Is your property within a Heritage Overlay? It may qualify for a ‘Heritage Loan’.

For many people living in designated ‘Heritage Overlay’ areas or in a Heritage listed building, the cost of restoration can be somewhat daunting. However it can be entirely less problematic if your property and its buildings qualify for a nil-interest or low interest Heritage Loan.


The criteria for eligibility is restoration, not maintenance. Essentially your proposed works must be restorative, and your property publicly visible in most cases. You will need to prove that the works are of a restorative nature through building plans, photographs and drawings. It goes without saying that the services of a specialist Heritage Architect would be recommended and ultimately most advantageous.

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There are restrictions and it is wise to be well aware of what these are before commencing your application. Each council area has slightly different criteria. Balance Architecture’s Principal Architect, Andrew Fedorowicz (FAIA), has a thorough working knowledge of such requirements and is happy to assist you (His contact details appear at the end of this article.)

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Currently, the Ballarat City Council, the Bendigo City Council, the Shire of Hepburn, the Geelong City Council, the Melbourne City Council and the City of Yarra all offer such low interest loans. The Borough of Queenscliffe also offers a comprehensive package but it is also far more demanding in terms of detail and competitive quoting on proposed restorative works.

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If you are interested and would like to know more, here are the links for each location. The Victorian Heritage Restoration site provides information for property owners and residents in the City of Melbourne, the City of Yarra and also Ballarat.

To give some examples of what may be funded in different areas, in Bendigo the re-installment of Verandahs, the restoration of shop-front joinery and front fences from historic photographs, repainting and repairs to timber windows and to chimneys have all been funded.

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In both the City of Melbourne and the City of Yarra, painting is not funded and if the building is not visible to the public, funding is restricted.

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In the Borough of Queenscliffe the projects approved are entirely at the discretion of the Council’s Planning Department.


The City of Adelaide offers similar funding but it requires documentation and plans of a completely professional standard.

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The simplest solution is to engage a Heritage Architect with a proven track record in preparing such documentation and in supervising such restorations. Andrew Fedorowicz, our Principal Architect has over 25 years experience in Heritage Architecture. Whether it’s a restoration of Ironwork or Verandahs, ornate Victorian tiling, roofing, chimneys or decorative external mouldings, it’s worth making an enquiry – even to restore that original fence.

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Then again if it’s a full restoration of a Victorian Terrace, a Queen Anne or Georgian style home, or simply a Californian Bungalow, discover what is possible. Restoration of commercial premises – shops, warehouses and older shopping centre façades and verandahs? Call now on 0418 534 792 for a free no-obligation consultation on both your potential renovation and the possibility of a low interest loan to achieve it. You can leave your details here for a prompt reply. The funding is available if applicants follow due process. Let Balance Architecture restore your Heritage property to its former grandeur.

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Balance Architecture recognises the importance of the preservation of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.


Professor David Yencken AO – A true visionary

In Architecture more than any other discipline the visionaries are unconventional. When in the 1950s and 1960s builders and developers were having a field day ‘modernising’ Melbourne, there were voices calling for a more moderate approach. There were those who knew and respected the grand heritage of old Melbourne and did what they could to protect it. Of these David Yencken was one of the most foremost and most effective.

For more than 50 years, Professor David Yencken has been a champion for the Australian environment, the nation’s heritage and excellence in design. Working in industry, politics and academia, especially through his association with the University of Melbourne, he has been a staunch advocate and activist, promoting better outcomes for strategic policy, innovation in implementation, design and practice across our cities and landscapes.

David George Druce Yencken was born in Berlin to Australian parents in 1931 and undertook his schooling in England and Australia, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Cambridge. From early in his career he strove to break new ground, opening one of the earliest art galleries in Melbourne devoted to Australian painting in 1956-57 and building and running one of the first motels in Australia, the Mitchell Valley Motel in Bairnsdale (1957-60). He also commissioned noted architect Robin Boyd to design the architecturally significant Black Dolphin Motel in Merimbula, NSW (1960-65).

