Central Dublin cranes total up 7% on August figure

Skyline figure understates level of construction activity as sector recovers, says CIF

Irish crane companies are operating at 75 to 80 per cent capacity, according to the Construction Industry Federation. Photograph: Alan Betson

Irish crane companies are operating at 75 to 80 per cent capacity, according to the Construction Industry Federation. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Forty-six construction cranes were visible over the centre of Dublin on September 1st from the seventh floor of the Irish Times building on Tara Street.

This is an increase of three – or 7 per cent – on the previous month’s total of 43. Ten cranes were located north of the river Liffey – up three on last month – while the remaining 36, unchanged from the August 1st total, were concentrated in the south docklands and along the Grand Canal.

However, Seán Downey, director of specialist contracting at the Construction Industry Federation, said that while the number of visible tower cranes was a good indicator of construction activity, the industry believed it “understates the true level of building activity in the city”.

Mobile cranes

“There are perhaps three mobile cranes operating ‘under the radar’, so to speak, for every large visible tower crane on the Dublin skyline. These mobile cranes are working on other commercial industrial and commercial construction projects,” he said.

Mr Downey also pointed out that Irish crane companies are operating at 75 to 80 per cent capacity. “Having anticipated the upturn in the construction activity, Irish crane companies have already procured new cranes and have adequate plant to meet demand forecast. With billion-euro construction projects for companies such as Bristol-Myers Squibb, Alexion, Facebook and Google coming online, Irish crane companies are reporting more activity and see a pipeline of work in the medium term,” he said.

South docklands schemes

This month should see even more building work starting in the south docklands as the Bolands Quay scheme on the former Bolands Mills site at Grand Canal Dock is due to enter the construction phase.

Opposite the Bolands Quay site, at Grand Canal Quay, Jones Engineering is demolishing its two-storey headquarters at Waterways House, which is to be replaced by a €30 million seven-storey office block with 3,530sq m (38,000sq ft) of floor area. The new block’s tilted glass front will extend over Grand Canal Basin and include a waterside boardwalk.

Construction is also set to start at the high-end residential scheme on the site of the former Berkeley Court Hotel in Ballsbridge, where Chartered Land plans to build about 200 apartments in a pavilion-style development on Lansdowne Road.

With the economy expected to continue its recovery this year and a number of significant developments due to enter the construction phase shortly, it’s likely the number of cranes on Dublin’s skyline will increase.

The Irish Times will be conducting a crane survey once a month to track construction levels in the city.