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Planning and building

The Gold Coast is a vibrant and attractive city. We are working hard to maintain our enviable lifestyle and ensure our city continues to thrive in a sustainable way.

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Buying, selling and searches

If you’re looking to buy or sell property on the Gold Coast, there are number of useful resources available to assist with gathering a variety of property information.

See our Researching a property page for details of the resources available to assist you with your research.

See our Are you moving? page for details about the many things that need to be done when leaving a property and moving into a new one.

Searches

City of Gold Coast keeps a record of every parcel of rateable land within its boundaries. Written search reports are created by generating and extracting specific data relevant to a particular property from our property systems and are accurate at the time of data extraction.

Search types

Please select from the drop-down headings below for details about the different types of searches and requests for copies of plans available.

Rates and water searches

The following rates and water searches are available.

Rates and water

This is an inspection of records only (quotes not applicable). Particulars are supplied as at the date the rate book is inspected. A reading of the water meter (if connected) is supplied as part of this search.

Special water meter reading

Water meter reading only.

Find a link to the Search Request form below.

Planning and development certificates

Council of the City of Gold Coast provides limited, standard and full Planning and Development Certificates (PDC) in accordance with the requirements of Section 265 of the Planning Act 2016 and Schedule 23 of the Planning Regulation 2017.

Council also provides standard and full Town Planning Certificates in accordance with the requirements of Section 18Q, Schedule 2 of the Local Government (Robina Central Planning Agreement) Act 1992 (RCPA).

PDCs provide potential property owners, lawyers and property developers with information about planning scheme provisions, infrastructure charges or agreements and development approvals for specific premises.

Find a link to the Search Request form below.

Building searches

The following types of building searches are available:

Extract of building details

This is a written report on all building applications on the property, including all stage inspections on residential or commercial structures, amendments, additions alterations, swimming pools and encumbrances. It does not include siting variation applications or copies of approved plans or documentation.

Commercial Class 2 to 9 searches base fee charge allows for four (4) building approvals. Any additional building approvals are charged at a unit price per building approval and a quote will be sent to the customer.

Building compliance inspection and report

This includes a site inspection by a Development Compliance Officer and a written report regarding the compliance of all residential or commercial structures on the property including amendments, additions, alterations and swimming pools. The report does not include details of building approvals or previous inspections of structures on the property. This is NOT a final inspection for the structures and no compliance documentation will be issued.

Base fee charge allows for four (4) building approvals. Any additional building approvals are charged at a unit price per building approval and a quotation will be sent to the customer. The customer must complete the Access Details section of the form. A re-inspection fee of will be charged where access is unavailable at the agreed time and must be paid prior to re-inspection.

Certificate of Classification

A copy of the original Certificate of Classification issued for Class 1 to 9 buildings constructed after 1975 describing the building’s classification, in accordance with the Building Codes Australia, and the way the building can be used/occupied.

If more than one Certificate of Classification has been issued, a quotation will be sent to the customer. Refer to the building classification codes for details of the different codes.

Find a link to the Search Request form below.

Copies of building plans

Copies of building plans for existing structures can be obtained by completing an application and submitting it to the City of Gold Coast. The City only provides the records which are available in the archives.

Find a link to the Copies of building plans application form below.

For information about the types of plans available from this request, see the summary below.

Plan type descriptions:

Termite/pest treatment certificate

The termite/pest treatment certificate shows the method of termite/pest treatment carried out to the land prior to the laying of the footings/slab.

Soil/engineers report

The soil/engineers report is produced when testing the soil to see how deep footings should be sunk, or the load bearing capacity of the soil itself (only available for buildings constructed after 1989).

Original site plans only

Original site plans only shows the outline of the house as it is situated on the block of land and is the original plan submitted to Council. Being the original site plan, it will not reflect any additions or alterations that have been done to the house since it was first constructed.

Most recent site plan only

Most recent site plan only should show the outline of the house (may be partial) as it is situated on the land and will show any subsequent additions or alterations to the house if submitted to Council.

Architectural (site plan, floor plan and elevations)

Architectural site plan shows the location of building(s) on a property.

Architectural floor plan shows the layout of the rooms in the building and dimensions of each room. Owner's authority is required. If the applicant is not the registered owner and wants to obtain floor plans, the owner must either complete the Owner's Authority section on page 1 of this application or sign a letter of authority which is to be affixed to the application.

Architectural elevations show the external aspects (front, side and rear views) of the building.

Structural (footing, slab, frame/bracing)

Structural drawings must be prepared by a structural engineer to show the design of the footings, slab and framing of the building.

Footing and slab shows the layout of the foundations/footing and/or slab.

Framing and bracing shows the wall and ceiling beams, including the ply sheets, metal ties and joists.

