The number of cranes on Birmingham’s skyline – a barometer for construction activity – has dropped to its lowest point in more than two years.
New data shows that only seven tower crane notifications were received in the first half of 2012, compared to 14 in the second half of last year.
Infrastructure experts say the data is symbolic of the sharp falls in new commercial construction, deep cuts in capital spending being made by the public sector, and the current lack of a positive infrastructure policy.
Graham Robinson, consultant in the infrastructure sector at Pinsent Masons, said: “People often look at the number of cranes as a barometer of the health of construction in Birmingham. If that is correct, then we should be concerned.
“The lack of cranes on Birmingham’s skyline 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.”
The data comes from the number of tower crane notifications received by the Health and Safety Executive.
Mr Robinson said tower cranes are generally only required for major projects so their absence suggests construction companies are having to compete for smaller projects.
He added: “The stimulus of the Olympic Games is gone and we have to get clearer commitments from government on a whole raft of policy concerned with building the infrastructure that Britain needs.”