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Development Referrals

When undertaking certain works for places on the State Register, a development referral is required under the Heritage of Western Australia Act 1990.

Our objective is to ensure that the cultural heritage significance of the place is respected but this does not mean that a place cannot be changed to meet contemporary needs.

Generally, minor works such as maintenance and some like-for-like repairs do not need to be referred. For more information, read our section on Maintenance & Repair.

Examples of the kind of works that must be referred to the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (formerly the State Heritage Office) include:

  • alterations and additions
  • construction of new buildings
  • conservation and remedial works
  • demolition
  • relocation
  • excavations
  • re-roofing
  • changes of exterior colour schemes
  • signage
  • interior works
  • subdivision/amalgamation
  • change of use

If you think you need a development referral:
  1. Contact a Heritage Officer at the Department.
  2. If a development referral is required, we can provide feedback on ideas and provide practical advice on proposed developments. We can also advise where you can find additional expertise from heritage professionals.
  3. You submit your development referral to the decision-making or determining authority (your local government or the WA Planning Commission.)
  4. The referral is forwarded to the Department, or in some cases, the Heritage Council, where it will be will be considered.

The decision-making authority also refers building license applications to the Department to ensure consistency with any previous planning approvals.

A proposed development for a privately owned property will need to be formally referred to the Department by the responsible local government prior to planning approval and prior to a building license being issued.

A proposed development for a government owned property will need to be formally referred to the Department by the responsible local government or state agency prior to finalisation of contract documents.

Speak to our Heritage Officers, and we can provide feedback on ideas and give practical advice on proposed developments.

We have a number of Case Studies showing how heritage places can be developed. We also explain the benefits of investing in heritage. If you are interested in making the move towards sustainable living, by installing renewable energy systems to an existing building please view our publication here.

The flow chart below shows how the referral process works. Please click on the image to view in a larger format.

inHerit - an online portal for heritage listings

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

Level 2, 491 Wellington Street, Perth WA 6000

Locked Bag 2506

T: (08) 6551 8002
Freecall (regional): 1800 52 4000
F: (08) 6552 4001

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