Frequently asked questions

Is my property listed?

Places that have been confirmed or interim listed in any national, state or local heritage lists are included in the South Australian Heritage Register. To check if your place is listed, view the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure’s Heritage Places Database or contact DEWNR.

My place is in a state heritage area - what does this mean?

Legally, every place in a state heritage area is treated as a state heritage place. More information about state heritage areas.

How are places nominated for the South Australian Heritage Register?

Individuals or organisations can nominate a place for entry as a place of state significance in the South Australian Heritage Register. More information about nominating a place to the Register.

Does an owner have any say in the registration process?

An owner is always advised regarding a proposed heritage listing before the listing process commences. More information about entering a state heritage place in the South Australian Heritage Register (84kb pdf).

Can a property be taken off the Register?

Yes. The South Australian Heritage Council has the power to remove confirmed entries of state heritage places from the Register. Judgements are based on whether a place has retained sufficient heritage significance to still meet the criteria in the Heritage Places Act 1993.

Can I make changes to my place?

Yes, heritage places can be altered or developed, but it is first necessary to obtain development approval. The Development Act 1993 requires that any 'development' be approved by the relevant planning authority (usually the local council). For state heritage places, some additional types of work require development approval (eg non-structural alterations, painting and other conservation work such as re-roofing or salt damp repair). Please use this checklist (43kb pdf) to assist you with the development approval process.

What will happen with my development application?

The Development Act 1993 requires all development applications affecting state heritage places and state heritage areas to be referred to the Minister responsible for the Heritage Places Act 1993.

DEWNR conservation architects advise the Minister, and in some instances, act as the Minister's delegate regarding commenting on and approving applications for development of heritage places. 

Will the property's value be affected if it is listed?

This may be the case when an old building is being used for a purpose well below the most commercially valuable use permitted by the zoning (eg, a cottage in a commercial zone on a major road). However, a house in a residential zone should not suffer any loss in value. It may even experience a rise because of the certainty of knowing its heritage character is protected.

Will insurance premiums be affected?

Heritage status, on its own, should have no effect on insurance premiums. Insurance cover should reflect the age, construction and condition of the building, regardless of heritage listing.

Is demolition permitted?

Not normally. If demolition is thought to be necessary, a development application would need to be lodged with the local council explaining the reasons in detail.

Are there penalties for carrying out work without approval, or demolishing a state heritage place without approval?

Demolition or other unapproved development, damaging or reducing the heritage value of a state heritage place,are serious offences. Penalties are provided for in both the Development Act 1993 and the Heritage Places Act 1993.

Am I required to carry out special maintenance?

The Heritage Places Act 1993 requires people to take 'reasonable care' of a state heritage place. As with any property, it is in the owner's interest to carry out ongoing maintenance and repair work to protect the value of the property and avoid expensive remedial work.

Is it necessary to employ qualified professionals or tradespeople to carry out building work?

There is no legal requirement to do so. However, it makes sense to use experienced professionals and tradespeople when undertaking conservation work. This will protect the heritage significance of the building and help to safeguard the property as a financial investment. DEWNR or a local heritage adviser can often refer owners to skilled tradespeople.

Who should I contact in the case of accidental damage, such as fire, flood or earthquake damage?

Contact DEWNR and your local council as soon as possible. If a building is not structurally sound or secure, the owner will be given immediate approval for stabilisation and repair.

Where can I get advice?

If you are considering conservation works or development that affects a State Heritage Place or property within a State Heritage Area, advice from an experienced heritage consultant is recommended. DEWNR also produces publications containing practical conservation advice on issues such as painting, rising damp, cleaning stone masonry and creating a maintenance check list.