In 1965 he co-founded Merchant Builders Pty Ltd where, as Chairman and Joint Managing Director, he led the way in pioneering new project housing developments in Victoria that combined progressive architectural design with native landscaping. Yencken’s firm won a number of architectural awards including three Victorian Architectural Medals and the inaugural Robin Boyd Environmental Award (1972) for “changing the face of residential Melbourne”. During this period he also founded Tract Consultants, a firm of town and regional planners, resource analysts and landscape architects, in which he held the position of Chairman and Managing Director from 1971-79.

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The Black Dolphin Hotel, Merimbula, one of Autralia’s earliest hotels. Designed by Robin Boyd at the request of David Yencken.

One of Yencken’s most influential roles was as Secretary (Chief Executive) of the Ministry for Planning and Environment for the Victorian Government, a position he held from 1982-87. During this time he was involved in a number of important strategic projects, including the preparation and release of a new Metropolitan Policy and State Conservation Strategy; the preparation of a comprehensive plan for the redevelopment of central Melbourne; and the consolidation and re-writing of seven different Acts, as well as a number of smaller local community projects. His work with the Ministry was recognised with several Royal Australian Institute of Architecture awards, a special Australian Institute of Landscape Architecture award for the greening of Swanston Street, and a Royal Australian Planning Institute award for its work on central Melbourne pedestrian and street planning and Yarra River bank works.

David Yencken has been active throughout his career on a significant number of international organisations, serving as the inaugural Chairman of the Australian Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and representing Australia twice as a joint leader of the Australian Delegation to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in 1980 and 81. He has also participated in numerous government bodies, including as Chairman of the Interim Committee on the National Estate (Commonwealth Government) in 1974-75. He was an author of the seminal Report on the National Estate (1974), which led to the establishment of the Australian Heritage Commission, and which he then chaired from 1975-81. In these roles, Yencken helped to realise some significant achievements including stimulating national planning, research, professional standards, training and public education across Australia, and developing a Register of 6,600 natural, Aboriginal and historic places, published in an 800 page catalogue, The Heritage of Australia, in 1981. He was a member of the Prime Minister’s Urban Design Taskforce from 1994-95, chaired the Design Committee of the Australia Council for the Arts and was President of the Australian Conservation Foundation. He is currently Patron of the Foundation.


It is during the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s that Heritage values in Australia became a recognised asset of our nation. David Yencken played no small part in this.

A recent article aptly and accurately describes his influence.

The man who helped re-imagine Melbourne

In the 1950s, iron lace on Victorian-era buildings was considered so outmoded in Australia that magazines such as Women’s Weekly were full of articles illustrating how to spruce up old buildings to remove it.

But cultural tastes change, which is why David Yencken – one of the architects of heritage protection in Australia – believes heritage listings are so important.

“Later, following the establishment of the National Trusts, along with spirited defence of iron lace by writers such as Graeme Robertson, Victoriana gradually came fully back into fashion again,” Professor Yencken writes in his new book, Valuing Australia’s National Heritage.

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David Yencken when he was a member of the inquiry into the National Estate in 1978. Credit:The Age

In 1975, Professor Yencken, who is critically ill and too frail to interview for this story, was appointed the inaugural chairman of the Australian Heritage Commission.

The prime task of the commission was to develop the Register of the National Estate, which had more than 13,000 listings when the commission was abolished by the Howard government in 2003.

“We collectively reached the view that the only way to avoid bias in listing caused by temporarily prevailing architectural likes and dislikes, was to seek to list the best examples of each style period,” Professor Yencken writes.

He says whether or not they enjoyed architectural popularity at the time, the likelihood was that the heritage significance of each would almost certainly be better appreciated at some time in the future.

Urban historian Graeme Davison says Professor Yencken is a “national treasure”. “I can’t think of anybody who has contributed more to our understanding about the Australian environment than he has.”

