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Implementing classification and other changes to building consent statistics

This paper provides information on classification and other changes to building consent statistics from March 2015. 

Read the paper online, or download or print the PDF and table from the 'Available files' box. If you have problems viewing the files, see opening files and PDFs.

On 23 April 2015 we made two changes to this paper:

ISBN 978-0-478-42968-8 (online)
Updated 23 April 2015 

    Why we’re making changes

    Here’s why we’re making changes to building consent statistics. 

    • The updated building type classification is more relevant to current New Zealand dwellings and other buildings than those in the 16-year-old-classification we are using.
    • New dwelling trends by region will give a better picture of changes below the national level.
    • The data most users want will be easier to find within two new time-series families.
    • Our data coding and processing will be more efficient and robust as we are now using software designed for multiple economic outputs.
    • ‘Value of building work put in place’ statistics will adopt the updated building type classification, making it consistent with building consent statistics.

    The changes will apply from Building Consents Issued: March 2015 to be released on 30 April.

    Overview of changes

    Classification changes:

    • use building type 2014, which updates the 1998 classification
    • use institutional sector and related control classifications, which update the 1990 classification.

    Other changes:

    • add trend series for the number of new dwellings in four regions and two aggregated regions
    • provide more detailed data for Auckland, replacing the seven former territorial authorities with 13 wards
    • reorganise the time-series data – add four new ‘families’ and discontinue eight
    • review seasonal adjustment methodology to improve quality
    • use an automated process to determine building type, nature, and new dwelling count where possible, with less human editing
    • code institutional sector and control automatically from the Statistics NZ Business Register where possible, and impute where not

     

    2014 building type classification updates 1998 version

    The 2014 building type classification better reflects the current types of dwellings in New Zealand (eg townhouses, apartments, and dwelling units within retirement villages). Stand-alone houses are more clearly separated from all other types of dwellings. For non-residential buildings, a few building types are reorganised to other categories, allowing us to discontinue the ‘miscellaneous buildings’ category.

    Here are the main changes for residential buildings.

    • ‘Houses’ replace ‘non-apartment dwellings’, and only include stand-alone houses. Previously, the non-apartment dwellings series included some consents for apartments, townhouses, and retirement village units with 1–9 units.
    • ‘Apartments’ is split into three dwelling types: ‘apartments’, ‘retirement village units’, and ‘townhouses, flats, units, and other dwellings’.
    • Apartments, townhouses, and retirement village units are no longer limited to consents with 10 or more units.

    For non-residential buildings, the main change is that the ‘miscellaneous buildings’ series will be discontinued. Consents previously included in miscellaneous buildings will be reclassified among other categories. No other series are discontinued.

    Other non-residential building types are also reclassified to more meaningful categories (eg medical centre is now under ‘hospitals, nursing homes, and other health buildings’ – previously it was under ‘offices and administration buildings’).

    Building categories from March 2015

    Here are the building categories we will use in building consent statistics from March 2015.

    Residential buildings

    • dwelling units
      • houses
      • apartments
      • retirement village units
      • townhouses, flats, units, and other dwellings.
    • domestic outbuildings.

    Non-residential buildings

    • hostels, boarding houses, and prisons
    • hotels, motels, and other short-term accommodation
    • hospitals, nursing homes, and other health buildings
    • education buildings
    • social, cultural, and religious buildings
    • shops, restaurants, and bars
    • office, administration, and public transport buildings
    • storage buildings
    • factories and industrial buildings
    • farm buildings.

    Non-building construction

    • non-building construction.

    All construction

    • all construction is the sum of residential buildings, non-residential buildings, and non-building construction.

    All buildings

    • all buildings is the sum of residential and non-residential buildings.

    See Building type classification 2014 for further detail.

    Description of building categories

    This section provides descriptions of the 2014 building categories.

    Residential buildings

    Houses: house not attached to others.

    Apartments: apartments, excluding those in retirement villages.

    Retirement village units: villa, townhouse, apartment, or other dwelling within a retirement village, including those owned through a license to occupy. Excludes care apartments.

    Townhouses, flats, units, and other dwellings: granny flat, minor dwelling

    Domestic outbuildings: sleepout (not fully self-contained), carport, garage, garden shed.

    Non-residential buildings

    Hostels, boarding houses, and prisons: children's home, workers’ quarters.

    Hospitals, nursing homes, and other health buildings: retirement village (excluding units), medical laboratory.

    Education buildings: school, polytechnic, university.

    Social, cultural, and religious buildings: sports facility, museum, library, cinema, funeral parlour.

    Shops, restaurants, and bars: café, retail outlet, service station.

    Office, administration, and public transport buildings: police station, postal centre, bank, rail station.

    Storage buildings: warehouse, cool store, wharf sheds, parking building.

    Factories and industrial buildings: sawmill, freezing works, workshop, hangar.

    Farm buildings: milking shed, hay barn, implement shed, fattening unit.

    Non-building construction

    Non-building construction: retaining wall, road, bridge, sign, and wharf .

    Building category changes in building consent statistics

    This section outlines changes in building consent statistics due to the new building type classification.

    Residential buildings: total value is unchanged.

    Within new dwellings: the number and value of the sum of apartments, townhouses and units will be higher than for the old apartments series, as it will now include consents with one–nine units, not just 10 or more. The series for houses, previously non-apartment dwellings, will be lower as a result of this change.

    Building nature of dwellings: the value of dwelling alterations and additions will decrease while the value of new dwellings will increase, as we are able to more accurately record the value of each consent stage of larger building projects. This change will not affect either the number or floor area of new dwellings.

    Non-residential buildings: total value is almost unchanged.

