Australian architectural history in the BTHL

This article by Mike Jackson gives a brief introduction to Australian architectural history captured in the BTHL.

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Heritage NSW – some updates

Heritage Grants – applications close 8 Feb 2021

The 2021-23 round of NSW Heritage Grants is now open. See Heritage NSW website for more information and the funding guidelines.

Heritage Management System (HMS) – new system coming 2021

In 2021 we will launch a transformational digital system for lodging Heritage Act applications and searching heritage information. The HMS will replace existing systems and paper-based applications. See Heritage NSW website for more information and further updates as the go live date approaches.

Standard exemptions – new exemptions apply

From 1 December 2020 new standard exemptions apply for items listed on the State Heritage Register or subject to an Interim Heritage Order. If you are planning works, check if you still need to apply for approval or notify Heritage NSW of the works – they may now be covered by an exemption. See Heritage NSW website for more information about the types of exemptions that apply.

Conservation Management Plan review – changes

From July 2020 the Heritage Council of NSW ceased offering the review and endorsement of conservation management plans. We still recommend the preparation of CMPs as best practice heritage management documents and we’re currently updating guidance material to support this process. See Heritage NSW website for more information.

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Longford Academy 2021 Summer School cancelled

The Longford Academy have made the following announcement.

“Uncertainty about COVID border restrictions means that we have reluctantly decided to cancel the Summer School planned for 7–13 February 2021. 

“A good proportion of the course enrolments have come in from the greater Sydney area, which currently means they would have to quarantine for 14 days on arrival in Tasmania. While the restrictions might change shortly before the course, the uncertainty makes it too difficult for our  planning. 

“As promised, we will refund any deposits and fees paid — bear with us while we do that.

“Although we had hoped that 2021 would be different from 2020, it’s looking like it’s going to be more of the same, at least for the greater part of the year. We are quite likely to find ourselves in a similar situation with our Autumn (May) course.

“Looking further ahead, we aim to run the summer school on similar dates in 2022 — pencil in 6–12 February 2022 and we’ll keep you posted. Those enrolled or who have expressed interest for this year’s course will be put on our mailing list for Summer School 2022 so you get the earliest notification of registrations opening. This should happen in early December 2021.

“Thanks for your interest in the summer school and support of the Longford Academy — we hope to see you at Woolmers & Brickendon some day soon.

If you have any questions, please contact the Longford Academy by emailing the organiser, Greg Owen.

Please note that whilst the APT Australasia Chapter supports the aims of the Longford Academy, all Longford Academy events are now run by an independent entity.

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Longford Academy – 2021 Summer School in Building Conservation

The Longford Academy has announced that the 2021 Summer School in Building Conservation will be held in Longford, Tasmania between 7-13 February 2021. It will begin at 9.30am on Sun 7 February and conclude by 4.00pm Sat 13 February. Participants travelling long distances should arrive by Sat February 6.

The Summer School in Building Conservation is a seven-day intensive introduction to the conservation of traditional buildings. Held in the sublime landscape of the World Heritage listed Woolmers and Brickendon Estates in Longford Tasmania, the Summer School focuses on the use, properties, deterioration and conservation of stone, brick, mortar, plaster, wood, metals and paints. Topics covered include rising damp, salt attack, repointing of masonry, timber decay and joinery repairs, and the repair and reconstruction of corrugated iron roofs. Theory sessions will be supported by inspections on the Brickendon and Woolmers Estates.

The Summer School provides the theoretical basis for building conservation practice that is further developed in the Autumn and Spring sessions of the Longford Academy where emphasis is placed on hands-on learning.

Download more information, including the draft schedule.

To apply, download the registration form, complete and submit to the organiser.

For more information, please email the organiser, Greg Owen.

Please note that whilst the APT Australasia Chapter supports the aims of the Longford Academy, all Longford Academy events are now run by an independent entity.

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Concrete Conservation

Recently, the Getty Conservation Institute published the Conservation Principles for Concrete of Cultural Significance (2020), which synthesizes current best practices in general repair of concrete and cultural conservation by providing a framework for architects, engineers, conservators, contractors, and stewards to make sound, informed decisions for conserving culturally significant concrete buildings and structures.

The publication is available in PDF format for free download.

On 2 December 2020, the GCI hosted a 90 minute virtual event bringing together a multidisciplinary group of professionals to discuss the importance of conserving historic concrete, and the importance of using a sound conservation methodology to guide practice. Access a recording of the event here.

Other relevant resources published by the GCI and mentioned during the event include:

Concrete: Case Studies in Conservation Practice

Conserving Concrete Heritage- An Annotated Bibliography

Concrete Conservation project webpage

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Congratulations, Meher Bahl

APT Australasia Chapter is delighted to congratulate Meher Bahl for being the Heritage Professional winner of the Australia ICOMOS President’s Award 2020.

The judges were impressed with Meher’s initiative, innovation and achievement in developing and managing the Building Technology Heritage Library Scanning Project. Her professionalism and dedication to the project as well as throughout her career is a great example for other young and emerging heritage professionals.

Meher was instrumental in delivering the project to scan and upload a substantial selection of significant historic building catalogues from Professor Miles Lewis’ library to the APT International online Building Technology Heritage Library. The final report on this project is available here.

