Rider Levett Bucknall Counting Cranes as Market Indicator

Residential construction of condominium and apartment projects are leading the U.S. construction industry, according to a new economic index that takes into account the number of tower cranes being operated in major cities across North America.

Compiled by cost research firm Rider Levett Bucknall, the North American RLB Crane Index suggests that large-scale residential projects in Boston, Chicago, Denver, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York City and Seattle are responsible for the majority of cranes populating city skylines. "We expect that this growth—which includes redevelopment, renovation and expansion projects—will continue to increase throughout 2015," says Julian Anderson, president of RLB North America.

Record Number of High-Rises Completed Construction in 2014

In 2014, contractors the world over completed construction of 97 buildings at least 200 meters tall, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. The previous record, set in 2011, was 81 completions. Of these, 11 supertalls, defined by CTBUH as 300 m or taller, finished up last year. Since 2010, builders have completed 46 supertalls. There are 935 buildings 200 m or taller in the world. This is a 352% increase since 2000, when there were only 266.At 541 m, the tallest building to open last year was One World Trade Center.

Meanwhile, Suffolk Construction began work this month on a 213-m-tall hotel in Boston. If finished in 2017, it would rank as the city's third-tallest, after the 241-m Hancock Place and the 229-m Prudential Tower.