Culture and heritage


Conservation management plans

In this section you will find help on how conservation management plans (CMPs) and conservation management strategies (CMSs) are used in the Heritage Branch and how to prepare them.

What is a Conservation Management Plan (CMP)?

An important tool in caring for a heritage item can be a conservation management plan (CMP). This document provides a guide to future care and use, including any new development. Dr James Kerr describes a CMP as "...a document which sets out what is significant in a place and, consequently, what policies are appropriate to enable that significance to be retained in its future use and development. For most places it deals with the management of change." (Kerr, The Conservation Plan, National Trust NSW, Sydney 2000: 1)

In April 2005 the Heritage Council adopted a new strategy that outlines the processes for dealing with CMPs received in the Heritage Branch. The main points are summarised on this page.

Further details can be found in the CMP Strategy 2005 (cmpstrategyapril2005.pdf, 33KB)

When is it useful to have a CMP?

  • A CMP may be useful to accompany an application for approval under the Heritage Act. The CMP should provide information to help assess the application, including a clear statement of the significance of the item, clear identification of the constraints and opportunities that affect the item (including the owner's needs), and clear policies as to which fabric, or elements, of the item need to be conserved. It should also outline what can be changed, if and where any new development occurs, and the parameters for such development or the degree of change that is permissible.
  • A CMP may be useful to support an application for site-specific exemptions from Heritage Act approvals. A good understanding of the significance of the elements that make up the item will be very important in such cases. Site-specific exemptions can be developed in addition to the standard exemptions automatically granted to all heritage items.
    Schedule of Standard Exemptions (StandardExemptions.pdf, 99KB)
  • A CMP may be useful as a framework for an agreed-upon management approach to a heritage item, particularly where the item is managed by several different managers or there are complex relationships between elements of various degrees of significance.

Are there alternatives to a CMP?

Yes. The purpose for which a conservation planning exercise is being undertaken must be clear from the beginning, and then the appropriate type of planning document can be developed. Alternatives could include a CMS (see below), a statement of heritage impact, an asset maintenance plan, a condition report, an archaeological assessment or some combination of these documents. Where there is any uncertainty, it is important that options are discussed with the Heritage Branch before preparing a conservation planning document.

Will CMPs be reviewed by the Heritage Branch?

Not as a general rule. CMPs will only be reviewed if this is requested and the purpose of the review is clear. The appropriate fees must also be paid.

CMPs can be reviewed to provide comments or feedback, or for endorsement by the Heritage Council.

The review may be undertaken by an independent peer reviewer engaged by the Heritage Branch for this purpose. The reviewer will use a checklist to prepare the review.

Endorsement Checklist: (cmpchecklist.pdf, 288KB) download this checklist only if the CMP will be submitted for endorsement by the Heritage Council.

Are there fees or charges for reviewing a CMP?

Yes. CMPs are accepted for review on a fee-for-service basis. Fees are the same for both standard and endorsement reviews and are calculated on the complexity of the review:

  • $2000 + GST for a desk-top review;
  • $4000 + GST for a review that involves site visits; and/or
  • a negotiated fee for a large or complex CMP, or where the review will involve matters additional to the usual review process.

What are the timeframes involved?

  • CMP submitted as information accompanying an application for approval (no separate review sought): timeframe will be the same as that for processing the application (usually 40 or 60 days, depending on the type of application);
  • CMP submitted for standard review: 4 - 6 weeks;
  • CMP submitted for endorsement: 4 - 6 weeks for the review (not including the time it takes for the applicant to satisfactorily address any comments). Then allow 4-6 weeks for the CMP to be considered for endorsement by the Heritage Council.

How do I prepare a CMP?

A CMP consists of three main parts: investigation, assessment and management policies. The preparation of a CMP needs to be guided by an appropriate brief. A model brief has been developed for this purpose. Vary this to suit the characteristics of a particular heritage item and the requirements of a particular client or consultant. A suggested table of contents has also been developed to provide some guidance on the content of a CMP. Again this needs to be varied to suit the heritage item and client or consultant. Download these documents to guide the preparation of your CMP:

What is a Conservation Management Strategy (CMS)?

An alternative to a full CMP is a conservation management strategy (CMS). A CMS is a briefer version of a CMP that will provide a broad overview of conservation approaches and management guidance.

A CMS may be useful in the following situations:

  • for use with items of local significance;
  • for use with items of State significance for which no major changes or interventions are planned in the short to medium term that have the potential to materially affect the item;
  • as an interim planning document for SHR items pending the preparation of a standard conservation management plan.

How do I prepare a CMS?

The process for preparing a CMS is similar to that for a CMP. Download the following documents to guide the development of your CMS:

Is a CMS approach useful for multiple items?

It can be. A type-specific or theme-specific CMS can be developed for groups of similar types or categories of items or items that demonstrate a particular theme. This approach could be discussed with the Heritage Branch beforehand. It may involve building upon a common history or type examples applicable to all the items in the group, with the item-specific CMS then focussing on the characteristics and requirements of each item in the group.

Type examples might be timber slab barns, Barnet-designed court houses, street trees or water supply lines. Thematic examples might be convict living quarters, mid-20th century welfare buildings, landscapes of copper mining or estuarine fishing camps.

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Page last updated: 21 May 2013