If you have a heritage-listed home or a home in a conservation area and want to do alterations and additions, there are some things that you will need to know. Buildings are given a listed status to mark their historical and architectural significance and to protect them from damage and inappropriate alterations.
The NSW Heritage Office defines a conservation area as “Area located on the State Heritage Register or on a Local Environment Plan (LEP) for their heritage significance. They also contain individually listed heritage items.
We would recommend that you research the neighbourhood’s era and as much as you can about your property’s period and style, especially if you’re trying to restore your period home.
Remember, renovating doesn’t necessarily mean replacing everything in the existing style; you can keep some of the period features and have a design that successfully integrates the old and new.
Before you start any design works, you need to investigate what kind of modifications you can and can’t make on your property as there is a good chance you can’t make specific changes.
An experienced local architect will help you identify these and tailor your dreams to obtain the council’s approval.
As you may know, there are two approval options available to obtain a building approval in NSW;
- A Council Development Application (DA) and Construction Certificate (CC) or
- A Complying Development Certificate (CDC) via a private certifier.
Being in a heritage conservation area will rule out the CDC approval option.
There are many challenges that an architect needs to negotiate when designing alterations and additions under the DA process. These include:
- The council’s Planning Controls (LEP and DCP)
- The National Building codes (known as the National Construction Code)
- Client budgets and
However, the council imposes more significant restrictions on what can be designed by your architect, as they must consider in greater depth areas like Streetscape, Character, Scale, Form, Material and Colour.
Some council controls can restrict your design to:
- A single-storey development and/or an attic conversion
- Retaining existing elements of you home like roofing materials, chimneys, dormer windows, filaments etc.
- Front façade treatments and colour schemes
- And even your front fence
And as part of the documentation submitted in the Development Application, you must include a Heritage Impact Statement (HIS). The HIS must comply with a particular presentation style and delve into your building’s history and how what is proposed complies with their heritage overlay. In most cases, your architect can provide this additional report if they choose to. But on some occasions, and for some projects and council areas, the council will require a suitably qualified Heritage Architect to write the HIS.
In summary, we recommend appointing a local architect who knows the council requirements and has experience in dealing with your council and heritage projects.
At Willoughby Architects, we have undertaken alteration and additions in Willoughby, Artarmon, Crows Nest, Chatswood, Birchgrove, Paddington, Darlinghurst and Marrickville. You can see our recent approvals here.
Willoughby Architects is an architectural firm based in Willoughby on Sydney’s lower North Shore. We design, organise approvals and project manage the building process for new build homes and renovations for existing homes. At Willoughby Architects, we are committed to producing sustainable, innovative architecture.
Contact our Principal Architect, Wayne Farmilo today for a Needs & Options Review.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Phone: 0412 998 027
About the Author: Wayne Farmilo, Founder & Principal Architect of Willoughby Architects, has been a Registered Architect in VIC and NSW for 25 years. Wayne started his own practice in 2002, initially focusing on the retail and commercial space; however, since 2012 the practice has actively focused on residential design projects.