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Image: Building and construction work in 2011 BUILDING AND OTHER CONSTRUCTION WORK IN 2011


Introduction
Engineering Construction
How much Engineering Construction was done by local government?
Building Activity
Building Approvals
What can ABS construction statistics reveal about future activity?
Further Information


Introduction

The infrastructure to support population change was one issue highlighted in the Australian Government’s 2011 ‘Sustainable Population Strategy’ (http://www.environment.gov.au/). This article provides examples of statistics available from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) which describe the level of construction of non-residential buildings and other physical infrastructure.

Non-residential building includes commercial buildings, such as shops and offices, industrial buildings such as factories and warehouses, and other types of non-residential buildings such as schools, aged care facilities and hospitals. Engineering construction includes all fixed infrastructure other than buildings, such as roads, railways, ports, utilities, telecommunications and parks.

ABS statistics provide information on the number and value of buildings approved and the amount of work commenced, done, and yet to be done of buildings and other engineering construction.

All statistics in this article are in original, current price terms. Some of these estimates are based on survey data and contain a degree of sampling error. Some estimates of finer breakdown should be used with caution. Further information is available on the ABS website.

Engineering Construction

The Engineering Construction Survey covers non-building construction both by public sector and private sector organisations. This includes roads, bridges, railways, dams, water pipelines, and even golf courses and sports playing fields. Organisations in industries likely to undertake engineering construction activity are surveyed to collect information about the type and value of construction projects undertaken.

Statistics from Engineering Construction Activity, Australia, Sep 2012 (cat. no. 8762.0) show that there was $101,641 million of engineering construction work done in Australia in 2011. The largest value of work done was $39,800 million on oil, gas, coal and other minerals followed by $17,655 million on roads, highways and subdivisions. There was also $11,025 million of work done on electricity generation, transmission and distribution; $7,409 million of work done on railways; $5,180 million on water storage and supply; $4,431 million on telecommunications; $4,393 million on harbours; $3,518 million on sewerage and drainage; and $3,062 million on recreation.

‘Roads, highways and subdivisions’ includes parking areas, cycle paths, airport runways, pedestrian and vehicle overpasses, traffic lights, roundabouts, road drainage works, street and highway lighting, road surfacing, kerbing and guttering and road tunnels. In the states and territories, the largest value of work done on roads, highways and subdivisions was Queensland with $5,762 million, followed by New South Wales ($5,116 million) and Victoria ($2,786 million).

Graph 1 shows the value of work done in 2011 by state and territory for selected types of engineering construction. (For the states and territories, data for some construction types are presented together).
GRAPH 1. VALUE OF ENGINEERING WORK DONE, 2011
Graph: Value of engineering work done 2011

How much Engineering Construction was done by local government?

Of the $101,641 million of engineering work in Australia in 2011, $69,498 million was done by the private sector for the private sector, $16,446 million was done by the private sector for the public sector, and $15,698 million was done by the public sector.

In 2011, $4,770 million of engineering work was done by local government. In the states and territories, the largest value of work done by local government was in Queensland ($1,955 million), followed by New South Wales ($1,419 million) and the Western Australia ($593 million).

Building Activity

To determine the value of building activity, the ABS surveys a sample of approved building jobs. Builders, owners and other organisations engaged in building activity provide information about the value of building work from commencement to completion.

Statistics from Building Activity, Australia, Sep 2012 (cat. no. 8752.0) show that there was $80,843 million of work done on buildings in Australia in 2011, of which $47,744 million was residential and $33,099 million was non-residential. This included $6,859 million of work done on education buildings, $697 million on aged care facilities and $3,701 million on health buildings. Graph 2 shows the value of work done in each state and territory in 2011 for these building types.
GRAPH 2. VALUE OF BUILDING WORK DONE, 2011
Graph: Value of building work done 2011

The largest value of work done on education buildings was in Victoria ($2,073 million). The largest value of work done on aged care building was in New South Wales ($230 million), and the largest value of work done on health buildings was in Queensland ($1,255 million).

Building Approvals

Statistics about buildings approved are compiled from sources such as permits issued by local government authorities and other principal certifying authorities. These can include residential buildings (houses, flats and so on) and various types of non-residential buildings. Buildings approved generally commence construction in the months after the approval is given.

Statistics from Building Approvals, Australia, January 2013 (cat. no. 8731.0) show that there was $76,876 million of buildings approved in Australia in 2011, of which $45,406 million was residential buildings and $31,469 million was non-residential buildings. The non-residential buildings included $5,133 million of education buildings, $972 million of aged care facilities, and $4,197 million of health buildings. Graph 3 shows the value of the approvals of these three building types for each state and territory in 2011.
GRAPH 3. VALUE OF BUILDINGS APPROVED, 2011
Graph: Value of buildings approved 2011

The highest value of education buildings approved was in Victoria ($1,442 million); the highest value of aged care buildings was approved in New South Wales ($405 million); and the highest value of health buildings approved was in Queensland ($1,932 million).What can ABS construction statistics reveal about future activity?

Both the Building Activity Survey and the Engineering Construction Survey collect information about the value of construction yet to be done. This includes construction projects that have commenced but are not yet completed.

At the end of December 2011 there was $40,146 million work yet to be done on building construction, of which $21,166 million was residential and $18,980 million was non-residential. There was $136,949 million of engineering construction work yet to be done in Australia, which included $11,500 million of work on roads, highways and subdivisions, $3,633 million on water storage and supply, and $6,849 million on railways.

Further Information

For inquiries or more information about these and other construction statistics, please contact the National Information Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

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