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Rider Levett Bucknall Introduces Inaugural North American RLB Crane Index

Posted on January 21, 2015


The RLB Crane Index, published biannually, tracks the number of fixed cranes in major cities across North America. The Index provides a good indication of the current state of the construction industry’s workload in each of these locations and additional North American locations will be added in future editions. Local RLB offices count the fixed tower cranes utilizing three techniques which include physically counting the cranes appearing on each city’s skyline, surveying RLB staff and contacting crane suppliers. Crane counts for each of the above locations were initially taken on August 1, 2014 for the baseline count and again on November 1, 2014 for comparison.

The RLB Crane Index originated in RLB’s Australian practice in 2012 as a unique gauge of construction activity and has grown to include New Zealand, Southern Africa, the Middle East and North America.

As the construction industry continues to steadily recover, optimism surrounding the industry remains high as we head into 2015. Several market sectors including commercial, healthcare, hospitality and education have started to see increases, however, the residential market continues to lead the construction recovery.

Currently, residential projects in Boston, Chicago, Denver, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York and Seattle are responsible for the majority of cranes dominating the city skylines. Denver’s residential market is booming with approximately 92% of their cranes disbursed amongst residential/mixed-use residential projects. Honolulu’s residential cranes are also leading the the counts at nearly 53% while Seattle is also seeing a large increase with 50% of their cranes on residential projects.

Of the seven locations noted above, the majority of residential projects sprouting up are primarily condominium and apartment developments.
In Phoenix and San Francisco, commercial and mixed-use projects have been the largest contributors to to overall crane counts. Other market sectors contributing to crane counts include hospitality, healthcare and education.

With new construction developments emerging coupled with an increase of redevelopment, renovation and expansion projects, RLB anticipates that tower cranes across North America will continue to increase throughout 2015.

ABOUT THE RLB CRANE INDEX

Rider Levett Bucknall’s RLB Crane Index published biannually, tracks the number of cranes in major cities across North America. The count gives a simplified measure of the current state of the construction industry’s workload in each of these locations. Each RLB office counts all fixed tower cranes utilizing three techniques which include physically counting the cranes appearing on each city’s skyline, surveying RLB staff and contacting crane suppliers. Cranes are counted twice yearly, which provides the base information for the Index.