REPORT: RLB Anticipates the Effect of Coronavirus on the Construction Industry

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  • REPORT: RLB Anticipates the Effect of Coronavirus on the Construction Industry
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Cathy Sewell

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While total crane count holds steady, turbulent economic conditions indicate a recession-based drop in construction costs

“The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had a sudden and ongoing effect on the economy,” said Julian Anderson, FRICS, President of RLB North America. “We expect, given the impact the virus is having on financial markets, that there is a good chance it will trigger a recession, which will eventually drive construction costs down as contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers compete to win the reduced number of projects in development.”

Q1 2020 survey mark the fifth consecutive increase in crane counts

Of the fourteen cities surveyed (including the addition of Las Vegas), five experienced an increase in their respective crane counts.  Five had a decrease in counts while the remaining three hold steady.  Given the impact that COVID-19 is having on financial markets, and the economy as a whole, there is a chance that this pandemic will drive a recession which will have an impact on future crane counts.

Current construction projects may also be affected due to shutdowns, or workers not reporting to job sites for a variety of reasons including illness, illness of family members, or even fear of taking public transport.

Click here for the latest edition of the North American RLB Crane Index.

About the North American RLB Crane Index

Rider Levett Bucknall’s North American RLB Crane Index® is published biquarterly and currently tracks the number of cranes in use in 14 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, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, and Washington, D.C.