Beauty at a cost – Renovating a heritage listed home

Published by MFAA

Seeped in cultural and historical significance, it’s understandable that there are restrictions when renovating a heritage listed home. While that’s not to say that you can’t make any changes, a little more legwork and creativity – and often cost – is often required.

Understand what you’re doing

Working on a heritage listed property comes down to knowing the implications of your proposed plan. Understanding the reasons why certain things cannot be altered will not only help you to obtain development approval, but will also highlight why the building’s character, architecture or landscape is worth preserving.

Determine its level of significance

Whether it lies in the external or internal features, determining where the heritage value lies will set you up for what you need for authority approval. It will also highlight where the restrictions will be imposed on your renovation works.

Bring in the experts

As things can get a little complicated, having a specialist team by your side will prove invaluable. A heritage consultant, experienced architect or even a town planner can assist you throughout the whole process, from the design to dealing with the council.

Know the difference between restoration and conservation

The two are commonly confused, restoration is taking it back to its traditional form, whereas conservation is maintaining the status quo.

Deciding what to do is a relatively large judgement call. They can both be worthwhile, it’s just a question of what you’d like to see at the end of the day.

Stay within the rules

Considering the materials you use is imperative as you have to ensure that the property is livable without compromising its unique character. 

While a new coat of paint shouldn't affect the fabric or the long-term conservation or restoration possibilities for the project, other more structural changes are where you can come unstuck.

Major changes, like changing the window size to be modern dimensions, then you may run into trouble as there’d be no record of what it was and the heritage value is lost. 

MFAA accredited brokers are of a high standard in the industry so they’ll be able to recommend other professionals that will assist in your heritage home renovation. 

Although renovating a heritage listed property may be a more arduous task than the average home, it is your opportunity to contribute to the preservation of an area’s history, which makes the cost of beauty worthwhile.