Building Approvals

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    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

    The monthly Building Approvals (BAPS) collection collects data relating to residential and non-residential building work above certain value limits that have been approved within the reference month. Data from this collection is an important leading economic indicator of future building activity. 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 economic activity, employment and investment.

    Statistics of building work approved are compiled from:

        • permits issued by local government authorities and other principal certifying authorities;
        • contracts let or day labour work authorised by Commonwealth, State, semi-government and local government authorities; and
        • major building approvals in areas not subject to normal administrative approval activity eg. building on remote mine sites.
    The scope of the collection comprises the following:
        • construction of new buildings;
        • alterations and additions to existing buildings;
        • approved non-structural renovation and refurbishment work; and
        • approved installation of integral building fixtures.
    Construction activity not defined as building (eg, construction of roads, bridges, railways, earthworks, etc) are excluded. Statistics for this activity can be found in Engineering Construction Activity, Australia (ABS Cat No. 8762.0).

    The coverage of these statistics has changed over time:
        • From July 1990, the statistics include all approved residential building valued at $10,000 or more and all approved non-residential building valued at $50,000 or more.
        • From July 1988 to June 1990, the statistics include all approved residential building valued at $10,000 or more and all approved non-residential building valued at $30,000 or more.
        • From July 1975 to June 1988, the statistics include all approved residential and non-residential building valued at $10,000 or more.
        • Up to June 1975, the statistics include all approved new building, and alterations and additions involving a structural change or floor area expansion.


    Conceptual framework
    The monthly Building Approvals collection gathers data on a monthly basis relating to the number and value of residential and non-residential building approvals, from information provided by approving authorities. Data collected are available as part of the normal administrative building approval process, and are generally readily available from the relevant local government or other approving authority.

    The collection is a census of all approved building jobs. A 'building job' is a construction project comprising work to one or more buildings. Building job data are based on the building approval records within the scope of the collection received each month.

    For the purposes of this collection, a building is a rigid, fixed and permanent structure which has a roof. Its intended purpose is primarily to house people, plant, machinery, vehicles, goods or livestock. An integral feature of a building's design is the provision for regular access by persons in order to satisfy its intended use.

    The information provided to the ABS and included in estimates for any month may be revised or corrected in later months. This can occur as a result of corrections made by a provider of data, the late provision of approval records and, occasionally, by approvals being identified after construction work has commenced.

    The ABS generally accepts values provided by approving bodies. Every effort is made to ensure data are provided on a consistent basis, however, there may be instances where the value reported does not reflect the building completion value. For example, the reported value for most project homes is the contract price, which may include the cost of site preparation and landscaping. In other cases where a builder is contracted to construct a dwelling based on the owner's plans, the value may only be the builder's costs. Some data providers do not use the value on approval documents, instead deriving a value based on floor area and type of structure.

    From July 2000, value data includes the Goods and Services Tax (GST) for residential and non-residential building approvals.

    Main outputs
    Publications Available
    Building Approvals, Australia (ABS Cat No. 8731.0) - issued monthly. The publication is released approximately 22 working days after the reference month.

    Contents of Publications
    The publications contain monthly information on the number of dwelling units and value of new residential buildings (houses and other residential), for private and public sector, value of alterations and additions to residential buildings and value of non-residential building by class of building (eg, hotels, offices, etc.) approved. They also contain seasonally adjusted and trend estimates for the number of dwelling units and value of building approved, as well as quarterly values of building approved in chain volume measures, with the reference year being the year prior to the latest complete financial year.

    AusStats (Website)
    Data (with the exception of small area data) are available on AusStats at the time of release of the publication.

    Data Cubes
    Datacubes for small areas are available from the ABS website for each of the states/territories. Statistical Local Area (SLA) information is available from 2001-02 to 2011-12, and Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2) information from 2011-12 onwards. Due to significant conceptual differences between SLA and SA2, the estimation of Local Government Areas (LGAs) is not possible using SA2s. Consequently data cubes at the LGA level will be produced independently of SA2 outputs from 2012-13.

