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Heritage Exemption Certificate applications

A Heritage Exemption Certificate gives approval for low-impact development, conservation work and simple projects that only affect the heritage values of a place in a minor way.

You need to apply for an Exemption Certificate (DOCX, 100KB) if your proposed development:

  • will have no more than a minor detrimental impact on the significance of the heritage place
  • is permitted under a heritage agreement. A heritage agreement is a legal agreement between the owner (or another person with an interest in the place and acting with the owner’s consent) and us that sets out provisions for future work, conservation action or use of the heritage place.

Application requirements

When completing your application you need to supply information that:

  • describes if and how the development changes the place
  • describes if and how the proposal directly affects or alters significant heritage features
  • provides a detailed description of your proposal (site plan, photographs)
  • provides supporting information such as plans, relevant reports or agreements relating to the place.

To avoid delays associated with making incorrect or incomplete applications, you are encouraged to discuss your proposal with us prior to making an application. Request a pre-lodgement meeting or discussion with us by emailing palm@des.qld.gov.au with summary information about the development you are planning and identifying the Queensland heritage place involved. Seeking advice from a professional or tradesperson with experience in heritage conservation is also recommended.

We assess the impact of each application on the heritage values of the affected place and may ask you for more information to complete the assessment. If you are given an Exemption Certificate, you must comply with the conditions outlined in the Certificate.

What type of work does an Exemption Certificate cover?

An Exemption Certificate is not intended to deal with changes or complex developments that have more than a minor detrimental impact on the place. It covers work such as painting in a compatible or historic colour scheme, replacing non-significant fittings or fixtures or refurbishing less important parts of a building or place.

A development may be suitable for an Exemption Certificate if it:

  • only involves minor changes to significant features
  • alters only recent interiors or interiors that have previously been modified and are not significant as reconstructions
  • retains or restores the appearance of a significant building or garden
  • involves the disturbance of known or potential archaeological artefacts in accordance with a management approach agreed to by us
  • requires only building work that is shown to have little impact on the values of the place or involves removal of features that are intrusive
  • retains the existing use of the place or restores a previous significant use
  • is for conservation works such as maintenance and repairs using traditional materials and techniques, such as re-roofing.

What an Exemption Certificate does not cover

If the proposed development will have more than a minor detrimental impact on cultural heritage significance, an application for a development approval should be made to the State Assessment and Referral Agency.

Examples of the types of development that an Exemption Certificate does not cover include:

  • changes to significant features that alter their appearance
  • not altering historic or original interiors in line with heritage conservation practice
  • changing the appearance of a significant building or garden
  • extensive building work to increase the gross floor area of a place
  • changing the existing use of a place that will require extensive physical change to its fabric.

Check with your local government or building certifier for more information regarding other relevant laws and regulations that might apply to the development you are planning to undertake.