Building boom spawns crane surge
Auckland is the country's construction hot spot, with 64 cranes counted in Rider Levett Bucknall's latest Crane Index.
Christchurch slipped well back in second place, with 25 cranes counted since the last survey three months ago.
RLB director Chris Haines said the situation had evolved since the data was collected at the end of September - particularly with the latest earthquakes damaging Wellington buildings.
The number of cranes in Wellington increased from nine to 11 over the quarter, but Haines expected it to increase following earthquake damage to some buildings.
Across the country, residential developments including apartments account for more than a third of the total 117 cranes (up 19), and commercial development 28 per cent, Haines said.
In Auckland, the number of cranes doubled this year. Residential apartment developments accounted just over half of them, in the Wynyard quarer, ANZAC Ave and other areas around the central city.
Haines compared Auckland's score with the US and said it was higher than 11 major cities there including New York at 28.
Fifteen of Christchurch's 25 cranes had been taken down since the last RLB Index report, and replaced by the same number on other commercial, civic and educational developments.
Haines said it reflected the completion of many Christchurch post-earthquake rebuild projects.
Residential work in Christchurch was falling away and civic and educational work continued to grow, but unlike Auckland there was not a significant pipeline of work for coming months in Christchurch.
Since 2012 Auckland has seen a rise of nearly 80 per cent in total work put in place, the majority of it for residential work.
Other centres like Hamilton and Queenstown had fewer cranes - six and seven respectively - but Queenstown construction work had ramped up recently.
The crane index largely reflects the number of building consents issued.