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28 September 2023
Australia’s construction industry is on an exhilarating journey marked by a remarkable surge in crane activity, according to the latest data. This exciting development, led by vibrant cities like Sydney, the Gold Coast, and the Sunshine Coast, has seen an impressive addition of 46 new cranes to various projects over the past six months, as reported by Rider Levett Bucknall’s biannual RLB Crane Index.
Domenic Schiafone, Director of Research and Development at Rider Levett Bucknall Oceania, describes the past six months as a period of tremendous growth in crane numbers across the country. “During this time, we’ve seen the addition of 303 new cranes to various projects, with 257 being removed from buildings nearing completion,” he noted. The total number of cranes now gracing our major regions has surged to a historic high of 882, marking an impressive 5.5 percent increase since the last publication.
This surge in crane activity beautifully aligns with national construction activity trends, which have seen a remarkable 1.8 percent increase, equivalent to $3.9 billion, in the 2022 calendar year compared to 2021. The momentum has continued into the first quarter of 2023, with a phenomenal 3.9 percent rise, translating to $2.1 billion year-on-year.
Sydney shines as the undeniable epicenter of this construction renaissance, boasting an impressive 401 cranes and making history as the first Australian city to achieve this milestone. The city’s skyline is graced by an array of exciting projects, including One Sydney Harbour, Westconnex, Western Sydney Airport, Mason & Main Merrylands, and Vicinti & Destination.
Residential construction is experiencing a remarkable boom, reaching a record high of 554 cranes. Simultaneously, the non-residential sector is making significant strides, with 328 cranes now dedicated to these inspiring developments. The non-residential sector accounts for a substantial 37 percent of crane activity, underscoring its vital role in the industry’s growth.
Amidst this euphoria, it’s worth noting that the construction industry is experiencing not just growth but also a transformation. Strong demand for state-backed infrastructure projects, particularly in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, is propelling these cities to new heights. Government-driven infrastructure projects have witnessed an impressive 900 basis-point increase in their share of construction activity, now comprising a substantial 6.3 percent of crane usage.
In Melbourne, for instance, a net increase of six civil cranes can be attributed to infrastructure initiatives such as the Westgate Tunnel project, the level crossing removal project, and the Metro Tunnel project. Although this growth in civil cranes has led to a slight decrease in the overall crane count in Melbourne, this shift is seen as part of the city’s evolution.
Sydney, in contrast, continues to witness robust residential crane activity, with a net increase of 27 cranes. Brisbane, the Gold Coast, and the Sunshine Coast also experienced growth in residential crane numbers, adding to the overall optimism in the industry.
In conclusion, the construction industry in Australia is experiencing an exhilarating era of growth, characterised by soaring crane activity and a wealth of exciting projects. This positive momentum is not just transforming skylines but also driving economic prosperity and job creation. As we celebrate these achievements, we look forward to a bright and inspiring future for the construction industry Down Under.