Building searches

Check if the property you own, or want to buy, has the necessary building approvals by doing a building search.

Building searches provide written advice about approved building applications, but do not include information on pool fences. For information about pool fencing, visit pool fencing and safety regulations.

Related transactions

Types of building searches

There are five types of building searches. Fees apply for each type of search.

Building searches do not include copies of any building plans or documents, other than the certificate when specified in the details of the search below.

Find out about applying for copies of building plans or documents.

Information on types of building searches.
Type of building search Details of search
Building records search Advises whether Brisbane City Council has a record of approved building applications from 1946 to present. Details are limited to:
  • building application number
  • brief description of proposed building work
  • date application was approved.
Building inspections search Advises whether Council has a record of building inspections/final inspection (final certification) carried out on an approved building application/s during construction.

Records for domestic premises have been kept since 1987 and records for commercial or multiple dwelling premises have been kept since 1976.

Nominate the structure for the search e.g. dwelling. A fee applies to each nomination.

Certificate of classification Advises whether Council has a record of a certificate(s) of classification for a commercial or multiple dwelling premises. A copy of the certificate is included (if applicable).

Certificates of classification apply to commercial or multiple dwelling building approvals approved after 1 April 1976 with the introduction of the Building Act 1975.

Property notices Advises whether Council has a record of any outstanding property notices issued in accordance with the Building Act 1975 and Planning Act 2016.
Letter of information Advises of a building approval details limited to:
  • builder name
  • architect name
  • engineer name
  • private certifier name (if applicable)
  • copy of termite certificate (if available)
  • estimated building cost.

Fees and time to process

Council provides two levels of processing for building searches - standard and fast track. Different fees apply for each search.

Building search applications are processed within the following timeframes:

  • standard search - 10 working days after the date of lodgement
  • fast track search - three working days after the date of lodgement.

You cannot fast track individual components of a building search.  For fast track building searches, all search components are fast tracked. 

How to lodge a building search

You can lodge a building search online and pay by credit card.

Alternatively, download the building section search application (PDF - 132kb). To lodge the application form you can:

  • visit Council and make payment in person
  • mail the application with a cheque to:

    Brisbane City Council
    GPO Box 1434
    Brisbane Qld 4001.

Unapproved structures

A property may have an extension or alteration that does not appear on a building search. If you are proposing to buy the property, ask your solicitor to discuss the unapproved structure with the vendor. You solicitor may require the extension or alteration to be approved as part of the sale conditions. In this case, the property owner will need to organise approval via a building certifier.

Last updated:12 November 2019