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Definition: Building permits: square metres of useful floor area or alternative size measure (Index)

Short-term statistics

2006 definition

It is the objective of the useful floor area building permit index to show the future development of construction activity in terms of volume.

A building permit is an authorisation to start work on a building project. As such a permit is the final stage of planning and building authorisations from public authorities, prior to the start of work.

An index based on these permits should provide a good indication of the workload for the building industry in the near future, although this may not be the case when a large proportion of permits are not used or when there is a long time lag between permits and building starts.

This index is compiled from the square metre of useful floor area of buildings for which permits have been granted. The useful floor area of a building (1) is measured within its external walls, excluding:

- construction areas (e.g. areas of demarcation components, supports, columns, pillars, shafts, chimneys),
- functional areas for ancillary use (e.g. areas occupied by heating and air-conditioning installations, or by power generators),
- thoroughfares (e.g. areas of stairwells, lifts, escalators).

The part of the overall useful area of a building used for residential purposes includes the area used for kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms and ancillary rooms, cellars and common rooms used by the owners of the residential units.

Other measures may be used as long as they are unambiguously and consistently used by the Member States as allowed by Regulation (EC) No 1165/98, Annex B, (c1).

Regulation (EC) No 1165/98 refers to the CC classification in requesting data about building permits for different categories of buildings. The category "other buildings" of Regulation (EC) No 1165/98 includes the following categories in the CC classification:

- hotels and similar buildings,
- wholesale and retail trade buildings,
- traffic and communication buildings,
- industrial buildings and warehouses,
- public entertainment, education, hospital or institutional care buildings,
- other non-residential buildings.


(1) The definition of useful floor area is aligned with the Classification of Types of Construction which itself refers to the Statistical Standards and Studies, No 40 United Nations, New York 1987, and Statistical Standards and Studies, No 43 United Nations, New York 1994. Regulation (EC) No 588/2001 of 26 March 2001 concerning short-term statistics
European Union, Commission Regulation (EC) No 1503/2006 of 28 September 2006 implementing and amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1165/98 concerning short-term statistics as regards definitions of variables, list of variables and frequency of data compilation