Before renovating your home, you should find out if your title is affected by overlays. You can either check it online here, ask an architect, or by contacting your local council. There are many types of planning scheme overlays and Heritage Overlay (Clause 43.01) is one of the most common ones. The purpose of Heritage Overlay, labelled as HO on the planning scheme map is:

  • To implement the Municipal Planning Strategy and the Planning Policy Framework
  • To conserve and enhance heritage places of natural or culture significance.
  • To conserve and enhance those elements which contribute to the significance of heritage places
  • To ensure that development does not adversely affect the significance of heritage places.
  • To conserve specified heritage places by allowing a use that would otherwise be prohibited if this will demonstrably assist with conservation of the significance of the heritage place.

Keeping the Old
If your house is located within a Heritage Overlay, the appearance of your house being viewed from the street should remain as it is now after any renovation. However if you wish to amend the design externally, you can either refurbish it to its original appearance or else the amendment should not be visible from the street. A heritage architect could help you to determine what the original house looked like when it was first built.

In the case where you are comfortable with the exterior of your house and you would want to refurbish the interior only, you are allowed to renovate the interior as long as all the windows remain exactly the same in terms of its location and material. If the window is in a poor condition, you should replace it with a new window that matches its size, material, and position.

Need More Space?
We often have a modern styled extension added to the rear end of the house for extra space. An extension to your house is allowed given that it is not visible from the street. The extension is not limited by the style nor material of the original house. However, creating the transition space between the old and new part of the house may not be easy for everyone. It is recommended to contact an architect to design for you as the easiest solution. We’ve recently completed a project in Hawthorn that integrates the old house with the new extension. Read more about it here. Keep in mind that there is a minimum open space exposed to sunlight required for any proposed work. Seeking an architect’s advice is the best way to handle any alterations to your home.

The rule of thumb for renovating a house within a heritage overlay is any work proposed should not be visible from the street or to be kept minimal. However, restoration works are always allowed. If in doubt, contact us.