Before you apply

State Heritage Register items are important to the people of NSW and alterations to them must be managed carefully.

To make alterations to State Heritage Register items (places and objects) you will need to meet the criteria for an exemption or apply and be granted approval.

This refers to carrying out works that are: 

Under section 57 of the Heritage Act 1977,  approval is needed before carrying out any of the following works:

  • Demolish the building or work
  • Damage or despoil the place, precinct or land, or any part of the place, precinct or land
  • Move, damage or destroy the relic or moveable object
  • Excavate any land for the purpose of exposing or moving the relic
  • Carry out any development in relation to the land on which the building, work or relic is situated, the land that comprises the place, or land within the precinct
  • Alter the building, work, relic or moveable object
  • Display any notice or advertisement on the place, building, work, relic, moveable object or land, or in the precinct
  • Damage or destroy any tree or other vegetation on, or remove any tree or other vegetation from, the place, precinct or land. 

There are various types of exemptions and approvals that may apply depending on the nature of your proposal (proposed activities or works). 

Before you apply: 

Check the status of your item

Check the State Heritage Inventory confirm the item is listed on the State Heritage Register or has an Interim Heritage Order. 

If yes, usually you will submit an application for approval with Heritage NSW. But for some items or local government areas, other delegations apply. Refer to the Heritage Council Delegations page for more information.

Check if your proposal meets the criteria for an exemption

Some minor works that will have no impact on the heritage significance of an SHR or IHO item do not require approval.

Refer to the Standard Exemptions page to determine whether your proposal fits into this category. 

Site specific exemptions may also apply for the heritage item. Check the "Procedures/Exemptions" section of the State Heritage Inventory entry to determine if there are any site specific exemptions for the item. 

Exemptions are granted under section 57 of the Heritage Act 1977.

Check the timing of your application with the new Heritage Management System

Heritage NSW is building a new digital system and it's almost here! Soon you will be able to lodge, pay and track Heritage Act applications online. 

Stage 1 of the new system will go live soon.

PLEASE NOTE: There will be a two week transition period when we move over to the new system. During that time we will not be able to receive Heritage Act applications and notifications. Once we know the timing of the transition period we’ll post the exact dates on this page. If you are planning to submit a works or archaeology application please factor this into your project timeframe

Check the HMS webpage for updates as the go live date approaches.

Check if the Integrated Development Application (IDA) process is appropriate for your proposal

Integrated Development is an efficient way for the Heritage Council of NSW and a local council to assess proposals at the same time. 

An Integrated Development Application (IDA) relates to activities or works that require both development consent and one or more other approvals. So, if you lodge a Development Application (DA) with a local council for development to a State Heritage Register item, that application will become an Integrated Development Application (IDA). This is unless heritage approval has already been obtained and provided as part of the DA, or an exemption applies.

Refer to the Integrated Development Fact Sheet  for more information about this process and the benefits.  

Use our pre-lodgement service 

If your proposal involve State Heritage Register items or relate to archaeological sites or relics, and will require approval, we welcome early engagement with you. This is the way to achieve best practice conservation.

Refer to the Pre-Lodgement Service guide for how to get feedback before finalising your application.