Permit policies and decision making guidelines

The Heritage Council and Heritage Victoria need to consider a variety of principles, guidelines and legislation when deciding whether to grant or refuse a permit application:

Under section 101 of the Heritage Act 2017 the Executive Director must consider:

  • how the proposal affects the cultural heritage significance of the registered place or object,
  • if a refusal would affect the reasonable or economic use of the registered place, and
  • submissions received.

The Executive Director can’t consider change of use, car parking, or other planning issues unless the issues would result in an adverse impact upon the cultural heritage significance of the registered place.

In considering the reasonable or economic use of a place, Heritage Victoria refers to the policy guideline (PDF, 518.8 KB) adopted by Heritage Victoria and the Heritage Council of Victoria in May 2012. The guideline refers to section 73(1)(b) of the Heritage Act 1995 which is identical to section 101(2)(b) of the Heritage Act 2017, except that undue financial hardship no longer applies.

The Burra Charter provides heritage guidance across Australia.

  • December 2013: the Heritage Council resolved to recognise and endorse the Burra Charter 2013 as a key document for guiding best-practice cultural heritage management in Victoria.
  • 7 July 2010: the Executive Director, Heritage Victoria recognised and endorsed the Burra Charter 1999 as a key document for guiding best-practice heritage management in Victoria.

The principles provide guidance for changes proposed to places on the Victorian Heritage Register.

  • July 2019: the Executive Director, Heritage Victoria, made and published the Principles (PDF, 107.9 KB) under s.19(1)(f) of the Heritage Act 2017.

These guidelines (PDF, 758.1 KB) are provided by Heritage Victoria to assist you in preparing a Heritage Impact Statement.

1 July 2012: the Executive Director of Heritage Victoria adopted policy guidelines that allow the Executive Director to consider the findings of a Victorian Design Review Panel (VDRP) report when making a decision:

The Office of the Victorian Government's Design Review Panel.

The purpose of this policy is to encourage high quality design solutions for works to places and objects on the Victorian Heritage Register and give weight to the advice of the VDRP.

1 January 2011: the Executive Director, Heritage Victoria, has adopted the Technical Leaflet Access for all to Heritage Places (Heritage Council of Victoria, December 2008) as guidelines for all permits that include the provision of access to heritage places for people with disabilities applied for under s.67 of the Heritage Act 1995. 

Heritage Technical Codes

The Building Code of Australia’s (BCA) Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions (including Australian Standards) are generally not well suited for heritage places, and in many instances their application will damage heritage fabric. The absence of relevant Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions for historical buildings has created problems for their management and maintenance, with Australian Standards frequently quoted to justify the removal or destruction of heritage fabric, or the use of replacement materials that will cause long-term damage. 

In partnership with Heritage Victoria, the Heritage Council of Victoria has developed two Heritage Technical Codes which allow the BCA Performance Solution process to support the use of building materials and techniques compatible with heritage fabric. The Performance Solutions included with the Codes may be used by Building Surveyors to demonstrate to how the Codes satisfy BCA Performance Requirements as alternative construction codes which may be used instead of the Australian Standards. The first two Codes are:

These Technical Codes are based on the Salt Attack and Rising Damp and Mortars: materials, mixes and methods publications. They have been produced as part of a pilot project to enable the Heritage Council and Heritage Victoria to monitor the use of the Codes and to allow for stakeholder feedback. Feedback, including suggestions for future Codes, may be emailed to the Heritage Council of Victoria for more information about the pilot, visit the Heritage Council’s website


These Technical Codes may be used as Permit Conditions


Heritage Technical Requirements

Photographic recording for heritage places and objects (DOCX, 1.1 MB)

These Technical Requirements may be used as Permit Conditions.

Page last updated: 09/09/20