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Urban historian Graeme Davison says Professor Yencken transformed Southbank. Credit:Eddie Jim

Professor Davison met Professor Yencken at a party when he was secretary of the Victorian Planning Ministry from 1982 to 1987. They talked all night. “I thought this is a most remarkable person – he had a breadth of vision, a capacity to think imaginatively and creatively.”

Professor Yencken contributed to the re-imagination of Melbourne.

In 1985 Swanston Street was a gloomy, car-clogged thoroughfare. As part of Victoria’s 150th celebrations, Professor Yencken had the radical idea of turning it into a giant green pop-up park.

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Professor Yencken turned Swanston Street into a green pedestrian mall as part of Victoria’s 150th celebrations. Credit:The Age

For the weekend of 9 and 10 February, 13,250 square metres of fresh grass was rolled out along four blocks of Swanston Street.

The price tag for the party – $550,000 – was not cheap. Professor Yencken’s wife – Dr Helen Sykes – recalls a friend sniping “this is my taxes at work”.

Premier John Cain wobbled after a sustained attack from then opposition leader Jeff Kennett.

He rang and asked Professor Yencken to pull the pin on the turf. Dr Sykes recalls him saying no.

For one weekend tens of thousands of families picnicked on a gritty strip transformed into a green oasis. “The garden party to end all garden parties,” was the headline in The Age. Journalist John Lahey wrote: “the cheerfulness is the one thing that will stick in most people’s minds”.

Professor Davison said Professor Yencken had an agenda. “This illustrated how clever he was. This one event was a dramatic way of sowing the seed that Swanston Street could become a pedestrian street.”

Professor Yencken was also responsible for the redevelopment of Southbank. At the time the precinct was made up of derelict factories and the city turned its back on the Yarra River.

“A lot of our work in the initial instance focused on the central area of Melbourne because there was such a sense of neglect and lack of policy direction,” Professor Yencken told Planning News in 2017.

“This lack of effective action was being expressed in papers like The Age on a very regular basis. We had a big program and that included Southbank.”

Professor Yencken’s introduction to architecture and building was a road trip through Canada in his early 20s, where he wrote he was introduced to “several wonders of the new world: hamburgers, three-minute car washes and motels”.

One of Australia’s original hotels, the Mitchell Valley Hotel in Bairnsdale, designed and built by David Yencken

He built one of the first motels in Australia in Bairnsdale in 1957 and later asked architect Robin Boyd to design a second – The Black Dolphin – in Merimbula.

In 1965, Professor Yencken co-founded Merchant Builders, which built homes that emphasised the Australian character of the landscape.

The firm pioneered cluster housing at Winter Park in Doncaster and Vermont Park, where groups of homes share communal space such as a park or swimming pool.

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The Winter Park Estate in Doncaster. Credit:Eddie Jim

Melbourne University architecture professor Alan Pert says Merchant Builders was ahead of its time. He says its model of suburbia is relevant to Melbourne’s current debates about housing affordability and population growth.

“A lot of the things Nightingale is trying to do with apartment building – the attitude of shared space and community – were all things Merchant Builders was doing 40 to 50 years ago in a suburban context.”

Valuing Australia’s National Heritage, which Professor Yencken wanted to see published while he is still alive, is part memoir, part history of the development of Australia’s national heritage consciousness.

The book is full of interesting tidbits.

Professor Yencken describes his initial battle to persuade a sceptical media that the National Estate was not a middle class conceit. (Curiously, after Malcolm Fraser came to power, he was never asked this question again.)

He details the “fierce and unexpected opposition” of Liberal Billy Snedden, then Speaker of the House of Representatives, to Parliament House in Canberra being on the register.

But it is also a lament for what Professor Yencken sees as the current neglect of national heritage and the “apparent unwillingness” to add places to the national lists.

