Understanding Heritage Gradings

A heritage house in YarraIn 2007 Council engaged a heritage consultant to grade every building affected by a Heritage Overlay in Yarra. 

The resulting City of Yarra Heritage Review can be viewed here:

City of Yarra Heritage Review (Graeme Butler and Associates, 2007)

Information on the gradings of each heritage building in Yarra can be found in Council's heritage database

The database includes the following information about every heritage building in Yarra:

  • Street name, number and suburb
  • Estimated date of construction
  • Previous grading of the place (from previous Council studies)
  • External integrity of the building (Excellent/ High, Good, Fair, Low, Poor, or Unknown)
  • Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works plan number
  • Consultant notes about the place
  • Whether the fence was original.

Below is a summary of the meaning of different levels of significance listed in the heritage database:


This means the property is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register, for which Heritage Victoria is responsible for making heritage decisions. Information regarding these properties can be found on Heritage Victoria’s website.

Individually significant

This means the place is an individually important place of State, municipal or local cultural significance. This place may be listed individually in the Schedule to the Heritage Overlay to the Heritage Overlay at Clause 43.01 of the Yarra Planning Scheme, or considered to be a heritage place in its own right when located within a heritage precinct. Its significance was judged using the National Estate Register [NER] criteria within the fields of history, aesthetic or architectural worth, scientific or technical endeavour, or social value to a community group. For more information on these criteria see Appendix Three (Assessment Criteria) and Appendix Four (Detailed Methodology) of the City of Yarra Review of Heritage Overlay Areas, 2007.


This means the building contributes to the significance of the heritage precinct as stated in the Statement of Significance (for example it is a Victorian-era building in an area which was developed in the Victorian-era). This place is not considered to be an individually important place of State, municipal or local cultural heritage significance, however when combined with other ‘individually significant’ and/or ‘contributory’ heritage places, they play an integral role in demonstrating the cultural heritage significance of a precinct. Generally the building has an integrity level of low, fair, good or high to its creation date.

Not Contributory

Not Contributory buildings are typically buildings which were not constructed in the primary or secondary development periods of the area, or are a poor expression of that era (graded as being of ‘poor’ integrity). They are included within a Heritage Overlay because any development of the place may impact on the cultural heritage significance of the precinct or adjacent ‘significant’ or ‘contributory’ heritage places.


This means there was insufficient data to allow an assessment from the public domain, and more detailed analysis of this building is required.

For information on how the level of significance was derived, please refer to the following sections of the City of Yarra Review of Heritage Overlay Areas, 2007:

To find out if your property is subject to a heritage overlay visit Land Channel's website, or contact Council's Statutory Planning unit on 9205 5373.

How does the grading affect what I can do to my property?

Council's heritage local policy (Clause 22.02 of the Yarra Planning Scheme) links the heritage gradings to the specific building works which are permitted. The policy helps Council protect important heritage buildings, and minimise the visibility of modern additions to individually significant buildings. The local policy can be viewed at the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure's website.

Before beginning any works on your heritage building, Council recommends that you speak to one of its Statutory Planners. 

Visit the Planning Counter at Richmond Town Hall to obtain preliminary advice about your property or organise a pre-application meeting with a Statutory Planner by calling 9205 5373. For a pre-application meeting you will be required to provide photographs of your site and preliminary drawings or plans (drawn to scale) which demonstrate your proposed works. 


Further information
Strategic Planning Branch
9205 5322

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