Residential - additional structures

Residential - additional structures shows the architectural and structural plans for all of the additional structures on the property.

For any further information please contact Development Compliance on 07 5667 5978.

House drainage plans

Residential house drainage plans may not include any water system and will not include any stormwater drainage information.

For any further enquiries, please contact Plumbing and Drainage on 07 5667 5977.

Find a link to the Plumbing and drainage plan search request form below.

Health inspections

If you are looking at buying an existing business that is licensed, you may wish to apply for a Health Search to check the current level of compliance. It is not a mandatory requirement, however is very helpful when considering purchasing a business. From the date the application is made, it takes 10 business days to complete.

The report will cover all licensable activities associated with the business and provide information on the current condition including any defects within the premises.

Full details of the business, e.g. trading name, shop number etc., as well as access details are required.

For larger premises, e.g. resorts, theme parks, etc., you should contact the City's Licensing and Approvals Section on 07 5667 5987 regarding a quote for the fee of conducting the inspections.

Find a link to the Search Request form below.

Trade waste searches

Trade waste searches are recommended when purchasing a commercial property or business that will generate trade waste.

The search is conducted by a Trade Waste Officer and details findings in relation to existing pre-treatment devices in a Trade Waste Inspection report.

  • The findings of the inspection will confirm the number and size of pre-treatment devices and that these are appropriately sized for the kitchen fit outs/existing facilities at the time of the inspection.
  • The condition, age and the management of such pre-treatment devices.
  • If the pre-treatment devices are over eight (8) years old, whether the City of Gold Coast has requested an audit of the pre-treatment devices, and the outcome of the audit.
  • If there have been special conditions placed on the existing property/business's "Terms and Conditions" regarding the pre-treatment devices.

Find a link to the Search Request form below.

Mapping searches

The following types of map and plan searches are available:

Flood information

A flood level search report can be obtained for a property. It summarises available flood information on the property like estimated designated flood level (for determining floor levels) and ground level at the centre of the property. However, it does not show the flood extent.

View information on flood extent and general flood information on the Potential flood risks on the Gold Coast page. 

Find a link to the Search Request form below.

SIS location diagram

This search can provide estimated information where available on:

Property boundaries, street names, street numbers, lot and Plan information, house sewer connection points, City of Gold Coast sewer infrastructure, private sewer facility, City stormwater infrastructure, fibre optics, and other known underground services available.

Easements over internal infrastructure may not be included on mapping.

Find a link to the Search Request form below.

Infrastructure drawings sewerage

Sewerage infrastructure (location, material, size, manhole surface levels, invert levels, ties) and sewer house connection (location, and invert levels). Drawings for sewerage infrastructure are provided to the City by developers and contractors post construction. The information supplied is specific to the requested parcel of land and generally includes the above. Easements over internal infrastructure may not be included on mapping.

If the drawing requested is not available, the City will undertake an on-site investigation to confirm the infrastructure and connection locations. It is important to understand that the drawings were provided by external entities and all service locations and material type must be confirmed by the applicant on site prior to new design and construction activities.

Find a link to the Sewerage infrastructure drawing request form below.

Land structure

Building setbacks refer to the distance from the property boundary to the outermost projection of the building or structure. The City Plan makes provisions for setbacks depending on whether the application is self, code or impact assessable. For further information on building setbacks, contact the Planning Enquiries Centre on 07 5582 8708.

For more information, please refer to the Building setbacks page or the Property enquiry page.

Find a link to the Search Request form below.

Landslip map

For landslip maps, the information can be obtained freely from the Property enquiry page or from the City Plan interactive mapping page.

Find a link to the Search Request form below.

Bushfire map

For bushfire maps, the information can be obtained freely from the Property enquiry page or the City Plan interactive mapping.

Land use enquiry

The land use enquiry should not be relied upon for the purpose of making decisions with legal and/or financial implications.

For further information regarding development of the premises, it is recommended that you obtain a limited, standard or full planning and development certificate, and consult an independent planning consultant.

Outlined below are the three types of land use enquiries available:

Motor dealers licence

This enquiry provides:

  • A letter from Council to be used for the purposes of obtaining a motor dealers licence from the Office of Fair Trading.

This enquiry does not provide:

  • An assessment of compliance with any relevant required outcomes or assessment benchmarks under the City Plan.
  • The category of development and assessment of other forms of development (that is reconfiguration of a lot, operational work, building work and plumbing and drainage work).

Liquor licence

This enquiry provides:

  • A letter from Council to be used for the purposes of obtaining a Liquor Licence from the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation.

This enquiry does not provide:

  • an assessment of compliance with relevant required outcomes or assessment benchmarks under the City Plan.
  • the category of development and assessment of other forms of development (i.e. reconfiguration of a lot, operational work, building work, and plumbing and drainage work).

