Sydney tops the crane index

Sydney tops the crane index

1 November 2019

According to the Rider Levett Bucknall Q3 2019 RLB Crane Index, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane’s inner-city cranes have risen from 44% to 48% over the past six months, highlighting the movement of cranes from suburban to inner-city areas.

Domenic Schiafone, RLB’s Oceania Director of Research and Development said “The ongoing changes in government’s infrastructure spending and planning schemes is evident as the location of cranes gravitate along key city transportation corridors and activity centres.”

The 15th edition of the RLB Crane Index found that Melbourne’s total crane count has contracted for the first time in three years, with a decrease of 9 net cranes since the previous edition six months ago. Across Melbourne, 94 cranes were added to projects and 104 were removed, to reach a total of 213.
Sydney meanwhile, at 319 cranes, offset these losses by increasing by a similar number (9) since the RLB Crane Index March 2019 edition.

According to the RLB Crane Index, there were no cities recording crane falls in the double digits, a sign that the industry has not yet entered into the economic cycle of falling demand as predicted by some.

The residential sector suffered the most number of removals with a loss of nineteen cranes, but offsetting these losses were new cranes erected within the commercial (85), civil (37) and mixed-use sectors.

Looking around the country, Sydney continues to be the main driver of the crane count. There are 757 cranes across Australia: Sydney (319), Melbourne (213), Brisbane (57), Perth (34), Gold Coast (29), Canberra (25), Adelaide (19), Wollongong (18), Sunshine Coast (11), Newcastle (12), Hobart (5) and Darwin (1). The Sydney index rebounded from its previous three falls to record a 3% rise for this edition.

“Visually, cranes across Sydney appear to be following the significant spend on transport infrastructure in the past five years creating defined lines of activity. These are north along the Pacific Highway, west along Parramatta Road, northeast along the M2 and south along the Kingsway- and this is having a significant influence in the delivery of housing stock across Sydney,” said Mr Schiafone.

Residential cranes still dominate the city with 73% of all cranes assisting in the construction of future dwellings. Commercial cranes are the only other sector to have more than a 10% share of current cranes at 14%. No retail, mixed use or civic cranes were recorded for this edition.

There has been a significant shift of cranes across Sydney this edition. Activity has moved from the north to the east and inner Sydney. The South and the West have remained steady. Across the city, inner Sydney recorded a net crane gain of 12. This is a 10% increase for the six months.

Melbourne recorded its first fall in six editions, falling by 3.6% to 184. It was the first fall since Q3 2016. Across Melbourne 94 cranes were added to projects and 103 were removed, bringing current crane numbers to 213 down from the record 222 cranes achieved six months ago.

Solidifying the current strength of Victoria’s construction industry, construction work done rose 4.4% in chain volume terms for FY 2019, with increases recorded for all sectors. Engineering work done rose 3.3% as activity ramps up on many key infrastructure projects. The building sector increased 4.9%.