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Tower crane utilisation remains solid

According to the Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) Q3 2019 Crane Index, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane’s inner-city cranes have risen from 44 to 48 per cent over the past six months.

The RLB Crane Index has maintained its level of 173 (excluding Wollongong‘s inclusion) for the past three editions which is in line with the FY 2019 lift of 4.9 per cent in building work done across the country. Both residential and non-residential work done rose by 1.3 and 12.2 per cent respectively on a chain volume measure.

There were no cities within the index that recorded 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.

During the past six months 416 cranes were erected on sites around Australia, representing 54 per cent of all cranes in the current count. One hundred per cent of cranes removed from completed developments were placed back into the industry on new developments.

The residential sector suffered the greatest number of removals with a loss of nineteen cranes, but off-setting these losses were new cranes erected within the commercial and mixed-use sectors.

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Rider Levett Bucknall Oceania director of research and development, Domenic Schiafone, said the ongoing changes in government infrastructure spending and planning schemes is evident as the location of cranes gravitate along key transportation-corridors and activity centres.

“Crane numbers in Sydney increased by 9 to 319, up from 310 previously. What is key is that 189 cranes were added to sites around Sydney indicating a strong forward workflow for the next 12 months. 180 cranes were removed from completed developments in the past 6 months,” Schiafone said.

Melbourne suffered its first fall in crane numbers (nine) for six editions of the index over the last three years. Sydney offset these losses by increasing by a similar number.

The index now welcomes a new region into the count, Wollongong. The index reflects the addition of Wollongong by highlighting the impact Wollongong crane numbers has on the index as a whole.

This edition highlights a movement of crane numbers from the outer suburbs of the three largest index cities, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Inner city crane numbers over the past six months have risen from 44 to 48 per cent currently.

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. This is most evident in Sydney along the Pacific Highway and the Dandenong rail corridor in Melbourne.

The RLB Crane Index has maintained its level at 173 for the past three editions. With the addition of Wollongong for this publication, their cranes have caused the index to rise to 178 (shown in red).

The residential index across the country has also maintained its level above the 160 mark. Wollongong residential cranes (in red) have made an impact with the full index falling to 166 in lieu of 164 on a like for like basis to the previous edition.

Strong growth in non-residential sectors has seen the index rise to its highest level since commencement. The rise of 11 per cent on a like for like basis has resulted from commercial, mixed use and civil crane commencements across the country.

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