Floor space and employment survey

Floor space and employment survey

2017 survey

The City of Sydney undertakes its comprehensive floor space and employment survey every 5 years to coincide with the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Census of Population and Housing.

The survey collects data on all businesses, floor space uses and employment numbers for every building or property in the City of Sydney local area. It provides a snapshot of the built form, land uses and economic activity of the City every 5 years. The field data captured for the most recent survey was undertaken in 2017.

The data collection phase of the survey involves field surveyors visiting every business in the City of Sydney local area to determine:

  • what industry the business is in
  • how many workers are in each business
  • the floor space use of each business through visual inspection
  • the use of existing floor space.

Information for various capacity measures such as quantity of seating, parking, rooms and units are also collected. Residential dwellings are not surveyed onsite, but are determined from the street and validated by checking existing floor plans, aerial photographs and other sources.

The data is used by both internal and external stakeholders as a basis for strategic planning, policy formulation, business development and forecasting. 

The City of Sydney has been divided into 10 village groups:

Each group is unique and dynamic in its own right with its own set of social, economic and environmental characteristics. The 10 village areas are designed to recognise the diversity of local needs and values that exist across the city. The floor space and employment survey reports on each of the 10 villages separately.


Industry codes and classifications

The City’s floor space and employment survey uses a composite city-based industry classification to report on the various industry sectors across the local area, categorised by the main function of a business.

The classifications are based on Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) 2006, updated to allow for the analysis of emerging sectors including creative industries, ICT (information and communications technology), and tourist, culture and leisure. As well as traditional industry sectors such as finance and financial services, food and drink, and retail and personal services.

Space use

The floor space and employment survey collects data on how individual spaces are used across the entire local area, both internal and external. There are 15 space use divisions.

The main divisions include office, residential, shop/showroom, restaurant/eating, common area and parking.

Visual spatial analysis

The 2017 floor space and employment survey was captured using a geographic information system (GIS) to provide a visualisation and spatial analysis of the city's floor space uses, in both 2 and 3-dimensions.

The GIS database contains information about 26,203 buildings, 23,511 business establishments and approximately 883,000 spatial records that can be examined at any level to provide a point-in-time snapshot of floor space use and employment across the local area.


Local area overview and summaryVillages overview and summary

Housing, pipeline development and forecasts can be found on the City Monitors page.


Steven Hillier
Research Manager
02 9265 9333

Last updated: Thursday, 13 December 2018