Cranes hit record numbers across Auckland skyline

May 12, 2016.

Cranes hit record numbers across Auckland skyline

Rider Levett Bucknall’s Q2 2016 RLB Crane Index® released today highlights the strength of the Auckland construction industry, which shows no signs of weakening.

The RLB Crane Index® tracks the number of cranes in significant centres of mainland New Zealand. The crane count provides a good, simple indication of new building activity as well as general economic activity in each of these locations.

A record 47 cranes currently tower across Auckland’s skyline since the RLB Crane Index® started in Q2 2014. During the past 6 months, 33 new tower cranes have been erected, while 19 have been dismantled, as site work on construction projects came to an end. That’s a net increase of 14 cranes since the 33 cranes of Q4 2015.

Chris Haines, Director of RLB in Auckland said, ‘The construction industry in Auckland is now stretching the supply chain across the North Island. There remains a resource and supply concern, with the likely increase in the future workload with the New Zealand National Convention Centre and City Rail Link now under way, and the redevelopment of Commercial Bay at the Downtown shopping centre starting soon.’

Mr Haines said that as a way of coping with this high level of contractor demand, we are seeing an increasingly active Australian contingent of main contractors and subcontractors working in the Auckland market, which in turn is putting pressure on the Aussie supply chain.

With the release of the 5th edition, RLB has started indexing crane activity across

New Zealand. This indexing enables the historical crane activity in all key cities to be graphically represented. The 3rd edition of the RLB Crane Index® (Q2 2014) has been used as the reference date for the calculation of the index.

The RLB Crane Index® shows that since this period, Auckland has seen a crane

activity increase of 88%, Christchurch 36% and Wellington showing 50%. Crane activity in New Zealand as a whole increased by 38% during this period.

Mr Haines continued, ‘The Q2 2016 RLB Crane Index® identified a total of 98 cranes currently erected across New Zealand, an increase of 19 or 24% since Q4 2015. Auckland accounted for 14 of the additional cranes in New Zealand.’

‘A total of 62 cranes have been commissioned since our last Crane Index, with 43 removed across the country. Auckland and Christchurch account for over 78% of New Zealand cranes. Hamilton, Queenstown and Tauranga all showed crane numbers increasing, with Dunedin and Wellington steady,’ he added.

According to the Q2 2016 RLB Crane Index®, the strength of the residential sector across New Zealand is seen by the addition of 12 cranes. This increase represents 63% of new cranes observed. The residential sector now accounts for 35% of all cranes working in New Zealand, up from 28%.

The commercial sector accounts for 42% of all cranes, down from 51%. Commercial projects have 41 cranes, slightly down from 40 at the last Crane Index. The Education and Civil sectors are the next largest, with eight and six cranes respectively.

As a new initiative, the RLB Crane Index® hotspots map offers a pictorial representation of the collected data for each city, using a heat map indicator to show the level of crane activity.

The size of hotspot is relative to the scale of the map, and is not an indication of the crane count in that position. The map uses purple to indicate a lower crane activity, and the brighter yellow insert to indicate higher crane activity.

The location of the hotspots are indicative only, and have been positioned to convey the general spread of cranes within a city. The levels of intensity are calculated on a map by map basis, and should not be compared between different cities.

Image courtesy The New Zealand Herald/


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About RLB

With a network that covers the globe and a heritage spanning over two centuries, Rider Levett Bucknall is a leading independent organisation in cost management and quantity surveying, project management and advisory services.

Our achievements are renowned: from the early days of pioneering quantity surveying, to landmark projects such as the Sydney Opera House, HSBC Headquarters Building in Hong Kong, the 2012 London Olympic Games and CityCenter in Las Vegas.

We continue this successful legacy with our dedication to the value, quality and sustainability of the built environment. Our innovative thinking, global reach, and flawless execution push the boundaries. Taking ambitious projects from an idea to reality.