Crane Index: Toronto is still home to the most cranes in North America

A tower crane on a jobsite

Toronto has once again topped the Rider Levett Bucknall’s (RLB) biannual Crane Index.

As of the first quarter of 2023, Toronto was home to 238 tower cranes on jobsites throughout the city.  

Toronto’s overall crane count increased by eight cranes throughout the last six months. RLB noted that while 31 project have completed, 37 new projects are now underway since the last Crane Index.

The most significant increase in cranes by project type is residential, with an increase of 13 cranes for a total of 139 cranes on residential jobsites, as well as 33 cranes active on mixed use projects.

Cranes on commercial projects dropped by six cranes to 35, while education (7), government (1), healthcare (2), hospitality (10), industrial (1), public/civic (6) and transportation (4) account for the remaining cranes in RLB’s index.

Cranes in Calgary

In Calgary, the crane count fell by a single crane, compared to the previous report, for a total of 20 cranes.

According to the crane index, despite skilled labour shortages, high material costs and limited availability of supplies and equipment, Calgary continues to flourish, and considerable investments have been made in the city’s future.

Although Calgary is predicted to see a more balanced housing market in 2023, it is still investing in infrastructure to make these places “development ready” for more than 190,000 people.

As well, a $500 million expansion to the BMO Centre is underway.

Of the 14 cities included in the crane index, Seattle, Washington recording the second highest number of tower cranes with 51, an increase of 21 per cent since the last report.

The remaining cities included in the Crane Index include:

  • Boston: 9
  • Chicago: 14
  • Denver: 36
  • Honolulu: 14
  • Las Vegas: 12
  • Los Angeles: 47
  • New York: 10
  • Phoenix: 9
  • Portland: 14
  • San Francisco: 17
  • Washington DC: 26

The top three sectors across all cities included in the Crane Index are Residential (51 per cent), mixed-use (22 per cent) and commercial (12 per cent).

Overall, the survey reports an increase of 7.04 per cent (34 cranes) from the third quarter 2022 edition of the RLB Crane Index.

Of the 14 cities surveyed, eight recorded a crane increase, while two cities noted fewer cranes and four held similar numbers.

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Despite continued workforce challenges and economic uncertainties are still concerns for the coming year, RLB notes new projects continue to break ground within the 14-key markets. This indicates that investments are continuing to be made into the cities.

Notwithstanding concerns for the housing market, residential and mixed-use projects make up 73 per cent of the overall crane count. RLB anticipates the number of cranes to remain high into 2023.