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Conservation Principles

It is important to respect the significant elements of a place when considering making changes or developing it to meet contemporary needs.

These elements help tell the story of a place’s history and its role in the development of this State. These elements may differ in significance and will differ from place to place. The significant elements of a place are identified in the assessment documentation.

So if you are considering making changes to place, here are some basic principles to consider:

  • Is the new work easily distinguishable from the old? New work should complement a building's original scale, form and massing, and ensure that the original fabric is easily identifiable.  New work that mimics the original is not considered good practice.
  • Are the alterations reversible? In some cases, it may be preferable to introduce changes that can be removed.
  • Am I respecting all significant periods of construction of the place? Often places have been changed over time and certain sections of a place will vary in construction depending on when they were built. These changes are part of the historical development of the place and may contribute to its overall significance.

You can read more about developing heritage places by downloading Guide to Developing Heritage Places or the Heritage in Action series that provides case studies of adaptive reuse of heritage places or how owners have restored their residential places. Alternatively, view our Heritage in Action Photo Galleries.


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Heritage is integral to the vibrant life and prosperity of Western Australia.
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