Works that need a permit
You need a permit or permit exemption from Heritage Victoria to change any place or object in the Victorian Heritage Register. There are significant penalties if a person or body corporate changes any place or object on the Heritage Register without either a permit or a permit exemption. In some instances, the penalty can include imprisonment.
Heritage Victoria strongly recommends a pre-application discussion is held prior to the lodgement of a permit application. The purpose of a pre-application discussion is for a proposal affecting a place included on the Victorian Heritage Register (VHR) to be presented to Heritage Victoria.
Heritage Victoria may provide feedback in relation to how the proposal may affect the heritage significance of the VHR place and the appropriate Heritage Victoria approval process, including additional information that may be required by Heritage Victoria in assessing a future permit application of permit exemption request.
Note: Heritage Victoria is piloting a formal pre-application process for some pre-application requests. We are happy to receive feedback on the pilot.
Pre-application meetings are available on request.
- Complete the Pre-application Registration Form
Any commentary made by Heritage Victoria during a pre-application meeting and in subsequent correspondence should not be interpreted as acceptance or refusal of a proposal. Permit applications and permit exemption requests are determined following consideration of the application against relevant policies and the criteria of the Heritage Act 2017.
You need a permit for any works or alterations in relation to a registered place or object including:
- Building extensions, constructions, interior works, demolition or relocation of buildings and structures, changes of colour schemes and signage.
- Construction of new buildings and garden structures such as fences or decks, pathways and driveways, and changes of materials.
- Works to registered trees and gardens which are not regular maintenance works.
- Excavations at registered sites or damage or alteration to an archaeological artefact.
- Relocation, repair and conservation treatment of objects.
For more information about when permits are needed:
Complete the permit application form (DOCX, 195.9 KB)
The Heritage Council can create permit exemptions that allow certain works or activities without a heritage permit.
Exemptions can be granted:
- when a heritage place or object is added to the Victorian Heritage Register
- if a category of works which may be undertaken without a permit has been determined, or
- because an owner applied for an exemption for particular works.
The general intent is to provide a permit exemption where the works will not harm the cultural heritage significance of a place or object.
A permit exemption will be issued in the following circumstances on receipt of sufficient detail, unless considered inappropriate by the Executive Director:
- The works are to the interiors of buildings constructed since the place was included in the Victorian Heritage Register or to the interiors of recognised non-significant buildings.
- The works are to the exterior of buildings constructed since the place was included in the Victorian Heritage Register or to the exterior of recognised non-significant buildings, are minor in nature and will not impact on the setting and/or views of the place.
- The works will be for a short temporary period and will not harm the cultural heritage significance of the place or object.
- The works relate to conservation of a place or object.
- Routine maintenance activities which will not harm the cultural heritage significance of the place or object.
- The introduction or replacement of services such as cabling, pipes or fire services provided there is no harm to heritage fabric including views of the place.
- The removal of dead, diseased or dangerous trees provided an arborist report is submitted verifying the condition of the tree.
- Works of a routine nature for operational purposes which will not harm the cultural heritage significance of the place or object. For example, the replacement of non-significant shelving and shop fittings within a retail establishment or the renewal of watering systems, gravel surfaces and directional signage within a public garden.
- Any other instance where the Executive Director is satisfied the works will not harm the heritage fabric or heritage significance of the place or object.
The Act also allows for permit exemptions when the works are:
- for the purposes of religious services or rites in a place that was built for that purpose, or
- are in accordance with a permit of subdivision that was referred to the Executive Director as a determining referral authority.
The Policy Guideline for Heritage Permit Exemptions (PDF, 81.8 KB) was adopted on 18 September 2017.
Complete the Permit Exemption Form (DOCX, 113.3 KB)
Review the above permit requirements and contact Heritage Victoria to find out whether your works require a permit. This is important because you may be eligible for a permit exemption.
The owner has the final responsibility for obtaining necessary permits. Agents such as an architect, horticulturalist, archaeologist, property manager or project manager or a tenant may apply with the owner's written agreement, which must be provided to the Executive Director.
All permit applications are referred to the local government authority for comments and consultation.
The Executive Director may direct that a permit application be given public notice. Further information about this can be found in the ‘Policy guideline for public notice of permit applications and submissions received. (PDF, 126.5 KB)’
- Complete the permit application form (DOCX, 195.9 KB)
Make sure you complete every field. Applications can't be accepted if information is missing.
- Fill out the Permit Application Form
Make sure you complete every field. Applications can’t be accepted if information is missing.
