8750.0 - Dwelling Unit Commencements, Australia, Preliminary, Dec 2007  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/03/2008   
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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, to satisfy its intended use, is the provision for regular access by persons.


A building is commenced when the first physical building activity has been performed on site in the form of materials fixed in place and/or labour expended (this includes site preparation but excludes delivery of building materials, the drawing of plans and specifications and the construction of non-building infrastructures, such as roads).

Conversions, etc.

A conversion is building activity which converts a non-residential building to a residential building, e.g. conversion of a warehouse to residential apartments. Conversion is considered to be a special type of alteration. 'Conversions, etc.' are the number of dwelling units created as part of alterations and additions to, or conversions of, existing residential or non-residential buildings and as part of the construction of non-residential building. 'Conversions, etc.' are shown separately in tables 4 to 6 and are included in the total number of dwelling units.

Dwelling unit

A dwelling unit is a self-contained suite of rooms, including cooking and bathing facilities and intended for
residential use. Units (whether self-contained or not) within buildings offering institutional care, such as hospitals, or temporary accommodation, such as motels, hostels and holiday apartments, are not defined as dwelling units.


A house is a detached building predominantly used for long-term residential purposes and consisting of only one dwelling unit. Thus, detached ‘granny flats’ and detached dwelling units (such as caretakers’ residences) associated with non-residential buildings are defined as houses for the purpose of these statistics.


Building activity which will result in the creation of a building which previously did not exist.

Number of dwelling unit commencements

For other residential building, these statistics present the number of dwelling units in such buildings (and not the number of buildings). For example, if a new building with 25 apartments is commenced, then 25 is included in the number of dwelling unit commencements under 'new other residential building'. Residential building activity involving a number of residential buildings of the same type of building and which are being built on the same site are sometimes grouped. Thus, when a project involving the construction of, say, a group of 10 houses is commenced in the sense that work has started on the first one or two houses, then all 10 houses may be counted as commencements in the statistics.

Other residential building

An other residential building is a building other than a house primarily used for long-term residential purposes and which contains (or has attached to it) more than one dwelling unit (e.g. includes blocks of flats, home units, attached townhouses, villa units, terrace houses, semidetached houses, maisonettes, duplexes, apartment buildings, etc.).

Residential building

A residential building is a building predominantly consisting of one or more dwelling units. Residential buildings can be either houses or other residential buildings.