In Australia a heritage listed home varies from state to state but generally a heritage-listed home is a property or building recognised to have historical or cultural significance by your state/territory and local government, that is worth preserving for future generations.

A property is formally recognised as a heritage home when it’s listed on:


What you can and can’t do to a heritage-listed home will vary between state/territory and local councils. Rules generally revolve around preserving the style and appearance of the property, especially at the front façade of the home and any original features, and keeping a balance between the old and the new.

Development consent is required from your local council and state or territory’s heritage council when altering or renovating a heritage-listed home. There are generally limitations on extending upwards, however the rear of the property can often be modified to include a low-rise extension.

As architects with heritage experience we can advise prior to purchasing a heritage home. We have worked closely with local councils and understand what modifications will be possible. This can save making any costly mistakes before any decisions are made.

Many people are discouraged when looking to purchase or renovate a heritage home as they don’t know what can be accomplished and the process involved.

We act as a Heritage Architect in collaboration with a heritage consultant and involve the approval authority (usually the local council), at the early design stages. After initial concept plans are drawn up, we apply to the council for a pre-lodgement meeting. This allows for design changes to be made early in the process, therefore saving time and money. This early consultation also increases the probability of a faster DA approval.

A heritage impact statement will also need to be submitted; this is completed by the heritage consultant. This outlines how the renovations will affect or enhance the heritage status of the property and summarise what exact changes are proposed.


  • Is it more expensive to renovate a heritage property? It depends. Heritage homes are usually unique, they have a great deal of social history as well as ‘bricks and mortar’ history. Homeowners usually buy the property because it is one of a kind and find the preservation hugely satisfying. Many parts of the home can be restored and therefore avoiding replacing with custom made or brand new. For example, old floorboards can be re-purposed and used as cabinetry. Researching products and materials sympathetic to the era can reap rewards by scouting salvage yards and second-hand shops/online shops. Stories sell houses and by preserving and enhancing the original features, this will enhance the narrative and add to the value.
  • Does it take longer to renovate a heritage home? From the very start we work with the client to establish an achievable timeline for the project. By involving the approval authority and a heritage consultant from the early stages, most delays can be avoided. Most projects involve unforeseen challenges which can cause delays for a variety of reasons, and heritage projects usually have more than their fair share of these challenges! As the Heritage architect overseeing construction Archisoul are adept at turning these challenges into opportunities to enhance the design while minimising delays.
  • Can I modernise the interior for 21st century living? Yes! Heritage homes were tailored to the lives of the people of the day and when building additions, it is perfectly acceptable to build to accommodate our modern lives. By maintaining the character of the original home but adding a contemporary addition you have the best of both worlds and more importantly your property continues to tell a story that is authentic.
Heritage Architects Sydney


Would like to know more from experienced
Heritage Architects based in Sydney?

If you are considering renovating or purchasing a heritage property, with a view to renovating, contact us for guidance and assistance with this truly exciting and rewarding process.