The biannual Urban Melbourne crane census - July 2014

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The biannual Urban Melbourne crane census - July 2014

It's time once more to take the pulse of Melbourne's development scene, with another installment of the Urban Melbourne Crane Census. Akin to the RLB Crane Index, the Urban Melbourne version assesses the location of tower cranes throughout metropolitan Melbourne as opposed to the RLB Crane Index which concentrates on Melbourne's inner suburbs, hence providing a more comprehensive report of what is being built and where.

By pooling varied resources and conducting a physical count, we believe the census to be accurate to within 1-2 units.

By the numbers: The Urban Melbourne crane census

Locality All Residential Commercial Health/Institutional
Melbourne CBD 14 10 4 -
Melbourne LGA / Docklands 12 7 4 1
Melbourne Southbank 5 5 - -
Melbourne Carlton/Parkville 8 3 - 5
Port Phillip 5 4 - 1
Stonnington 16 13 1 2
Boroondara 6 3 3 -
Yarra 15 13 - 2
Manningham / Whitehorse 7 6 1 -
North & West 8 6 2 -
South & East 11 5 5 1
Total 107 (100%) 75 (70%) 20 (19%) 12 (11%)


  • Ten tower cranes currently on health related projects with five alone for the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre.
  • The equivalent count last year saw residential projects account for 67% or tower cranes in use.
  • The current figure has increased to 70% as tower cranes become more common on smaller scale residential projects, and is expected to continue growing.
  • Commercial tower crane use has risen marginally from 17% to 20% over the equivalent period.
  • The breadth of tower crane placement has never been greater, from Tullamarine to Ringwood to Frankston.
The biannual Urban Melbourne crane census - July 2014
The most recent arrival, Caelli's lifter for Probuild's Eastland redevelopment

All in the timing

Melbourne's large crane count is a reflection of the success of relatively new tower crane operator, Clark Cranes. This half yearly census shows that in excess of 20 Raimondi tower cranes with Clark Cranes' blue and yellow trim are distributed throughout greater Melbourne, with only two of their tower cranes found within City of Melbourne.

Having been a mobile crane operator for some time, Clark Cranes evidently read the tea leaves perfectly and entered the tower crane hire market a few short years ago at a point when low and mid-rise residential projects were proliferating throughout greater Melbourne. The niche service they provide in smaller scale tower cranes for predominantly residential projects has clearly resonated with many of Melbourne's smaller builders.

The biannual Urban Melbourne crane census - July 2014
A typical Clark Cranes project - Blu Apartments Edithvale

Looking ahead

As has been the norm for some years there's no shortage of upcoming projects warranting tower cranes of all sizes. Over the months to come hubs of construction such as Doncaster, Box Hill and Fitzroy can expect additional cranes while Clayton can expect a potential count of 5-7 tower cranes by year's end due to imminent residential, education and health projects.

Within the CBD a number of cranes will continue their upward journey while a batch of new cranes will grace the cities skies for large-scale projects such as Light House, Victoria One Melbourne and 35 Spring Street. This new wave will emerge into the new year, just in time for the next Urban Melbourne crane count.

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