Dr James Lesh from the School of Architecture at the University of Sydney says Mr Yencken has been a life-long advocate for the conservation of things and places.

“As businessman, as developer, as conservationist, as policymaker, as urban planner, as educator, his overriding ambition has always been to make Australian society a better place.”

Valuing Australia’s National Heritage is published by Future Leaders, a not-for-profit initiative. For a free copy email


The Heritage Council of Victoria and the bodies active in other states as well as the Commonwealth are seriously under-financed and under-staffed. A heritage assessment can take anything from 8 months to 2 years. Where municipal councils remain active in presenting Heritage buildings and sites for assessment, the relevant body in Victoria, the Heritage Council, simply does not have sufficient staff to keep up with the demand from such bodies.

As we have stated previously, it’s time to acknowledge the challenge Heritage Architecture faces in modern Australia and develop a uniform platform that is pragmatic and practical ensuring our precious heritage resources are preserved and protected for future generations. It was the visionaries of the late 20th century that established the parameters of Heritage protection in Australia. It’s now time for a new generation to step up to the plate. Our heritage is precious and it is most definitely worth preserving, now even more than ever.

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Balance Architecture recognises the importance of the preservation of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.

Heritage Architecture Preservation is in dire need of a Strategic National Plan.

Adelaide is a unique city. Often referred to as ‘the city of churches’, right now it is busy tearing down many of its heritage buildings in rampant destruction (including Churches!) The Marshall Government has little regard for history, extraordinary buildings and early settlement. At loggerheads with the Adelaide City Council, it would appear that this episode will not end well. This is a real pity – Adelaide features some exceptional architecture and as Australia’s first ‘free settler’ city it certainly deserves a far more comprehensive Heritage protection plan.

Contrast this situation to both Sydney and Melbourne. Sydney appears to be somewhat advanced on Melbourne. But first here is a report on what is currently occurring in Adelaide. North Adelaide is a wonderful old-worldly precinct with a genuine feeling of heritage and history. Its so disappointing to see wonderful buildings being put at risk in such a calculating fashion.

Heritage advocates prepare for battle over Knoll’s North Adelaide rejection

Heritage advocates say they are ready to stand in front of bulldozers and launch a strident public campaign after the State Government rejected heritage status applications for nine North Adelaide buildings they say hold irreplaceable historical value for the state.


Lord Mayor Martin Haese says the decision not to grant heritage listing for the Lohe Memorial Library means it is at the mercy of the Australian Lutheran College, which owns it.

Last week, Local Government Minister Stephan Knoll rejected the Adelaide City Council’s application for the buildings to gain heritage listing, but said they could be protected in other ways.

North Ward councillor Phil Martin said he feared one or more of the property owners may take the opportunity to demolish the properties before heritage advocates had a chance to change the minister’s mind.

Martin said he and many others were willing to stand in front of bulldozers if any landowner attempts to demolish those buildings.

“If it has to come to it, there are a lot of us who will stand in front of bulldozers and contractors and ensure that this doesn’t happen,” he said.

“My inbox is full of complaints from residents.

“It took almost two decades for Labor to destroy its reputation on heritage – this minister looks like he’s done it in less than two months.”

The buildings include the Lohe Memorial Library at the Australian Lutheran College, cottages at the Kathleen Lumley College on Jeffcott Street, stables at St Mark’s College and a former mortuary at Calvary Hospital.


Former stables at St. Mark’s College.

Martin’s said Knoll’s decision “could irrevocably damage the reputation of this new government” if it is not overturned.

“I would urge everyone to write to the Premier, write to the minister, write to their local member and tell them that these are places that are worth preserving.

“Anyone who cares about heritage needs to … send a message to ministers like this that history is worth preserving.

“Once it’s gone, it’s gone.”


The former mortuary at Calvary Hospital.

Lord Mayor Martin Haese said the city council would likely appeal to the Environment, Resources and Development Committee of parliament to challenge Knoll’s decision.

