What is it?

A building documentation search - sometimes called a building file search - is a search for building plans and documents for a specific site. Building plan documents may include:

  • architectural and structural plans
  • computations
  • specifications
  • soil reports
  • building permits
  • occupancy permits
  • certificates of final inspection
  • warranty insurance certificates.

While we can advise on what years of works we may have records for, we cannot guarantee the availability of specific documents.

Email: filesearch@portphillip.vic.gov.au
Phone: 03 9209 6424

Who is it suitable for?

Documents from the searches detail the previous approvals and works carried out to a property. Building documentation searches are often requested by:

  • architects
  • builders
  • draftspersons
  • home or property owners.


The application fee for a building documentation search is non-refundable. If you’re paying by card, a card payment fee applies.

Fee detailsFee
Residential dwelling (also includes certificates if selected)$108.80
Apartments or Commercial property (also includes certificates if selected)$388.70
Certificates$64.30 each

Extra fees may be applied if large amounts of hardcopy records are required to be digitised. These fees will be based on the below schedule.

Scanning and photocopying sizeFee per page
First 6 pages (A4 or A3)Free
A1 and A0$9.40

If the volume of documents requires extra charges, we will contact you with fee estimates before making copies or scans.

Before you apply

If you’re applying on behalf of a home or property owner, you’ll need to get their written consent.

Written consent requirements

1. The owner is a company, organisation, or corporation of a single property with no Owners Corporation.

The application must include a formal letter of consent. The letter needs to:

  • be signed by a company director on the company's letterhead
  • authorise the named applicant to access building permit records for the property
  • include the company's contact details and ABN.

2. I am acting on behalf of multiple properties with an Owners Corporation. Or I am a lot owner in a complex of multiple properties with an Owners Corporation.

If you're acting on behalf of an Owners Corporation, you must provide signed written authorisation on their letterhead. Or provide a copy of the minutes appointing you to act on the Owners Corporation's behalf to access building permit records for the property.

3. The owner is an individual and also the applicant.

You’ll need to apply via My Port Phillip. Your application must provide proof of identification such as:

  • a copy of your driver's licence
  • a copy of an electricity bill
  • an insurance policy
  • phone bill issued with your name
  • the address of the property.

4. The owner is an individual and is not the applicant.

You'll need to apply via My Port Phillip. Your application must include proof of identification of the owner, such as:

  • a copy of their driver's licence
  • an electricity bill
  • an insurance policy
  • a phone bill issued with their name
  • The ID must show the property address.

Request for existing building permit approvals (Regulation 51)

This request provides certificates relating to:

  • building permits
  • property information as part of Regulation 51.

There are three parts to Regulation 51 requests:

Part 1: Building Permit details

A certificate with information relating to building permits issued in the previous 10 years. Plus, any outstanding notices and/or orders.

Part 2: Property Information

A certificate with information relating to termite and flood-prone areas.

Part 3: Dates of inspections

Details of inspections at mandatory notification stages during previous building works. These cover both the building and land.

You can request a search on My Port Phillip.

When you apply

You can apply for a building documentation search via My Port Phillip.

  1. Register or log in to My Port Phillip
  2. Add your address to your account details
  3. Select ‘apply for a permit'
  4. Scroll down until you find ‘Planning and Building Documentation Search’ and select ‘Start
  5. In the drop-down select ‘Building File Search
  6. To begin your application, start by entering the property address
  7. Apply

Please note, incomplete applications without the required attachments will not be accepted.

After your application is received and lodged, you will be emailed a tax invoice.

After you apply

Searches are usually completed within 20 business days from the time of lodgement. Complex searches may take longer.

Viewing documents

If many documents are available, we may contact you to arrange a viewing to select the items you need.

Contact us

Our Planning and Building Records team is here to help. Get in touch if you have questions or need a hardcopy form.

Send us a message on My Port Phillip.

Phone: 03 9209 6424.

Email: filesearch@portphillip.vic.gov.au 

In person: visit the Planning and Building Counter at St Kilda Town Hall during opening hours (8.30 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday).