Last updated:

What do I need to know?

To find a record of construction between 1850 and 1915, you need either an application number or an estimated date of application. All land owners had to do was submit an 'intention to build' notice to the City. No plans were required.

If you think the construction took place between 1916 and 1961, read the page on building plans and building application files. Records of applications from around 1961 onwards are still held by the City of Melbourne.

How do I search?

There is no online searchable index to these records. Both the hard copy register / index for the building notices, and the notices themselves, can be browsed for date ranges of interest. The easiest way to locate a notice of interest is likely to be ordering both registers and notices for browsing in the Reading Room.

Firstly, order records from the Building Notices Register and Index (VPRS 9289) which would coincide with periods of interest.

Secondly, order records from the Notices of Intention to Build (VPRS 9288) which would coincide with that same period.

Browse the records in the Reading Room, starting with register as it is likely to be easier to browse. The register will provide you with an exact date or notice number for a notice of interest.

At the step by step below, there are example images of the registers and the notices, which will give you an idea of how to successfully browse and find a notice of interest.


About these records

Prior to the Local Government Act of 1915, rather than applying for a building permit, prospective builders needed to send a "Notice of Intention to Build" to the City’s Building Surveyor. Our collection contains thousands of notices  submitted between 1850 and 1915.

Next Steps

What are in these records?

Short letters and forms addressed to the Building Surveyor from owners or builders stating the intention to build in the City of Melbourne.

Information includes :

  • address or location
  • nature of works
  • date work will commence
  • name of builder
  • architect (if any)
  • name of owner
  • date of notice
  1. Here is a page from a Building Notices Register and Index, which covers 1915. Having browsed through the register, we've arrived at an entry of interest and noted the notice number, 5894.


    Having browsed through a box of the Notices of Intention to Build covering 1915, we've arrived at notice 5894. The details match those in the register.



Material in the Public Record Office Victoria archival collection contains words and descriptions that reflect attitudes and government policies at different times which may be insensitive and upsetting

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples should be aware the collection and website may contain images, voices and names of deceased persons.

PROV provides advice to researchers wishing to access, publish or re-use records about Aboriginal Peoples