skyline. This count is performed twice yearly and provides the baseline data for the Index.

About the North America RLB Crane Index

Rider Levett Bucknall’s North American RLB Crane Index is published biannually and currently tracks the number of cranes in use in 13 major cities across the U.S. and Canada. Unlike other industry barometers that track cost and other financial data, the Crane Index tracks the number of fixed cranes on construction sites and gives a simplified measure of the current state of the construction industry’s workload in each location. Index cities include Boston, Calgary, Chicago, Denver, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, and Washington, D.C.