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COVID-19 Lockdown And Value Of Building Work Put In Place For March 2020 Quarter

This page summarises the methodology we used to account for the effect of COVID-19 on building activity in the March 2020 quarter.

Value of building work put in place: March 2020 quarter will be published on 8 June 2020, with a provisional status. Figures for the March 2020 quarter may be revised when we publish statistics for the June 2020 quarter (scheduled for 4 September 2020) when more information is available.

Building activity statistics estimate the value and volume of work put in place on building projects in New Zealand. The estimates include a modelled component and a surveyed component. Each requires a different approach to account for the effects of COVID-19.

Modelled building projects (low to medium value)
Many building projects are modelled based on a historical relationship between the estimated value of building consents and the value of work put in place over time. Projects are modelled if they have an estimated value below $1.2 million (for residential buildings) or $1.9 million (for non-residential buildings). By value, about three-quarters of residential and one-quarter of non-residential building activity is modelled.

From 23 to 26 March, New Zealand transitioned from COVID-19 alert level 2 to level 4 and remained at level 4 for the final days of the quarter. Virtually no building activity could take place at level 4. To account for this, we will reduce the modelled component of building work put in place by five working days (approximately 8.2 percent).

The behaviour of projects is likely to change due to COVID-19, so we are surveying an additional sample of medium-value building projects to recalibrate the model. This will help us measure the behaviour of projects in response to COVID-19 in both the March and June quarters and may result in revisions to the March quarter when we publish statistics for the June quarter.

Surveyed building projects (high value)
Residential projects are surveyed if they have an estimated building consent value of at least $1.2 million. Non-residential projects are surveyed if they have an estimated value of at least $1.9 million.

We achieved a normal response rate in the March 2020 quarter and will use standard imputation techniques for non-responding projects.

Due to the questionnaire wording, a small proportion of responding projects did not provide a value of work put in place because they were on hold as at 31 March 2020 due to the COVID-19 lockdown. However, such projects are likely to have put work in place during most of the March quarter. Some of these projects have been treated as non-responding (with a value imputed using standard techniques). For others, we have made a careful estimate of the work put in place based on information provided in respondents’ comments. Projects have not had a value imputed or estimated if they were on hold before the lockdown. We may revise March 2020 quarter estimated values for those projects when we receive the responses for the June quarter.

The Government Statistician authorises all statistics and data we publish.

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