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Mon January 25 2021

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Tower crane activity down 50% on last year

14 Nov 12 The number of tower cranes at work in the UK has dropped to its lowest point for more than two years, according to an analysis of the Health & Safety Executive’s tower crane register.

Vinci erected this Wolff luffer in Maidstone earlier this year
Vinci erected this Wolff luffer in Maidstone earlier this year

The data, mined by law firm Pinsent Masons, show that only 413 tower cranes were erected around the UK in the first six months of 2012, which is almost half the number for the same period in 2011.

While 200 cranes have been erected in London in the first half of 2012, only 28 have been established across other major UK cities including Aberdeen (2), Birmingham (7), Edinburgh (8), Glasgow (3), Manchester (8), and Leeds (0) over the same period.

Graham Robinson, global business consultant in the infrastructure sector at Pinsent Masons, said: "People often look at the number of cranes as a barometer of the health of UK construction. If that is correct, then we should be concerned. The lack of cranes on UK skylines is symbolic of the sharp falls in new commercial and public-sector construction seen in the last year and the lack of positive UK infrastructure policy. It is also a sign that construction projects are getting smaller, forcing larger construction companies to compete for smaller projects."

Number of Tower Crane Notifications 2011-12

Location

H1 2011

H2 2011

H1 2012

National

712

702

413

London

366

377

200

Aberdeen

0

2

2

Birmingham

12

14

7

Edinburgh

12

2

8

Glasgow

21

13

3

Leeds

1

0

0

Manchester

11

2

8

Source: HSE/Pinsent Masons 

Mr Robinson added: “While the UK economy grew by 1% in the third quarter the beleaguered construction sector has continued to suffer from a falling workload with output shrinking by a further 2.6% quarter-on-quarter. This brings output in the sector, which is one of the UK's largest employment industries, down by 11.3% year-on-year with unemployment and insolvencies within the sector increasing as firms struggle with a massive drop in workload."

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