Despite the challenges presented to us in 2020, the thirst for building activity is trending positive for Victoria, particularly for regional Victorian areas.  As I seek some construction work for my own property, my thoughts for how busy the industry could be soon led to the discovery of the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) published statistics on building permit activity across the state.  Published monthly, the statistics provide a count of the building permits approved across Victoria and the reported costs of works associated with them.

Now to the interactive visualisation, which you can find embedded below.  I find geographical data is always interesting to play with and has many applications for discovery and spatial segmentation.  The raw building activity data already provided regional breakdowns, however I found these inconsistent with the post codes of the building sites, thus decided to create a spatial join with the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Statistical Area Level 4 (SA4), which provides a nice level of aggregation to explore, i.e. enough data but not too much for each defined area.

What’s more, some trends in the building activity were quickly observable.  The data loaded into the viz dates back to January 2019 (There appeared to be incomplete data in the last part of the 2018 set), so the visualisation compares each month of 2020 against its corresponding month of 2019.  Orange is chosen as our ‘hot’ colour and grey as ‘cold’, with the colour coded to represent the % change for the comparison.

What’s striking is that regional Victoria has had a comparatively strong year in building permit activity.  This is particularly observable over late winter and spring (bad news for me as I search for a builder, but great for the construction industry).

However, the city is showing a stark contrast to the regions with building activity well down in Inner Melbourne.  After a non-surprisingly sluggish winter, the eastern suburbs are beginning to show growth again, while the north and west of Melbourne have managed to grow in activity throughout most of the pandemic.


melbourne building permits data

The trend of building permits issued for Inner Melbourne in 2020 against 2019.

Now it’s your turn to take the visualisation for a drive.  The analysis I’ve provided is a very high overview, based simply on the number of permits approved for all building categories across Victoria.  This is the best aspect of interactive visualisations when we create in Tableau, in that you can take the driver’s seat and explore your areas of most interest.

Use the filters to change the Works Classification and the Comparison Metric.  Perhaps you’re interested in the spend on hospital building in your region?  The month filter is provided via a slider to quickly skip between the months and visualise the change in growth for regions throughout the state.  There’s also a handy tooltip which will provide the entire year’s summary for each region should you hover over it.  Need help?  There’s a video below the visualisation that will take you through the navigation steps.  Lastly, Perceptive Data can visualise almost any data source, contact us here.  Questions to

Need help driving the visualisation?  View the video below for assistance.