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Construction cranes set to reign in Vancouver

2013 shaping up to be a busy year for major construction across the region

Construction cranes set to reign in Vancouver

The Lower Mainland is getting the surest sign that B.C.'s construction industry is getting busy – more and more tower construction cranes are going up.

"Back in the 1990s we said the construction crane was B.C.'s most endangered species. Then in the global economic meltdown the crane population took a hit," said Independent Contractors and Businesses Association President Philip Hochstein. "The coming year is shaping up to be the busiest year for construction cranes in Greater Vancouver - higher even than in the pre-Olympic boom."

At the peak in November 2013, there will be 142 cranes up and running in the region - compared to the 78 ICBA counted back in 2005-06. With an average of 136 workers from the major trades working under each crane, that means more than 19,000 skilled workers will be on those sites. That amounts to just under half of the 40,000 construction trade workers in the region, the rest working on the large number of projects don't have tower cranes.

Hochstein also pointed to a recent report by Vancouver-based BTY Group looking at cost pressures in construction. That report points to cost increases of two to three per cent in B.C. in 2013 and again in 2014.

ICBA's cranes numbers only look at major trades – like plumbers and glaziers - who work on the projects. There will also be lots of work for labourers, finishing carpenters and the like. Hochstein noted that the study represents a snap shot. New projects – and cranes – have been added since the count was completed.

"There's a clear message in the crane numbers - now is the time for developers to lock in construction for any projects that are planned," Hochstein said. "Companies who fail to act now will be in a real bind - having to pay higher wages or search far and wide for the workers they need."

Chart showing number of cranes and workers by quarter

Breakdown of major trade workers by crane

Company info