    Note: the following value changes reflect which building types are included in categories, not changes in the number or value of consents for certain building types.

    Non-residential building categories that will increase: 

    • hospitals, nursing homes, and other health buildings
    • education buildings 
    • storage buildings 
    • factories, industrial, and storage buildings.

    Non-residential building categories that will decrease: 

    • social, cultural, and religious buildings 
    • office, administration, and public transport buildings.

    Non-residential building categories that will not noticeably change:

    • hostels, boarding houses, and prisons 
    • hotels, motels, and other short-term accommodation 
    • shops, restaurants, and bars 
    • farm buildings.

    Non-residential building categories that are discontinued: 

    • miscellaneous buildings.

    Non-building construction: total value is unchanged.

    All construction: total value is unchanged.

     

    Building nature: unchanged. Data series are available for new buildings, altered, and new plus altered.

    New buildings: new construction, and includes conversions. For example, if a hotel is converted to apartments, the value of work is classified to new dwellings.

    Alterations and additions: includes building repairs, alterations, additions, extensions, strengthening, re-cladding, and relocation to another site.

    Other changes

    This section describes the building consent statistics sources and methods, new and discontinued time-series families, and added regional trend series for new dwellings.

    How building type, building nature, and new dwelling count is determined

    Building consents is administrative data supplied, in various file formats, by all territorial authorities in New Zealand. Data comprises the value, floor area (for new buildings), job description, and owner name. The building type, building nature, and number of new dwelling units are all determined from the job description.

    From March 2015, building type, building nature, and the new dwelling count and are all automatically classified using the key words and numbers in the job description, along with the consent value. We remove duplicates and erroneous records, and check higher value and unusual consents to validate data. Previously, we manually coded each building consent.

    Institutional sector and control

    Building consents are also classified for institutional sector and control. For companies and other organisations, we obtain these codes from the Statistics NZ Business Register. Institutional sector and control are imputed for private individuals and organisations not matched to the Business Register.

    Limitations of building consents data

    We put considerable effort into producing quality building consent statistics. Before we compile and release data, we validate and correct errors. The focus of these checks is to authenticate building consents data by building type, nature, new dwelling count, and value for publication at the national level. The data is published quickly, at the end of the month following the reference month, and is available for small geographic areas. Care should be taken in using building consents data for individual building types at small geographic areas, as it may contain errors and omissions that are not significant at the national level and we may not have detected during our editing processes.

    Seasonally adjusted new houses and region trends

    Seasonally adjusted and trend series for the number of new houses replace series for new non-apartment dwellings.

    We are also adding trend series for the number of new dwellings consented in the following regions and aggregated regions:

    • Auckland 
    • Waikato 
    • Wellington 
    • Rest of North Island (North Island excluding Auckland, Waikato, and Wellington) 
    • Canterbury 
    • Rest of South Island (South Island excluding Canterbury).

    Seasonal adjustment methodology

    Simultaneous with introducing classification and other changes, we also reviewed the seasonal adjustment methodology for building consents. Even where the underlying data is unchanged, the seasonally adjusted series may be subject to revision, in order to improve the quality of the seasonal adjustment. This does not change the underlying economic story.

    For most time series, changes will be backdated to 1995, applied in Building Consents Issued: April 2015, published on 29 May.

    Time series

    We created four new time-series families and discontinued eight. We backdated all new time series to April 1990, or to April 1965 for many national series.

    The four new time-series families are: 

    1. building consents by region 
    2. building consents by territorial authority and selected wards 
    3. building consents by institutional control 
    4. building consents by institutional sector.

    The key data series are in the first two new families.

     
    1. Building consents by region: 

    • region – 16 regions plus aggregated regions including North Island, South Island, and New Zealand 
    • building type 
    • nature – new, altered, or new plus altered 
    • number, value, and floor area (number is populated for new dwellings only, and floor area is populated for new buildings only) 
    • series type – actual (replaces unadjusted), seasonally adjusted and trend (seasonally adjusted and trend series are populated for some combinations of region, building type, and nature) 
    • monthly, quarterly, and annual.

    2. Building consents by territorial authority and selected wards: 

    • territorial authority and 13 wards in Auckland 
    • building type 
    • nature 
    • number, value, and floor area
    • monthly and quarterly.

    The third and fourth new series families, institutional control and institutional sector, are for specialist users.

    Two existing series that will be maintained: 

    • non-residential buildings $25 million and over 
    • non-residential buildings $50 million and over.

    Discontinued time series families: 

    • dwellings by institutional sector: number and value 
    • number and value by building type, New Zealand level 
    • number, value, and floor area by building type, nature, and region
    • number, value, and floor area by building type, nature, and territorial authority
    • seasonally adjusted number of dwellings (government and total)
    • seasonally adjusted numbers
    • seasonally adjusted value of building consents
    • value by building type by institutional sector.

    See BLD most-used time-series concordance – table in the 'Available files' box for further detail.

    Why we’re changing the series

    Two of the four new time-series families contain the most widely used building consents data. Series are much easier to find, instead of being spread across several families.

    For example, three series on the number of new dwellings are now all in the building consents by region family, but were previously in three separate families: 

    • number of new dwellings – previously in 'number, value and floor area by building type, nature and region'
    • seasonally adjusted number of new dwellings – previously in ‘seasonally adjusted number of dwellings (government and total)'
    • new apartments, townhouses, units, and other dwellings – nearest equivalent series for new apartments, previously in ‘number, value, and floor area by building type, nature and territorial authority'.

    For technical information contact:
    Mark Darbyshire or Danielle Barwick
    Christchurch 03 964 8700
    Email: info@stats.govt.nz

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