Crane Spotting: Sydney Construction Falls While Melbourne Peaks


Melbourne construction continues to surge with an increase of cranes standing across its CBD and suburbs reaching a peak of 222, a 40 per cent rise since March last year.

In contrast, Sydney’s residential sector has recorded a slight 10 per cent decline, down to 310 cranes across the same period.

Based on the idea that cranes in the sky reflect major project construction, the Rider Levett Bucknall Crane Index tracks the number of tower cranes to indicate the strength of the construction sector in cities.

Melbourne’s crane numbers reached beyond 200 for the first time chiefly driven by the addition of new cranes on existing large development sites, according to the latest index.

Melbourne’s largest building site, M-City in Clayton recently went from two cranes to six, RLB said.

Malaysian developer OSK Property’s $2.8 billion Melbourne Square currently has four cranes onsite and Lendlease’s Melbourne Quarter has five.

The residential sector continues to dominate the Melbourne skyline with 148 cranes across 69 suburbs.

Related: Crown Group Partners with Boutique Developer on Melbourne Towers

Engineering work jumped 30 per cent as activity ramps up on a number of key infrastructure projects.

The residential and non-residential building sectors increased by 9.1 per cent and 9.5 per cent, respectively.

Related: Building Construction Shrinking at a ‘Concerning Rate’

OSK Property appointed Multiplex to deliver stage one of its $2.8 billion Melbourne Square development, in Southbank.
OSK Property appointed Multiplex to deliver stage one of its $2.8 billion Melbourne Square development, in Southbank.

NSW construction continues to grow

Sydney’s residential sector has recorded a 10 per cent decline, down to 310 cranes since this time in 2018.

“Despite the small drop in cranes, NSW construction work continued to grow, recording an increase of 9 per cent in chain volume terms for calendar year 2018,” RLB said.

Twelve new civil cranes were erected in St Peters for WestConnex and two in North Sydney for the Sydney Metro project, while ten cranes were removed from projects in Ashfield, Balmoral, Bella Vista, Hornsby, Kingsgrove, North Sydney and Pendle Hill.

Residential cranes in Sydney now account for 44 per cent of residential cranes nationally and 74 per cent of all cranes in Sydney.

Engineering work increased 12 per cent, while non-residential work increased by 8.9 per cent.

Sydney still leads overall crane count

Crane Count
Gold Coast32
Sunshine Coast 10
Newcastle 6

Despite the slight drop in cranes, Sydney continues to lead the nation's crane count.

Of the 735 cranes across Australia, this number unchanged from last year, Sydney is home to 310.

While Australia’s record 735 long-term cranes from the previous edition remains unchanged, RLB’s Domenic Schiafone says strong resilience is being seen in many markets and sectors across Australia.

“But the future commencement of many developments could be affected by the current economic conditions impacting the property industry, such as tightening finance availability, falling foreign investment and general market confidence,” he said.

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