In response to the announcement of her Award, Meher has said:

I am beyond honoured and ecstatic to be receiving the Australia ICOMOS President’s Award 2020 for the Heritage Professional category. As an international student and now a fresh graduate, I had never thought in my wildest dreams that the work I stumbled upon would shape my career for the rest of my life. During the tenure of my Bachelors in India, I was not someone who was extremely involved in heritage and conservation (even despite India’s rich cultural heritage, I know!). My interest in the field was sparked when I got the chance to merge digital with heritage for the Building Technology Heritage Library project. Professor Miles Lewis’s collection was an excellent one, in the sense that, even though I was digitising them, I got to enhance my knowledge of not just Australian architecture and techniques but also international standards and practice. This addition to the [APT] Building Technology Heritage Library has proved to be an invaluable resource for the conservation community. 
The recognition that comes with the award has encouraged me in many ways to continue my work within the field. It has been extremely wonderful to see the work of other young professionals who have been commended as a part of the award. I hope to work with such like-minded passionate people and continue to learn new things every day.”

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Webinar: Managing Historic Campus Facilities

Managing Your Historic Campus Facilities in Today’s Resource-Constrained Environment

  • Strategies for Historic Management
  • Sustainable Integration
  • HVAC in Historic Buildings

This, the first-ever collaborative webinar between APT International and The Society for College and University Planning (SCUP), will be held 2.00-3.15pm (Eastern time) on 20 October 2020 [that’s 5.00-6.15am on 21 October 2020 AEDT]. And it’s free to register.

How are you addressing your campus’ historic facilities with so many competing needs for limited resources? This webinar will outline strategies for the management of historic properties on college and university campuses, with guidelines, standards, and best practices to address a wide range of concerns dealing with historic facilities.

Preservation of your historic facilities can also be an important part of your long-term plan for a sustainable future for your campus and the planet. Upkeep, renovation, and repurposing of existing structures are seen by many as an essential part of flattening the carbon curve. We will consider examples of successful efforts to integrate sustainability, preservation, and practical re-use of older facilities.

HVAC upgrades in historic buildings present numerous challenges that are only amplified when working in a campus setting. The process for HVAC projects in campus historic buildings will be discussed along with the newest challenge of upgrading systems to provide safer interior environments to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Whilst the timing is challenging for Australian attendees, this is an opportunity to hear from leaders in the field in North America.  Click here for more information, and to register for this free webinar.

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Heritage Technical Codes – lime mortars

The Heritage Council of Victoria has launched two new Heritage Technical Codes. These were developed in partnership with Heritage Victoria, on the topics of lime mortars for the repair of masonry (HTC1) and repointing with lime mortars (HTC2).

These Codes are the result of a pilot project to test a new approach whereby the BCA Performance Solution process is applied to support the use of building materials and techniques compatible with heritage fabric. The Performance Solution process allows for the use of alternative construction codes (including overseas codes), instead of the Australian Standards, so long as these satisfy BCA Performance Requirements. The project aimed to do this by developing specific heritage codes: the Heritage Technical Codes.

The project was prompted by long-expressed concerns by the Heritage Council’s Technical Advisory Committee that the Building Code of Australia’s (BCA) Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions (including the Australian Standards) are generally not well suited for heritage places, and in many instances their application will damage heritage fabric. The absence of relevant Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions for historical buildings has created problems for their management and maintenance, with Australian Standards frequently quoted to justify the removal or destruction of heritage fabric, or the use of replacement materials that will cause long-term damage.

The first two Codes have been produced as part of a pilot to enable the Heritage Council and Heritage Victoria to better understand the challenges and opportunities of developing such Codes, and also to allow for stakeholder feedback.

The Codes can be found on Heritage Victoria’s website:

More information about the pilot project and where to provide feedback is available on Heritage Council’s website:

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APT Building Technology Heritage Library – project completion

APT Australasia Chapter is delighted to report that the project to scan material from Professor Miles Lewis‘ library for the APT International online Building Technology Heritage Library has now been completed.

The final project report covering both phases of the project is downloadable here.

In summary, a total of 362 documents have been scanned and uploaded.  These originate from between 1753 to 1973.  The size of individual documents varies from 1 to 1290 pages, with a total of nearly 75,000 pages scanned.

The origin of this material can be categorised as:
104  Australian
164  British
16  French
71  Usonian
7   other

APT Australasia Chapter is delighted to have been able to facilitate the addition of this material from Professor Miles Lewis’ library to the Building Technology Heritage Library, and thank Meher Bahl for her incredible efforts on this project.

We note that this year will mark the tenth anniversary of the BTHL.  Mike Jackson, who has driven this incredible project throughout that time, is currently working on a summary publication to mark that anniversary.

APT International posts items of interest from the BTHL on social media (@aptpreservation) each week at:


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Additions to APT Building Technology Heritage Library

APT Australasia Chapter is delighted to report that the first phase of scanning material from Professor Miles Lewis‘ library for the APT International online Building Technology Heritage Library has been completed.

The project report is downloadable here.

In summary, 206 documents have been scanned and uploaded, their size varying from 1 to 1073 pages, and the total is estimated at 35,133 pages. The material varies in date from 1755 to 1973. The origin of this material can be categorised as:
57  Australian
83  British
11  French
51  Usonian
4   other

Discussions continue with regard to opportunities for scanning further material from Professor Miles Lewis’ library for inclusion in the Building Technology Heritage Library.

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