“I remain very disappointed that any number of those nine sites weren’t listed,” he told InDaily this morning.

“We will continue to explore every avenue that we have got to see if that decision can be challenged.

“I’m taking advice this afternoon on (rights of appeal).”

However, he said the committee – attended by members of various parties across the political spectrum – only had the power to advise the minister, not overturn decisions unilaterally.

In other words, the minister would still have to be convinced, even if the committee found that he had made the wrong decision.

Haese said agreeing to add the buildings to the heritage list would have been Knoll’s opportunity to send a message that he was different from his predecessor, Labor’s John Rau.

“I was certainly hoping that Minister Knoll would be in a position as a new minister to send a strong signal that he’s understanding and appreciative (of the) economic value of heritage.”

Phil Martin said he was not aware of any buildings in “immediate” danger of being demolished – but he warned property owners against exploiting a window of opportunity, while the debate over the buildings rages, to knock the buildings down while they have the chance.

“It isn’t uncommon in these circumstances where there’s a window of opportunity for these buildings to be demolished.

“I would urge each and every one of these institutions to not demolish – and behave sensibly and responsibly until those who want to preserve those buildings have exhausted every last opportunity to save them.”

He said one of the buildings had been a school, before being used as a hospital during World War I, and then as a training facility for soldiers, and later, Lutheran missionaries.

The buildings have been protected by an interim heritage listing which expires this month as a result of Knoll’s decision.

Area councillor Sandy Wilkinson said the heritage listing was part of a quid pro quo with the former Government in negotiations with the council about the North Adelaide Large Institutions and Colleges development plan amendment.

Wilkinson said he was “appalled” when he read about Knoll’s decision.

“Any member of the public looking at these buildings will assume that they are (protected),” he said.

“The minister has been poorly advised.”

He said the decision was out of step with community expectations and that he would seek a meeting with Knoll this week to try and persuade him to change his mind.

“I would hope that by discussing this with him we would be able to enlighten him about the (heritage value) of listing these properties.

However, Knoll said he believed that the North Adelaide historic conservation zone was sufficient to ensure the buildings remain standing.

“I have received advice from SCAP (the State Commission Assessment Panel) that there was insufficient merit to warrant granting these buildings heritage status,” he told InDaily in a statement this morning.

Correction: Knoll’s office had insisted, prior to the publication of this story, that the SCAP was the body that made the assessment. But a spokesperson this afternoon clarified that it was, in fact, the Planning Commission that made the assessment.

“I’m very confident that the North Adelaide historic conservation zone will appropriately safeguard these buildings,” said Knoll.

“I am working with the department and Adelaide City Council to remove any ambiguity about the ability of institutions to expand their footprint as a result of the North Adelaide Large Institutions and Colleges DPA.”

Haese said he took heart from Knoll’s comments about the DPA which he believed would threaten to transform North Adelaide into a suburb dominated by institutions rather than residences.

“That will change the face of North Adelaide if that’s not (amended),” he said.

“That is an absolutely critical matter.

“I look forward to hearing the minister’s views on how he’s going to address the deficiencies of that DPA.”

Haese said the DPA – which the council had negotiated with the former Government on the basis that it only involved 11 sites in North Adelaide – has been drafted in a way that would potentially allow more than 100 properties adjoining or “associated with” those institutions to be bought and knocked down as well.

He said Calvary Hospital had bought a house on Ward Street that had gained but later lost its heritage listing – in unclear circumstances – and that it could be demolished under the rules of the DPA.

He stressed that his council’s heritage advocacy did not mean it was “anti-development”.

“People occasionally attempt to criticise a pro-heritage stance as an anti-development stance – and I think that’s utter hogwash,” he said.

“There’s enormous unrealised economic and tourism value in South Australia’s heritage buildings, and there’s ample development opportunities on other sites.”

CEO of the National Trust of South Australia Dr Darren Peacock said the Government’s planning assessment bodies operated behind closed doors on matters of public interest.

