Navigating Heritage Regulations: A Guide for Homeowners

Heritage homes are charming dwellings that give us a glimpse into our local history. But alongside their architectural marvel, they often play a significant role in the fabric of our community. 

They represent important moments in history and tell stories of inspiring and pivotal people. In other words, they signify something worth cherishing and remembering for years to come.

That’s why, when it comes to renovating heritage homes, extra effort must be made to preserve as much of the building, and retain as much of its history, as possible. And government bodies like Heritage Victoria are here to help us do that.

While this responsibility lies in the hands of property owners, it truly takes a team effort from builders, consultants, local councillors and beyond to garner the best results.

In this article, we’ll share with you what you need to know before you begin renovating a heritage home.

Familiarise yourself with state and local council bodies

First thing’s first, you should familiarise yourself with the government bodies that regulate heritage renovations, making sure to look both at a state and local level.

If you’re in Victoria like us, the state regulatory body you’re after is Heritage Victoria. You’ll find heritage listings, heritage grants and a bunch of great resources on their website. They’ll also be the ones you submit your permit to (but we’ll get to that later).

Heritage Council Victoria has a similar name but a completely different purpose. They are the advisory body for Heritage Victoria and operate to preserve and protect heritage landmarks. They offer an incredible guide on heritage renovations and provide useful case studies around how pervious heritage homes have been successfully restored. 

Depending on where your heritage home is located, you’ll also want to familiarise yourself with local council rules and regulations around renovating a heritage home, as they may differ to state-level regulations. The Vic government makes it easy to find your local council with this interactive map.

Assess whether a heritage overlay applies to you

Some local governments utilise heritage overlays to help preserve and protect heritage-listed properties. Heritage overlays are planning tools that restrict the modification of heritage homes and differ from heritage permits.

To learn more about heritage overlays and how they may impact your renovation, you can read our blog post titled ‘How A Heritage Overlay Can Affect Your Home Renovation’. 

Consult with industry experts

There are many industry experts within the heritage renovations space that can help you streamline your renovation project and eliminate any unnecessary hurdles along the way. 

Before you apply for your permit, we recommend putting together a trusted team of  heritage builders, architects, and consultants with proven industry experience.

Applying for your permits

Once you and your team of experts have created a streamlined project for your heritage renovation, it’s time to apply for your permit through your state government. 

Your permit application should include your application form, a copy of your land title, a Heritage Impact Statement, and the permit fee. 

What Heritage Victoria will be assessing is how much your proposed renovation will impact the cultural significance of your heritage home. 

With the right planning and preparation, this part of the process shouldn’t be too difficult.


Are you ready to turn your heritage property into a charming, functional home? Contact us today to speak with our capable team.

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A Step-by-Step Guide to Transforming Your Heritage Home to Suit Modern Family Living

Here’s what you’ll discover in our guide: