Australian Bureau of Statistics

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Topics @ a Glance - Building and Construction Statistics
Collection Information
Building Approvals

The monthly Building Approvals (BAPS) collection collects data relating to residential and non-residential building work above certain value limits that has been approved within the reference month. Data from this collection provides timely estimates of future building activity and is an important leading economic indicator. It also provides the sampling framework for the quarterly Building Activity Survey, which is a major contributor to the quarterly National Accounts estimates.


Building Approval statistics are used extensively by both public and private sector organisations to monitor Australian building approval numbers (and values). Major national users in the public sector include the Departments of Industry, Science and Resources, the Treasury, Social Security and the Reserve Bank, who use the statistics to monitor this key sector of the economy and to develop policy proposals for their respective Ministers and the Cabinet. Similar use is also made of the data by State Government Departments and Authorities. Building Approval statistics are viewed by economic analysts and commentators as a leading indicator of the general level of economic activity, employment and investment.

In the private sector, almost every major manufacturer or supplier of building materials uses the statistics to assist in making decisions on such issues as planning of future production, location of warehousing and other distribution facilities, and in the preparation of future marketing strategies. Market consultants and private individuals researching the economic, social and financial aspects of Australian housing also use monthly building approvals statistics as important inputs to much of their work.


    The collection is a census of all approved building jobs above the value limits outlined below and comprises the following activities:

    • construction of new buildings
    • alterations and additions to existing buildings
    • approved non-structural renovation and refurbishment work
    • approved installation of integral building fixtures.

    From July 1990 the statistics include:
    • all approved residential building jobs (new and alterations and additions) valued at $10,000 or more;
    • all approved non-residential building jobs (new and alterations and additions) valued at $50,000 or more.

    Value data are derived by aggregation of the estimated value of building work when completed, as reported on approval documents. This value excludes the value of land and landscaping but includes site preparation.

    Construction activity not defined as building (eg, construction of roads, bridges, railways, earthworks, etc) is excluded from the collection. Statistics for this activity can be found in Engineering Construction Activity, Australia (cat. no. 8762.0).


    New dwelling approvals are coded to Census Collection District. Non-residential buildings are coded to Statistical Local Area (SLA). However formatted address information is stored and very detailed spatial information is potentially available.

      Australia: Monthly


      Data from the BAPS are available in the following publications

      Building Approvals, Australia (cat. no. 8731.0) - issued monthly

      More detailed estimates are available through our Building and Construction Consultancy Services.

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