Topics > Heritage

Conserving Our Heritage

Conservation work is generally concerned with the protection of fabric and enhancing the significance of a heritage place. Such work has become increasingly important and popular, but each place is different, so a variety of approaches and techniques for conservation are required.

Before you begin any conservation work, thorough research and planning are important. A rule of thumb is to do no more than is necessary to a heritage building. The Burra Charter sets out the best practice principles of conservation subscribed to by the department.

These elements should be considered in the planning process:

  • respect the historical context
  • identify the likely impact of change on the cultural significance of the place
  • avoid uses that dilute or obscure cultural significance
  • give preference to reversible changes
  • give preference to additions and alterations which reinforce and do not blur historical appearance
  • store material unavoidably removed for possible future reinstatement.

Conservation management plans provide further information about heritage places and give essential guidelines for future use and development. Many of these plans are commissioned by property owners, while others are initiated by state or local government agencies. James Semple Kerr’s ‘The Conservation Plan’ is considered the bench mark for how to prepare a conservation plan.

Specialised training for tradespeople in heritage conservation is available through the Construction Industry Training Board.

The department also has a list of technical conservation notes and other booklets that you can download.

Technical guides

These booklets provide technical information on the maintenance and conservation of heritage places.


These publications provide guidelines for best practice approach to managing development affecting State Heritage Places.

Conservation Management Plans

Fact sheets

Fact sheets provide easy to access information in figures and dot points on the management of State Heritage Places and Areas.

Contact the Conservation Team in Heritage South Australia on (08) 8124 4922 or Email DEW.StateHeritageDA@sa.gov.au