General Conservation Policy 5 - Demolition in Heritage Places

The ACT Heritage Council provides the following conservation objective and policy elements for partial or total demolition of heritage places in the ACT. A reference to a Heritage Place in this policy includes Heritage Precincts.

There are heritage guidelines for many registered heritage places in the ACT. This policy does not override those guidelines.

Although this policy is not mandatory, it represents the best practice for heritage conservation, endorsed by the ACT Heritage Council, and it will be used by the Council when providing advice on proposed changes.

Demolition of houses in heritage precincts must be supported by the ACT Heritage Council. Please contact the Heritage Unit on 13 22 81 for further information.

Advice on demolition affecting heritage places in the ACT may be obtained from the ACT Heritage Unit on 13 22 81.

Compliance with this policy does not remove any statutory obligation to obtain development consent for demolition or for new work. Contact ACTPLA on 6207 1923 for advice on whether development consent is needed for proposed work.

Conservation Objective

To preserve the historical integrity of heritage places.

Policy Elements

The specific impacts of demolition should be considered in the light of the following policies for Heritage Places:

  1. Total demolition of heritage places or identified houses within heritage precincts should not be permitted except in exceptional circumstances, including;
    1. The building is structurally unsound as to be beyond economic repair.
    2. The existing condition poses a significant health or safety risk that is beyond economic repair.
  2. Major or substantial demolition should not be permitted (eg. leaving only the external shell of a house or the front and side walls) unless the exceptional circumstances noted above apply.
  3. A structural engineer’s report for full, major or substantial demolition is required to demonstrate that there are structural issues beyond economic repair or significant health or safety risks exist. The ACT Heritage Council may seek a second engineering opinion.
  4. Normal wear and tear, cracking or settlement will not be considered as grounds for demolition.
  5. Elements of high significance of a building such as timber or brickwork walls, prominent chimneys, original windows and floorboards should not be demolished.
  6. Demolition of non-significant elements (eg. modern additions) is encouraged.
  7. Minor partial demolition of less significant elements may be allowed as part of additions and alterations depending on the level of impact on the heritage significance, and provided the building is substantially retained.
  8. Partial demolition should result in the retention of the maximum amount of the original building, and appreciation of original fabric when viewed from the street and public domain.
  9. Partial demolition shall be minimal and generally limited to the rear of a building.
  10. Significant/original fabric should be repaired rather than replaced.
  11. Demolished fabric should be re-used in the works where possible eg. bricks, tiles, etc.

This policy was approved by the ACT Heritage Council 18 October 2012.