The documentation required is similar to that required for a planning permit plans or typed specifications prepared for local councils will usually be acceptable. Make sure the documentation is legible and the intent of the works is clear. Drawings will almost always be required.
Tick off the Permit Application Checklist (DOC, 121.0 KB) to confirm you have included all of the documents we need. We can’t start assessing your application until we have all required documents:
Also check you’ve included:
- the Owner and Applicant Declaration (part of the application form)
- a current Certificate of Title for a Heritage Place (dated within 30 days of the date the application is lodged)
- a Heritage Impact Statement clearly demonstrating (to the Executive Director Heritage Victoria and other interested parties) that you have addressed your proposal’s potential impacts on the cultural heritage significance of the place. Our guidelines will help you prepare this statement: Heritage Impact Statements (PDF, 231.3 KB)
We won’t process your application until we receive payment. Make sure your permit application form includes the receipt number and date in the lodgement section so we can confirm your payment. Applications that don’t include these details will be returned.
You can pay by BPAY, POST Billpay or at Australia Post shops (by Cash, Cheque or Debit Card Only):
Permit fees are determined in accordance with the Heritage Regulations 2017 and the Heritage (Underwater Cultural Heritage) Regulations 2017. Download the details of the 2019/2020 Fee Schedule (DOCX, 29.8 KB).
Fees may be waived in the following instances:
- Conservation works such as repair, restoration or reconstruction
- Concession card holders who propose to carry out works to their own homes.
If you wish to request a fee waiver, the fee waiver application form (DOCX, 102.9 KB) must be completed and submitted with your permit application.
Confirm your application includes:
- permit application form signed by the owner and applicant with completed receipt number and date details
- current copy of title
- documents setting out the works proposed: see checklist above
- Heritage Impact Statement.
Permit applications must be lodged via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Permit applications sent to other email addresses will not be accepted. Your permit is deemed to be accepted once you have received an email from us acknowledging receipt.
If your application includes large files, send them in multiple emails or post them on a USB to:
PO Box 500
If the Executive Director determines the proposed works may harm the place or object, the owner is required to advertise the application in a newspaper circulating in the area. A sign displayed at the site is also required . The Executive Director then makes the application available on the advertised permit applications page and at the office of Heritage Victoria for public comment for the next 14 days, and submissions are accepted from interested parties up to 14 days from the date of advertising. The advertising period may be extended with the agreement of the applicant and owner of the registered place or object.
The policy document on public notice and submissions can be found here.
If the Executive Director can determine the matter on the information supplied, a permit may be issued. If the application is contentious and submissions have been received from other parties, the applicant is usually asked to respond to the issues raised before a determination is made.
Permits must be processed by the Executive Director within 60 days unless an extension of a further 60 days is granted by the Heritage Council.
If you have a current permit, that is one which has not expired, and you wish to carry out works which vary from those approved, you may ask the Executive Director to consider amending the permit. The Heritage Act 2017 requires the Executive Director to refuse the request if it is considered that the changes are so substantial that a new permit is required or if the changes would result in harm to the cultural heritage significance of the heritage place or object.
A copy of the request will be sent to the Responsible Authority (usually the local council) and anyone who had previously made a submission.
The written consent of the owner must be provided with any permit amendment request form (DOCX, 200.3 KB)
A fee applies to permit amendment requests.
If you have a current permit application being assessment by Heritage Victoria and you wish to amend the application, you may ask the Executive Director to consider amending the permit application. The Heritage Act 2017 requires the Executive Director to refuse the request if it is considered that the changes are so substantial that a new permit application is required.
A copy of the request will be sent to the Responsible Authority (usually the local council). The written consent of the owner must be provided with any permit application amendment request form (DOCX, 201.0 KB).
A fee applies to permit application amendment requests.
Permit forms and guidelines
Forms and instructions
- Pre-application registration form (DOCX, 160.7 KB)
- Permit application form (DOCX, 195.9 KB)
- Permit application checklist (DOC, 121.0 KB)
- Schedule of Heritage Fees 2019-20 (DOCX, 29.8 KB)
- Fee waiver application form (DOCX, 102.9 KB)
- Permit amendment form (DOCX, 200.3 KB)
- Owner consent form (DOCX, 48.7 KB)
- Amending a current permit application form (DOCX, 201.0 KB)
- Permit Exemption application form (DOCX, 113.3 KB)
- Public Notice Submission Form (DOCX, 112.0 KB)
Page last updated: 10/12/19