      Classifications used for published data:

      Type of Building
      Type of Building is the building's intended predominant function according to the ABS Functional Classification of Buildings 1999 (cat. no. 1268.0.55.001).
        • Except where specified in the Functional Classification of Buildings, a building which is ancillary to other buildings, or forms a part of a group of related buildings, is classified to the function of the building and not to the function of the group as a whole. For example, in the case of a factory complex, a detached administration building would be classified to Offices, a detached cafeteria building to Retail/wholesale trade, while factory buildings would be classified to Factories. An exception to this rule is the treatment of group accommodation buildings where, for example, a student accommodation building on a university campus would be classified to Educational.
        • For a significant multi-function building which at the time of approval is intended to have more than one purpose (e.g. a hotel/shops/casino project), the ABS endeavours to split the approval details according to each main function. Where this is not possible because separate details cannot be obtained, the building is classified to the predominant function of the building.
      Type of Work
      Type of Work consists of 'new', 'alterations and additions', and 'conversions'. Conversions are considered to be a special type of alteration, and these jobs have been separately identified as such from the July 1996 reference month, though they have only appeared separately in this publication from the January 1998 issue. Prior to that issue, conversions were published as part of the 'Conversions, etc.' category or included elsewhere within a table.

      Sector of Ownership
      Building ownership is classified as either public or private sector and is based on the sector of the intended owner of the completed building at the time of approval. Residential buildings constructed by private sector builders under government housing authority schemes are classified as public sector when the authority has contracted, or intends to contract, to purchase the building on or before completion.

      Geographic Classification
      Building approvals are classified to the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC), 2011 Edition (cat. no. 1216.0.15.001) and Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS), 2011 Edition (cat. no. 1270.0.55.001) effective from July 2011. Building approvals before July 2011 were classified according to the current edition of the ASGC at that time, and are presented in this publication unrevised, in the original geographical area that applied at the time of approval. From July 2012 onwards building approvals will be classified to the ASGS only - for more information see the Feature Article: Implementation of the Australian Statistical Geography Standard in ABS Building Approvals Collection in the April 2011 issue of Building Approvals, Australia (cat. no. 8731.0).

        Other concepts (summary)
          Refer to the Explanatory Notes and Glossary, Building Approvals, Australia (cat. no. 8731.0).

        New South Wales
        South Australia
        Western Australia
        Northern Territory
        Legal Local Government Area
        Other (specify below)

        Comments and/or Other Regions
        Additional geography
        To June 2012
        Statistical Division
        Statistical Subdivision
        Statistical Local Area

        July 2011 onwards
        Greater Capital City Statistical Area
        Statistical Area Level 2

        From 1 July 2002, approvals in the Territories of Jervis Bay, Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands are included in these statistics. Jervis Bay is included in New South Wales, while Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands are included in Western Australia. This differs to their treatment in the ASGC and ASGS, where these Territories are included in 'Other Territories'.


          Frequency comments
          Data for building approvals is collected on a calendar month basis.

          From the October 2003 issue, Building Approvals Australia (cat. no. 8731.0) was expanded to include the state and territory data series of interest to most users.

          For Victoria, from and including the April 1997 issue of Building Approvals, Victoria (ABS Cat No. 8731.2), the ABS used data supplied from the Building Commission (BC) as its primary source of building approval data, including that approved by private building surveyors (who commenced operating from July 1994).

          From and including the July 2000 cycle, all approving authorities were asked to report the Value of Approval inclusive of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) for all approvals (residential and non-residential) granted from July 2000. However, it is possible that not all approving authorities necessarily reported on a GST inclusive basis commencing July 2000 and it is likely that there was a GST component included in the value of approvals for the 6 months or more leading up to July 2000. For more details, see the Technical Note "Factors that influence the valuation of building approvals" in the July 2000 issue of Building Approvals, Australia.

          From and including the July 2000 cycle the Type of Building was dual coded to both the 1986 and 1999 "Functional Classification of Buildings" (FCB). Data on the 1999 FCB basis for 2000-2001 was first published in the July 2001 issue of Building Approvals, Australia. Data on the 1986 FCB was last published in the January 2008 issue of Building Approvals, Australia.


          Data availability comments
          As well as the statistics included in Building Approvals (cat. no. 8731.0) and related publications, the ABS may have other relevant data available on request.

          A list of data items available on an information consultancy basis from July 2011 is provided on the "Downloads" tab of the April 2011 issue of the Building Approvals, Australia (cat. no. 8731.0) publication on the ABS website under Data Cubes, 'Building Approvals: Data items available by Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS).' Included are available data items by Statistical Area 2 (SA2), Local Government Area (LGA), and Greater Capital City Statistical Area (GCCSA), State and Australia.

          A charge will be made for providing unpublished information via an information consultancy. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

          20/07/2017 07:56 PM