RLB Crane Index® shows construction boom not over yet

September 27, 2017.

RLB Crane Index® shows construction boom not over yet

Rider Levett Bucknall’s Q4 2017 RLB Crane Index® released today shows that the construction boom is far from over.

Stephen Ballesty, the Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) Director of Research & Development said, ‘Our latest Crane Index has shown both an increase in Australia’s total number of cranes over the past six months to 685, and also a crane count increase in every key city across Australia (except Darwin and Canberra). Contrary to popular belief, the boom is not dead yet!’

Now in its 11th edition, the bi-annual RLB Crane Index® was created as a simple indicator of building activity and the general health of our construction markets.

Construction sector lifts index to record level

Stephen added, ‘The continuing strength of the construction sector within Australia is reflected in a 4% lift in the RLB Crane Index® to a record level of 161. For the first time, RLB has created both an Australian residential and non-residential crane index to complement the overall index, which reflects the movement in crane numbers over time in these key sectors of the overall construction market.’

Non-residential more volatile

The non-residential index shows more volatility, but still highlights a positive trend. The index currently stands at 111 up from 101 in Q2 2016. These sectors are more volatile to large fluctuations in crane starts due to the smaller investor base for new developments and traditionally a single purpose use.

A stable non-residential sector is important to the industry as a whole, as it showcases new investment and confidence in both government spending on social infrastructure assets, and the private sector’s spend on long-term investments.

Of the 685 cranes standing tall across Australia, 350 were in Sydney, 151 in Melbourne, 85 across Brisbane, 31 in the Gold Coast, 25 in Perth, 18 in Canberra, 17 in Adelaide, 5 in Newcastle, 3 in Hobart, with 0 in Darwin.

Less high-rises in Sydney and Melbourne CBDs

Stephen continued, ‘The two most buoyant markets of Sydney and Melbourne have seen a huge decentralisation of multi-level developments taking place. There are now 109 Sydney suburbs and 54 Melbourne suburbs with cranes, whilst other cities’ high-rise developments are focused in the CBD area.’

Residential crane numbers soaring across Sydney

Residential cranes soared to 298 around Sydney, which amount to 43% of total cranes erected within Australia and 54% of all cranes supporting the residential sector in Australia. 109 suburbs in Sydney have residential cranes erected. The spread of cranes, highlighted in the heat maps within this edition, showcase the construction activity along the main northern, western and southern corridors of Sydney.

Sydney suburbs which currently have the most cranes include: Epping-16; Wolli Creek – 13; Parramatta – 10; Burwood-9; Mascot – 8; Homebush, Lane Cove, Lewisham and Zetland- all 7; Leichardt, Surry Hills – both 6; Ashfield, Auburn, Flemington, Meadowbank, Mosman, Ryde and Waterloo – all 5.

A new high for Melbourne

Cranes across Melbourne now number 151, a new high, up from 146 in the previous edition, a net gain of 5 cranes. 88 cranes were added and 83 removed from sites.

Since our last index six months ago, there has been a move of cranes from the south to the east and west, highlighting the growth of higher density residential projects within these regions.

Commercial projects showed a small gain of one crane with 31 cranes on projects across Australia. This sector currently accounts for 5% of all cranes in Australia.

Mr Ballesty concluded, ‘The residential, hotel, civil, education and other/mixed use sectors all are showing strong growth in crane numbers with the remaining sectors all showing small losses since the last index.’

RLB Crane Index Q4 2017

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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.