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Topics @ a Glance - Building and Construction Statistics
Collection Information
Engineering Construction Survey


The Engineering Construction Survey (ECS) is conducted quarterly and aims to measure the value of all engineering construction work undertaken in Australia by both private and public sector organisations. These estimates together with results from the Building Activity Survey provide a complete quarterly picture of building and construction activity in Australia.

The major users of engineering construction data are the National Accounts and Constant Price Estimates Sections of the ABS, various government organisations such as the Department of Treasury and the Reserve Bank, economic forecasting and research organisations, construction companies and construction material suppliers.


ECS aims to measure the value of all engineering construction work undertaken in Australia.

Excluded from the scope are:
  • cost of land
  • building construction: where projects included elements of both building and engineering construction, we exclude the buildings component from the data
  • repair and maintenance activity
  • value of the transfers of existing assets
  • value of installed machinery and equipment not integral to the structure
  • expenses for the relocation of utility services

Included in the scope are:
  • installation of machinery and equipment that is an integral part of a construction project, even though the activity in installing such machinery and equipment is classified to the manufacturing industry in ANZSIC

In conjunction with the above general scope rules are the following specific guidelines in determining which machinery and equipment is considered an integral part of the structure and hence included in the data:
  • Supply only projects for equipment
    Exclude: total value
  • Supply and install projects for equipment for which the appropriate treatment is not specified below
    Include: total value if the dominant part is installation costs
    Exclude: total value if the dominant part is supply and manufacture
  • Electricity generation and distribution projects
    Include: on-site assembly and erection costs
    Exclude: purchase cost of heavy electrical plant, equipment, turbines, boilers, generating sets etc.
  • Offshore drilling platforms
    Include: all costs associated with the design construction and location of offshore drilling platforms, including the cost of any equipment installed as an integral part of the platforms
  • Telecommunications networks
    Include: the full value of work done on the design and construction of telecommunications networks, including the purchase of equipment that is installed as an integral part of the network
  • Heavy Industry
    Include: on site assembly and erection costs
    Exclude: costs associated with off-site manufacture, fabrication or supply of furnaces, ovens, cargo handling equipment, chemical plants etc.
  • Machinery and equipment
    Exclude: ships, aircraft, railway and tramway rolling stock, trucks, cars an other motor vehicles, industrial machinery, office machinery, furniture, purchase cost of heavy electrical plant, turbines, boilers, furnaces, ovens

To ensure that data is not duplicated, the following reporting rules apply:
  • For private sector organisations
    Data is collected for work done on prime contract or own use only. Work done on sub-contract is excluded. A prime contract is a contract where the contractor is legally liable to the owner of the project.
  • For public sector organisations
    Data is collected for work done by their own employees only. Work done by contractors is excluded


Data classifications used in the ECS:

Variables collectedSector Performing work
Value of all new projects commenced during quarterPrivate Sector
Value of work done on all projects during quarterPublic sector
Value of work yet to be done on all projects underway
  • Commonwealth Department
at end of quarter
  • Commonwealth Authority

  • State Department
Type of Construction
  • State Authority
Roads, highways and subdivisions, airport runways
  • Local Government Authorities
BridgesTotal public sector
Railways and tramwaysTotal
Water storage and supplyMuch of the data is published using a cross
Sewerage and drainage classification of the sector performing work
Electricity generation, transmission and distribution and sector of ownership.
Pipelines (other than water)This full classification is:
Recreation By/For Sector:
TelecommunicationsBy private sector for private sector
Heavy IndustryBy private sector for public sector
  • oil, gas and other hydrocarbons
Total by private sector
  • bauxite, alumina and aluminium
By commonwealth government for private sector
  • coal and coal handling
By commonwealth government for public sector
  • other minerals
Total by commonwealth government
  • other heavy industry
By state government for private sector
Site preparation servicesBy state government for public sector
LandscapingTotal by state government
OtherBy local government for private sector
TotalBy local government for public sector

By local government
Sector of ownership:Total by public sector for private sector
Private sectorTotal by public sector for public sector
Public sectorTotal by public sector
Total for private sector
Total for public sector


    Data are released quarterly for both Australia and States and Territories.




    Data from the ECS are available in the following publications:
      Construction Work Done, Australia, Preliminary (cat. no. 8755.0)
      Engineering Construction Activity, Australia (cat. no. 8762.0).

      This is available as a publication and also on AUSSTATS on the day of the release of the publication.

      More detailed estimates are available through our Building and Construction Consultancy Services.
        For information on other related products and services visit the Product Information page.

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