8752.0 - Building Activity, Australia, Dec 2015 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/04/2016   
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The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) collects building activity statistics to measure the level of construction of new buildings and alterations and additions to existing buildings. The statistics are compiled from returns collected from builders and other individuals and organisations engaged in building activity. The Building Activity Survey collects data relating to all stages (not yet commenced, commenced, under construction, completed) of residential and non-residential building activity undertaken in the reference quarter. Key data items published include the value of work done, value of work commenced and number of dwellings commenced. The ABS Building Approvals collection provides the frame for the survey, from which a sample of newly approved building jobs is selected each quarter for inclusion in Building Activity Survey. As well as jobs newly selected in the current quarter the Building Activity Survey includes jobs that were selected in previous quarters that have not been completed (or abandoned) by the end of the previous quarter.

To ensure building activity statistics are as accurate as possible the ABS produces revised estimates at various stages of the collection cycle. This article will outline the sources of revisions in greater detail and explain the principles that guide the timing and magnitude of revision to building activity statistics.


The major sources of revisions to building activity statistics include:

Revisions provided by respondents to previous quarter work done as a result of;

  • Provision of new/revised data.
  • Reported work done may also be altered by the ABS directly, based on confrontation with other data sources.

Identification of additional building approval records/jobs;
  • Additional approval records can be identified on advice from the approving authority itself or through large scale reviews of data from approving authorities conducted by the ABS (see next section).
  • Additional jobs may be identified through responses to the Building Activity Survey and interrogation of other (independent) data sources by the ABS.


The ABS has previously conducted large scale reviews of building approvals data by requesting that all approving authorities resubmit all approval records for a given period. The last such review was conducted in 2012 and examined all approvals data back to July 2001 (refer to the January 2013 issue of the Building Approvals, Australia (cat no. 8731.0) publication). Recently, the ABS commenced a modified review program, examining data submitted from July 2012 - June 2015. Data submitted as part of this review will be compared against the original monthly submissions from approving authorities. From this analysis, the ABS will revise previous building approval statistics which will then flow through to the building activity statistics.

The ABS intends to conduct similar reviews each year from 2016 onwards, focussing on the previous years’ submissions from each approving authority.


The following principals govern revisions to building activity statistics. Revisions are made:
  • where a job has a significant impact on the aggregate estimates in the quarter to which it contributes; or
  • where a job is one of multiple records that, as a collective, have a significant impact on the aggregate estimates to which they contribute.


Building activity statistics are published for a given reference quarter for the first time in Construction Work Done, Preliminary (cat no. 8755.0), before being updated with additional detail in Building Activity, Australia (cat no. 8752.0). Revisions made to the previous reference quarter are published in the next available release. Significant revisions made to reference quarters prior to the previous quarter are published once per year in the next March release of Construction Work Done, Preliminary (cat no. 8755.0) and updated with additional detail in Building Activity, Australia (cat no. 8752.0).

Revisions resulting from the most recent Building Approvals Annual Review will be published in the March 2016 quarter publication of Construction Work Done, Preliminary (cat no. 8755.0). Additional detail will be made available in Building Activity, Australia (cat no. 8752.0).

Subsequent impacts of revisions to building activity statistics can be seen in the National Accounts.