Seattle outranks New York with the number of construction cranes
Amongst the construction boom in New York, with developments such as the Hudson Yards and the One Vanderbilt skyscraper, Seattle has surprisingly come out on top this summer according to a recent report, with the highest number of construction cranes currently in use. In 2016 alone, the city has had over 50 construction cranes in operation in the completion of high rise and mixed use builds, double that of densely populated cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, who are undertaking projects such as the Salesforce Tower development and Oceanwide Plaza.
The report by Rider Levett Bucknall reflects Seattle’s growing popularity and appeal, but has increased the waiting time for the vital equipment, driving up costs. This increase from 2015 will impact the affordability of homes within the region and create competition for local businesses and will dominate the skyline, but will also boost tourism and employment within the area, with the construction of new hotels, offices and residential homes.
Tim O’Neill, a Project Executive for Skanska informed the Seattle Times that developers need to plan for advance to reduce delays in construction, as the waiting time for a crane within the city is currently double the traditional expected time, “If you don’t plan ahead, you’re not going to end up with a crane”
“That will cost everybody a whole bunch of money.”
With the time for a crane to be on site, which can be up to 18 months, delays are further increased through conditional and safety checks by the supplier, who are permitted to see the vital equipment returned to undertake this necessary work, before the cranes are redistributed around the country for various construction projects to developers that need them. The construction boom has even created a large waiting list for developers, where services are taking down reservations for mid-2017.
Falling behind Seattle are Phoenix, Boston and Portland within the US with 20 cranes or under, utilised this year, but Dubai and Australia are still leading the way in the development of high rise buildings, becoming the forefront of the skyscraper boom.
Read the November 2016 issue of Construction Global magazine
HS2’s Old Oak Common station in London given go-ahead
UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has today given the go-ahead to construct the HS2 train station in Old Oak Common in London. It is said that the station will be the UK’s largest built in one stage, and will create more than 2,300 jobs.
Mr. Shapps said: “The start of permanent works at the largest train station ever built in the UK in one go, Old Oak Common, marks yet more progress in delivering HS2, the high-speed, high-capacity and low-carbon railway that will form the backbone of our national transport network. This ‘super hub’ station shows our Plan for Jobs in action – kickstarting major regeneration, creating 2,300 jobs and 250 apprenticeships in construction – and underlines this Government’s determination to build back better”.
Construction of the 32-acre site will include a 1.1-mile-long underground wall making way for six HS2 platforms. HS2 Ltd said the station aims to offer “unrivaled connectivity” with services to four crossrail platforms, four mainland platforms in South Wales, as well as platforms in the Midlands and North of England.
A notable feature of the station is its roof, which is the size of three football pitches. Mark Thurston, Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd, said: “The start of permanent works at Old Oak Common station, our first station under construction, is a significant step for phase one of HS2, as we deliver world-leading engineering to create what will arguably be one of the best-connected railway super hubs in the UK”.
The HS2 project so far
Announced in January 2009 as a government plan to construct a new high-speed railway network connecting London, the West Midlands, Leeds, and Manchester, HS2 or “High Speed 2” initially sparked criticism for its potential impact on the country’s green spaces and countryside.
With costs of over £42bn for the tracks and a further £8bn for rolling stock, the HS2 is the single most expensive project ever attempted by the British government. While the plan may have been announced over a decade ago, construction started in 2017 and is still ongoing. It is due to be completed in 2025, although the COVID-19 pandemic has almost definitely put a spanner in the works.
If the process goes according to plan, HS2 Ltd says that Phase 1, the London to Birmingham line, will open to the public in 2026, following commissioning and testing. Phase 2, which includes a route from Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester, is due to start construction the same year, with an estimated completion and operation date of 2033.