Heritage advice

We provide a free heritage advisory service to people considering work that may affect heritage values on places with cultural significance. The place may be an outstanding building, such as an historic church, through to a simple house or garden that is part of historic streetscape.

Council’s Heritage Advisor helps owners or perspective purchasers of heritage listed places, sites adjacent to listed places or places within heritage precincts, with advice on how to go about maintaining or improving their properties in a sympathetic way.

This advice can be valuable in developing a design which is consistent with the planning scheme requirements and as a result, the final development application may be able to be processed more efficiently.

What does heritage advice involve?

It is best to discuss proposals at an early stage before detailed design work has progressed.

Heritage advice can involve a short site visit to identify the significance of the place and to offer guidance. Applicants are encouraged to engage the services of an architect or building designer with demonstrated ability and interest in heritage projects.

Our Heritage Advisor can also meet with the applicant and their designer to discuss proposals with outline sketches before an application is lodged. Applicants will still need to engage a professional to produce the required design drawings for the development and subsequent building applications.

How do you arrange for heritage advice?

Heritage advice is provided by appointment. Call our City Planning Team on 03 6217 9550 to arrange a time. Suitable notice will be needed to ensure that adequate time can be scheduled for your appointment.

Overall design and appearance objectives

The following guidelines should be addressed when considering alterations and/or additions to an existing heritage listed property or planning a new building within or adjacent to a heritage site or precinct:

  • The scale of new buildings or additions to heritage buildings should be similar or less than existing forms
  • Building forms should complement rather than compete with existing buildings or streetscapes
  • Additions to heritage buildings should be clearly identified as new work rather than a replication of existing fabric. This may be attained by the use of complementary building materials to the original
  • Where possible, avoid altering existing roof forms, appearance of additional roof forms should respect the predominant pitch and/or style of the existing; and roof forms on new buildings are to maintain and respect the predominant roof forms of the street or precinct.

Principles for heritage sensitive design

Poorly designed additions or renovations can diminish the value of your heritage listed property or those around you.

New buildings and structures should respect and reflect the characteristics of neighbouring properties and the surrounding area. However, ‘reproduction’ or ‘historical mimicry’ of heritage styles on new buildings must be avoided as there should be a clear distinction between existing and new development to maintain the integrity of heritage buildings or sites.

Appropriate selection of site, location, orientation, design, scale, character and materials is extremely important for integration of new work into a heritage building, site or precinct. Preservation of other significant elements such as trees, gardens, paving, gates and fences can also be vitally important to preserve the character of a particular heritage environment.

Building detail objectives:

  • Ensure additions to heritage buildings are designed and detailed with materials that complement rather than compete with heritage values
  • New buildings should be easily recognised as such and should not replicate or mimic period detail
  • Glazing patterns and proportion should be compatible with existing or adjacent heritage buildings within the street or precinct

  • Maintain original doors and windows where possible when renovating. Replacements and additions where necessary, should be sympathetic to the original
  • Avoid alteration or removal of existing fabric, in particular chimneys, fireplaces, walls, roof materials and exterior details including windows and doors
  • Gutter and eave details should be similar in appearance to those of existing or adjacent buildings.

*New buildings should compliment existing heritage forms

Site planning objectives:

  • Generally, new buildings should be aligned and orientated consistently with other buildings in the street
  • Front boundary setbacks should respect the dominant building line within the street, which may differ to that of adjacent buildings
  • Avoid building forms and orientation that diminish or detract from the streetscape or precinct

Appropriate setbacks & orientation

Inappropriate setbacks & orientation 

*Fences, gates and paving can contribute to the character of a heritage site.