General

Please note that the land use enquiry is intended for residential based land uses only. Should your proposal be for commercial based land use/s, one or all of the following options should be used:

  • contact the City's Planning Enquiries Centre to discuss category of development and assessment for a material change of use for the proposed use on 07 5582 8708.
  • submit an application for a ‘Council letter confirming accepted development status
  • obtain a limited, standard or full planning and development certificate by lodging a search request form and consult an independent planning consultant.

This enquiry provides:

  • the zone or precinct within which the premises is located
  • the use definition (residential land uses only) under the City Plan for the proposed use
  • the category of development and assessment for a material change of use for the proposed use based on Part 5 Tables of Assessment for the relevant zone or precinct within which the premises is located only.

This enquiry does not provide:

  • details of historical and/or existing use rights for the premises
  • an assessment of compliance with any required outcomes or assessment benchmarks under the City Plan
  • the category of development and assessment of other forms of development (that is reconfiguration of a lot, operational work, building work and plumbing and drainage work)
  • a definitive category of development and assessment for each proposed use. The land use enquiry only provides the category of development and assessment according to section 5.5 (categories of development and assessment – Material Change of Use) of the Tables of Assessment. The proposed use may fall into a higher category of development and assessment if the provisions of sections 5.6-5.10 of the Tables of Assessment are triggered.

Find the links to the land use enquiry forms below.

Request for copy of decision notice or plan of development

This request for information should not be relied upon for the purpose of making decisions with legal and/or financial implications. Should you require copies of ALL relevant approvals in regards to a particular subject site it is recommended you obtain a limited, standard or full planning and development certificate.

This request provides: one copy of a decision notice and associated approved plans (where applicable) which is not available via City's planning and development online website.

This request does not provide:

  • details of historical and/or existing use rights of the premises
  • an assessment of compliance with the approved plan requirements or any relevant approvals or City Plan provisions
  • a copy of any associated reports referred to in a Decision Notice or Planning Approval
  • for copies of building approvals, refer to application for copies of building plans form located on the City website's forms page.

Find the link to the Request for copy of decision notice or plan of development form below.

Glossary of rates searches City terms

Below is a brief overview of City terms used on completed search requests for rates searches.

Pending charges

A pending charge is a charge that has been calculated, but not yet billed/issued or charged to the rate account. Pending charges do not accrue any interest and will not be included in the current balance. These charges will appear on a future rate notice.

Account balance / current balance

The balance due on the account at the present date or any given date. Where accounts have arrears, interest is calculated to the first business day after settlement date to allow sufficient time for settlement proceeds to reach us. The balance does not include any pending charges. It is recommended that pending charges be added to the balance to ascertain the total amount outstanding.

Amount outstanding/rates position/settlement date

The balance due on the account at the given settlement date including any pending charges and any applicable interest on arrears. The 'Amount outstanding' is calculated based on the settlement date provided by the customer (or their solicitor). If settlement does not proceed on the date advised, please contact us on 1300 366 659 or 07 5667 5995 to obtain the correct amount outstanding to be paid at settlement.

Interest

The City charges interest on all overdue levies at a rate of eleven per cent (11%) per annum. Interest is charged until payment is made in full. It is calculated up to date of payment, compounding daily and charged monthly.

Net balance

Account balance due, inclusive of any discount for paying on or before the due date. This amount does not include pending charges.

Gross balance

Account balance due for payment after the due date, inclusive of any interest charges for late payment. Note that this figure will change daily, so it is essential that a specific payment date be provided so any pending interest can be calculated correctly. This amount does not include pending charges.

Last billable water read

The Last billable read is the previous reading taken of the water meter where the water consumption has been calculated and issued on a notice. The water meter is read four (4) times a year.

From 1 July 2014, the City has moved to billing water and sewerage charges (including consumption) on a quarterly basis.

Special water read

The 'Special water read' shown on the Water Search Report shows the actual reading taken of the water meter conducted specifically for this report. This reading is used to help calculate the amount of water consumption payable by the seller.

Lot entitlement

The 'Lot entitlement' refers to the property’s contribution schedule lot entitlement, as detailed in the community management statement (CMS) for a Community Titles Scheme. This determines how the amount of water consumption recorded for the complex is distributed amongst the individual owners.

Pending Unimproved Capital Valuations (UCV)

The general rate on a property is calculated using a set rate (which varies by category) and is determined by the unimproved capital value (UCV) for each property. The UCV is provided to the City by the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy. Once a new property/parcel is registered, the City must wait for the UCV before raising a general rate. Customers may encounter this situation when phoning for verbal rating information or it may be documented on their search that charges have not been raised yet due to a pending valuation.

How to lodge a search request

Please see our Lodging a search request page for information about how to lodge a search request.

