The Cost Burden Placed on Private Owners of Heritage Buildings

02 December 2013 .

More than 90% of the approximate 26,000 listed items in NSW are privately owned.  However, the dedication and hard work of owners of heritage properties often go unrecognised and unsupported despite the valuable contribution they are making toward the conservation of our nation’s heritage.























Issues of Concern to owners of state and locally listed properties include:

  • Many lending institutions will not lend money on heritage buildings, particularly if they are located in a rural area.
  • Many insurance companies will not insure heritage listed buildings.  These buildings cannot be open to tourists without public liability insurance.
  • The return from tourism is generally minimal and rarely covers wages let along restoration and maintenance work.
  • It is difficult to find tradesman with heritage conservation skills, particularly in rural areas.   This kind of work is generally very demanding and requires a greater level of skill.
  • Any work, beyond minor maintenance, will generally require a development application. It may also require the production of a Conservation Management Plan, a Conservation Policy or a Statement of Heritage Impact, all of which would require the work of a heritage consultant.  This adds significantly to the cost of the work to be done and often deters tradesmen from quoting on the job.
  • Heritage buildings are by definition old and the older a building the more the fabric deteriorates and the more funds are required to conserve it.


Refer to our section on Funding Heritage to learn more about how the government can encourage increased private sector involvement in conservation.

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