The complexity in heritage and cultural refurbishment projects


25 May 2020

Heritage and cultural refurbishment projects are considered to be very complex, however there are a number of strategic activities that can be undertaken to decrease the impact of this complexity and ensure exceptional project delivery. With a national reputation for excellence in heritage and cultural refurbishment, fitout and conversion of assets, we pride ourselves on our ability to respect and preserve historical structures. 

The due diligence required as part of the tendering process should not be underestimated. Our specialist teams ensure that both the heritage consultant and the architect are heavily involved in the preparation. Ensuring close collaboration at the front-end means the project particulars are appreciated and have been assessed and planned, resulting in smooth delivery.

As the managing contractor it’s important to recognise the value the heritage consultant and architect bring to the project, as they are often involved prior to the appointment of a contractor. Being able to understand what they are trying to achieve is critical, as is the development of solid relationships,  cultivating trust that we will deliver their vision because we respect their design aspirations and we want to bring this to life.

Built’s approach to design issues is always collaborative, whereby solutions are developed which address the need to conserve fabric while delivering a cost-effective outcome,” said Peter Lovell, Director, Lovell Chen Architects.

With heritage and cultural projects comes a complex permit process. Built’s experienced project teams have undergone the rigorous process many times, often developing learnings and efficiencies along the way. What is essential to understand is the implications around approval timeframes and the impact on project programme.

“The commencement phase is especially time sensitive on heritage projects. Being nimble, having the ability to move through the implications of approval timeframes and know what your next move is really sets you up for success,” said Pat Moran, one of Built’s Victorian Construction Managers.


The nature of heritage and cultural works is complex, it’s about craftsmanship, detail and care, he said.

“Engaging the best trades or specialists that deliver quality time and time again is the backbone of quality project delivery.”

“Without using a company with the specialist experience for dealing with such an old sign, the Palais Theatre would be a shadow of its former self,” Pat said when discussing the restoration of the heritage sign on the façade of the 90-year-old theatre restored by Built in 2016.  Not only is there significant demand for these trades, their methods are traditional, and delivery time is greater than modern methods, so ensuring they are commissioned early is very important.

Built has experienced heritage and cultural project delivery teams who understand and appreciate the nuances of these types of builds and the style of work that is required to deliver them. Built has delivered a range of amazing heritage and cultural projects throughout Australia, including State Library Victoria, Flinders Street Station, The Sandstone Precinct, Australian War Memorial, COMO The Treasury, Parliament House and Palais Theatre.

“Delivering such amazing projects is something we’re so proud to hang our hat on. Not to mention it’s something our people are so passionate about,” Pat said.

At Built, we pride ourselves on delivering projects that push us to deliver smart solutions, innovation and pioneering techniques. The use of modern technology to assist in quality delivery is paramount, as we capture and assess conditions in minute detail throughout the build, we can revive forgotten craftsmanship and seamlessly integrate the old with the new.

As well as these strategic activities, it is ultimately our passion and the unwavering pursuit of quality that means regardless of the complexity, these structures are brought back to their former glory.




Source:  Built -

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