We love our heritage architecture in The Harbour City. Our hearts swell with pride when we recall the grassroots activists of the 1970s, whose heroic efforts saved many of the historic sandstone buildings in The Rocks from tower block oblivion. A bit of lacy Victorian-era cast iron or the organic curves of Art Nouveau timber fretwork bring a tear to a Sydneysider’s eye. However, when it comes to renovating or remodelling a home affected by heritage regulations, it’s the cost – both monetary and in terms of time and stress – that can be eye-watering.

What’s the problem? You just look up what your local restrictions are and stick to them, right? Well, it’s not that easy. A major issue is navigating the labyrinthine legislation, bureaucracy and terminology used by our esteemed councils. For example, just take a look at the Heritage & Conservation section of the website for the Inner West Council, which covers some of Sydney’s oldest and most well-preserved suburbs. Think Balmain, Rozelle, Leichhardt, Annandale, Newtown and Marrickville. This single page contains links to eight heritage studies, a Local Environmental Plan (which has 10 amendments to date), a Development Control Plan (again, with multiple amendments) plus 78 – yup, count ’em – links to “other heritage links”, publications on topics such as paint colours, house styles and inlaid street names, Heritage Conservation Area (HCA) info sheets and archaeology summary sheets.

Mind boggled yet?

No wonder so many of Design Plus Drafting’s new customers suffer from what we call Heritage Anxiety. Thankfully, it’s not a long-term condition and we have the cure: our drafters’ in-depth knowledge of the Building Code of Australia, local Heritage Items and HCAs and how to work with them.

Desperate to increase the liveable space within your circa-1890 Petersham terrace, but it’s smack-bang in the middle of a HCA? Our home designers can draft extension plans that preserve the integrity of your heritage facade, comply to height restrictions and utilise smart solutions – such as a second-storey addition that sits beneath the existing roof pitch, and an attic conversion utilising dormer windows that are in keeping with the period architecture of your street. By using our expertise for your building design and following our advice, you stand a much better chance of getting Development Application approval.

So have your tricky renovation plans designed by a specialist draftsman and come to us with your heritage worries. They’re history.