Further information

For any further information, please refer to our Contact us page.

Related information

Jump to key information
  • How long does it take to receive the search results?

    You are requested to allow a 10 business day turnaround although we do try to process requests as soon as possible. Results are emailed as soon as the search is completed if an email address is provided.

  • What information is provided in a limited PDC?

    Schedule 23 of the Planning Regulation 2017 outlines the detail contained in a Limited PDC. The purpose of a Limited PDC is to identify general planning information that applies to a specific site. These PDCs are commonly used for due diligence and conveyancing matters.

    A Limited PDC must contain:

    • a summary of any planning scheme provisions or charges resolution provisions applying specifically to the premises, including how any applicable Temporary Local Planning Instruments or variation approvals affect the operation or vary the effect of a planning scheme provision
    • a copy of any information recorded for the premises in the infrastructure charges register
    • a summary of a provision State planning instrument provision if it applies to the premises
    • a description of any designations applying to the premises.

    Limited PDCs do not provide any information regarding development approvals that are applicable to the particular premises.

  • What information is provided in a standard PDC?

    Schedule 23 of the Planning Regulation 2017 outlines the detail contained within a standard PDC. 

    A standard PDC must contain the information required to be contained in a limited PDC plus:

    • a copy of every decision notice or negotiated decision notice for a development approval in effect for the premises
    • details of any changes to a development approval or approvals given to extend the currency period of a development approval in effect for the premises
    • a copy of every continuing approval mentioned in repealed Integrated Planning Act 1997, Section 6.1.23(1)(a) to (d)
    • details of any decision to approve or refuse an application to amend a planning scheme made under s4.3 of the repealed Local Government (Planning & Environment) Act 1990 (e.g. rezoning application), including any conditions of approval
    • a copy of every compliance certificate in effect at the time the Standard PDC is given
    • a copy of any effective exemption certificates for the development on the premises
    • a copy of any deemed approval notice relating to the premises (where the development approval has not lapsed)
    • a copy of each master plan applying to the premises
    • a copy of any judgment or order of the Planning and Environment Court or a tribunal about a development approval
    • a copy of any agreement to which the Local Government or a referral agency (e.g. Main Roads, Department of Natural Resources and Mines, etc.) is a party about a condition of a development approval
    • a copy of any infrastructure agreement applying to the premises to which the Local Government is a party
    • a description of each amendment, proposed to be made by the Local Government to its planning scheme, that has not yet been made at the time the certificate is given (e.g. Council has formally adopted amendments to the Planning Scheme, but these have not yet commenced).

    A standard PDC does not provide any information regarding the compliance or fulfilment of development conditions. If details regarding the fulfilment of conditions is required, a full Planning and Development Certificate is required.

  • What information is provided in a full PDC?

    Schedule 23 of the Planning Regulation 2017 details the information contained in a full PDC. Full PDCs are generally requested for commercial enterprises, or requested when the sale of land involves a number of land uses operating on the site - for example shopping centres, Q1 type developments, mixed developments such as Circle on Cavill.

    A full PDC must contain the information required to be contained in a limited and standard PDC plus:

    • details of any current development approval containing conditions, and a statement of fulfilment or non-fulfilment with each condition at a stated day (after the day the certificate was applied for)
    • if there is an infrastructure agreement that Council is party to, including:
      • any obligations that have not been fulfilled, including details of the nature and extent of non-fulfilment
      • details of any security given and whether any payment required under the security has been made
    • advice of any prosecution for a development offence in relation to the premises that the Local Government is aware of; or proceedings for a prosecution for a development offence in relation to the premises that Council is aware of.
  • How long does a PDC request take to process?

    The Planning Act 2016 determines the timeframes in which Council must provide the PDC requested by the customer. The timeframes are:

    • Limited PDC (Planning Act 2016) - within five business days of the request being made
    • Standard PDC (Planning Act 2016) - within 10 business days of the request being made
    • Full PDC (Planning Act 2016) - within 30 business days of the request being made.

    RCPA determines the timeframes in which Council must provide the PDC requested by the customer.

    • Standard PDC (RCPA) - within 14 business days of the request being made
    • Full PDC (RCPA) - within 40 business days of the request being made.
  • Will a PDC always give me all of the information I am looking for?

    A PDC is not always the answer to obtaining the information relating to the Planning Scheme and Development Approvals for a premise. Given PDCs only provide copies of those development approvals that have not lapsed on a property. 

    For more options for sourcing information see:

    PD Online
    Copies of decision notices/plans of development
    Building and development
    Right to Information Act 2009

  • Who can I contact to find out more about PDC applications?

    For more information contact our Planning Development Certificate team.

    Phone: 07 5582 8319
    Email:  planningsearches@goldcoast.qld.gov.au

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