RLB Survey Shows Crane Count is Down More than 20% in Denver

International property and construction consultancy firm Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) has released its latest Crane Index and quarterly Construction Cost Report (QCR). The two documents provide an eye-opening perspective on the North American construction industry in 14 key markets, including Denver.

The beginning of 2024 shows a continued downward trend in cranes counts, as many projects approach completion at a slower rate than new projects are breaking ground. Majority of the cranes continue to be stationed at residential or mixed-use projects, making up 73% of the overall count. This survey reports a decrease of 9% (43 cranes) from the Q3 2023 edition of the RLB Crane Index. More notably, cranes are down 18% from the same time last year (a difference of 94 cranes).

Crane Index notes:

  • Calgary, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles have seen an increase in crane counts.
  • Honolulu, Phoenix, Seattle, and Toronto are holding steady in their crane counts.
  • Cities with a decrease of more than 20% include Boston, Chicago, Denver, New York City, Portland, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.

Quarterly Construction Cost Report (QCR) notes:

  • The U.S. quarterly national average increase in construction cost is approximately 1.29 percent, compared to 5.85 percent year-over-year (5.49% in Denver).
  • The construction unemployment rate is holding steady at 4.4 percent as compared to the same period last year.
  • The Architectural Billings Index (ABI) in February was 49.5, suggesting that the recent slowdown may be receding and up from the previous month’s score of 46.2.

“After the past few years of economic uncertainty, I am cautiously optimistic about the construction industry in 2024,” says Paul Brussow, president of RLB North America. “Despite having reached extremely high peaks, prices for construction materials are finally on a downward trajectory. While the growth of privately funded projects may be soft, public funding for manufacturing and infrastructure projects will help drive industry growth.”

To read the complete QCR report click here.

View the Crane Index here

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