Melburnians can expect to see fewer cranes in the sky next year as commercial projects are shelved and builders struggle to maintain their usual volume of work.

About three-quarters of Victorian commercial builders in a survey of 200 said they had lost work in the past three months after mooted projects were shelved because clients could not get finance.

The survey by the Master Builders Association coincides with reports of construction companies cutting their margins to offer more competitive prices in order to shore up work.

The Age