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Toronto tops RLB crane index with almost a third of all North American projects

October 13, 2020  By Crane & Hoist Canada staff

Rider Levett Bucknall Crane Index Q3

Toronto – Rider Levett Bucknall Crane Index (RLB), a global real estate advisory firm, released its Q3 Crane Index. The index shows North America saw the first decline of construction cranes in years with Toronto as an exception. The city now represents a third of the index count.

What is the RLB Crane Index?

Rider Levett Bucknall’s Crane Index for North America is published biannually. It tracks the number of operating tower cranes in 14 major cities across the U.S. and Canada. The Crane Index tracks the number of fixed cranes on construction sites and gives a simplified measure of the current state of the construction industry’s workload in each location.



The Toronto crane count has increased marginally since the last survey. Residential projects continue to dominate the market. While COVID-19 does not seem to have affected the number of cranes in use, that could change next year, as high-rise residential sales have dropped 30 per cent in 2020. The work-from-home trend may also impact future commercial office tower construction.

Q3 Summary

This survey was the first decrease since the July 2017 edition of the RLB Crane Index, with the count dropping by 40 cranes. Of the 14 cities surveyed: four experienced an increase; four are holding steady; and five saw a significant decrease ranging from -27 per cent to -76 per cent. In an early response to the coronavirus, some cities imposed a pause on non-essential construction. While these bans have been lifted and projects have resumed, the pandemic induced recession is expected to have far-reaching effects.

The RLB said lenders are less likely to support large, new developments in sectors that have been significantly impacted, like sports and hospitality. The RLB says it is already seeing more competitive bidding for the fewer projects that are coming online.

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