Catalogue description Department of the Environment and Successors: Housing Data and Statistics Division: House Building Enquiry Datasets (annual and monthly data) (P2; P2A and P2M)

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Details of AT 86
Reference: AT 86
Title: Department of the Environment and Successors: Housing Data and Statistics Division: House Building Enquiry Datasets (annual and monthly data) (P2; P2A and P2M)

The House Building Inquiry dataset contains monthly and quarterly data collected by various housing statistics sections of the (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) ODPM and its predecessor departments relating to house building. The purpose of the House Building return was to collect information about new dwellings from Local Authorities' Building Control Departments. The return measured starts and completions of all construction jobs. The data was organised by tenure of the property (private sector, Registered Social Landlords, Local Authority).

This information was combined with parallel data collected from the National House Building Council (NHBC), and thus used to provide estimates of all new house building activity in the local authority area. Figures for each authority were added to others to give regional and national house building figures. The NHBC provided monthly data to the Department in respect of the dwellings that they inspected for Building Control purposes, and they provided listings by site to every local authority district in England.

This was key information for the Government and the media. House building starts were considered to be a key indicator of economic conditions generally, and about the construction industry and housing market in particular. The data was provided as part of the brief for the Monetary Policy Committee. Completions showed how the demand was being met and how they added to the nation's stock.

The data related to new permanent dwellings only; that is, dwellings which were expected to maintain their stability indefinitely. The data was collected using the monthly P2 and P2M forms for the period January 1980 - March 2003. After April 2003, the P2Q form replaced the P2M form. NHBC's return remained monthly, despite this change.

This dataset covers the period January 1980 to March 2005. It holds detailed P2 monthly return data for January 1980 - March 1998; reduced P2M monthly return data for April 1998 - March 2003; and P2 quarterly return data for June 2003 - March 2005.

The datasets in this series are available to download. Links to individual datasets can be found at piece level.

Date: 1980-2005

Details of the original hardware, user interface, and Operating System are not known.

Application Software: Data was held in a SQL Server database.

Logical structure and schema: The House Building Inquiry snapshot was originally held on a large ODPM database system. It is understood that this system contained a wide range of data on housing, possibly including returns from other related surveys (for example, the Renovation Grants and Group Repair Schemes Activity data, catalogued as AT 68).

In originally preparing the snapshot for transfer to NDAD, the Department created and ran a filter query to extract only that data that was relevant to this P2 survey. The structure of the dataset as transferred reflects this filtering action, comprising one main data table (subsequently split into two tables by NDAD), and three smaller filter tables.

Validation performed after transfer: Initially some validation was attempted by NDAD using the live tables of House Building data published by the Department on its website. However, not all the totals could be reconciled, suggesting that the live tables were compiled using additional factors and queries not supplied in this dataset. Given that the dataset as transferred is a subset of a larger database system, this is plausible. Since the Department were not able to confirm this, NDAD took the view that comparison with the live tables would not be a reliable validation method.

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Former reference in its original department: P2; P2A and P2M
Former reference in The National Archives: CRDA/54
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, Housing Data and Statistics, 1997-

Physical description: 2 datasets and documentation
Restrictions on use: The House Building Inquiry dataset and related dataset documentation are Crown Copyright; copies may be made for private study and research purposes only.
Access conditions: Open
Immediate source of acquisition:

In 2010 the United Kingdom National Digital Archive of Datasets

Custodial history: Originally transferred from the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. The United Kingdom National Digital Archive of Datasets (NDAD) then held the dataset until 2010 when it was transferred to The National Archives (TNA).
Accumulation dates: 1980-2001
Selection and destruction information: These datasets have been selected as they reflect the economic, social and demographic condition of the UK, as documented by the state's dealings with individuals, communities and organisations outside its own formal boundaries ( of Public Record Office (now The National Archives) acquisition policy).
Accruals: Further accruals may occur.
Publication note:

Results of the House Building Inquiry were made available in Departmental periodicals, published by HMSO or The Stationery Office (now Office of Public Sector Information). For example: Housing and Construction Statistics and Local Housing Statistics. The Department also made House building data available online at

Unpublished finding aids:

Extent of documentation: 9 documents, Dates of creation of documentation: 1991-2005

Administrative / biographical background:

The House Building Inquiry Dataset was owned and created by various Housing Data and Statistics sections of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM), previously by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) and its predecessor bodies. The Housing Data and Statistics section was part of the Housing Monitoring and Statistics Division until 1993 and of the Housing and Urban Monitoring and Analysis Division until 1998 when it became part of the Housing, Private Policy and Analysis Division.

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