Peeling paint Beyers Cottage Hill End. Credit John Spencer. DPIE

Peeling paint, Hill End. Credit: John Spencer DPIE

9. Painting


This exemption is for repainting of already painted fabric or the painting of non-significant fabric.

Examples of typical activities/works include:

  • removal of peeling, flaking or otherwise failed paint
  • preparing a surface (e.g. by sanding) for painting
  • painting a surface with a suitable paint.

This exemption does not allow for painting of previously unpainted significant fabric (e.g. face brickwork, stone, concrete or metal) as this is likely to adversely affect the item’s heritage significance. 

Standard Exemption 9: Painting

General conditions apply to the use of all Standard Exemptions and must be complied with. 

The following specified activities/works to an item do not require approval under subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977 if the specified activities/works are undertaken in accordance with each of the relevant standards prescribed below.

 Specified activities/works:

  1. Paint removal, surface preparation and repainting of the already painted fabric of an item.
  2. Painting non-significant fabric.
  3. Paint scrapes to inform decisions about repainting or to find evidence of original or earlier colour schemes.

Relevant standards:

d. Activities/works must not involve the disturbance or removal of earlier paint layers other than those which have failed by chalking, flaking, peeling or blistering.

e. When painting already painted significant fabric, activities/works must involve application of an isolating layer, to protect significant earlier layers and provide a stable basis for repainting.

f. Painting significant fabric must use the same colour scheme and paint type as an earlier or existing scheme.

g. For removal of earlier failed paint layers, the paint removal method/s used must be verified by a suitably qualified and experienced professional to not affect significant fabric. Paint removal must be immediately followed by recoating using the same colour scheme to protect the exposed surface.

h. New paint must be appropriate to the substrate.

i. Painting must not endanger the survival of earlier paint layers.

j. Painting of non-significant fabric must:

i. use a colour sympathetic to the item

ii. not detract from the item

iii. not reduce the ability to appreciate the item.

k. Paint scrapes must be inconspicuous and made by a professional experienced in the technique.



  • Preference should be given to the re-establishment of historically significant paint schemes of the item that are appropriate to the item’s significance.
  • When removing failed paint layers to achieve a stable base for repainting, minimise the intervention as much as possible to avoid losing the significant historical record. If old paint layers are sound, they should be left undisturbed.
  • Do not strip paint coatings which were intended to be protective as it may expose the substrate to damage and cause the loss of the historical record and significance of the item.
  • The removal of paint with a high content of lead or other hazardous coatings, requires considerable care and use of experienced tradespeople as its disturbance can create health hazards.