“SCAP (see correction above) is not really transparent and accountable to anyone other than the minister,” he said.

“It isn’t clear how these assessment processes are happening in the new SCAP body.”

He said the only information he had about the decision was from InDaily’s story on the subject last Friday.

Peacock said the value in heritage was not so much in individual buildings but in the sum of all of the historical buildings in an area, that contribute to its character.

“The collective is greater than the sum of the parts,” he said.

Although: “Each of the buildings has merit in its own right”.


In Sydney, the question of preserving the city’s rich heritage is approached very seriously by the Sydney City Council. Confronted with the ‘destruction through neglect’ method of ensuring demolition of heritage listed buildings, the council has developed an innovative approach offering the exchange of ‘floor space’ in other buildings as well as implementing compulsory repairs to neglected Heritage buildings. This article from the Sydney Morning Herald goes some way to explaining the process.

Innovative techniques needed to protect heritage buildings

Battles around which buildings should be placed on Sydney’s heritage list show an increasing awareness of the value of its built environment. But for many buildings listing is only the start of the battle.

Listing can save buildings from a developer’s wrecking ball but without maintenance they are vulnerable to vandalism, decay and fire. The owners are the ones who must shoulder the cost of repairing the bad plumbing and fixing the rotten beams.

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Mark Goggin, Sydney Living Museums director outside Hyde Park Barracks.

Love will only go so far. To help maintain significant heritage buildings governments need to help out. The Herald reported on Tuesday on one of the better established schemes developed by the City of Sydney Council to try to encourage owners to maintain their buildings but it underlines that more needs to be done.

Faced with scores of decrepit heritage buildings, the City of Sydney council, starting in the 1970s, set up a system where in exchange for doing repairs or improvements, the owners would be given the rights to build extra floor space and they were allowed to sell these rights to developers elsewhere in the CBD.

Sydney Living Museums, formerly known as the Historic Houses Trust of NSW, has just set a record for a deal where it has sold floor space credits worth $20 million in recognition of its program to preserve the UNESCO-listed Hyde Park Barracks on Macquarie Street and create a world class interactive exhibition. In exchange, developers have bought the right to add about 12,700 square metres of floor space at sites around the city.

The system has generally worked well. Heritage buildings, including Railway House on York Street next to Wynyard Station to the Commonwealth Bank Building on Pitt Street, have done similar deals in the recent past but this is the biggest.

The scheme should be welcomed as a smart way of making the developers who are profiting from the transformation of the CBD pay a share of the costs of preserving the past.

Yet this system only applies to the CBD. In other areas, more needs to be done to help owners keep up their heritage buildings.

The local area plans of most councils include rules which relax planning restrictions for developers who agree to preserve heritage buildings on their site.

That probably helps protect buildings in the Sydney metropolitan areas and encourages so-called adaptive reuse where old schools or churches are incorporated into apartment developments or retirement villages. But it also creates the risk that the developer is allowed to over-develop the surrounding site. Some care is still needed to maintain the integrity of the heritage building.

It also does little for historic buildings, mostly outside the metropolitan area in rural areas and regional towns, which are of little interest to developers but which are just as expensive to preserve.

Some countries offer much more generous rules to help conservation. Britain has a Heritage Lottery Fund which pays for preservation of heritage buildings and in the US developers receive federal tax credits for approved work on historic buildings.

The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage must carry the burden of funding local initiatives to protect these sites. Since it has just saved $20 million that it would have had to spend on restoring Hyde Park Barracks it should have more funds to pay for other heritage buildings which are at risk.


In Melbourne we do not seem to have moved past punitive action on those who would transgress Heritage sites through demolition or non-permitted alterations. The Victorian Government now also prosecutes neglect in a similar fashion to the NSW Government. Neglected buildings of Heritage Status are compulsorily repaired at the owner’s expense to prevent ‘destruction through neglect’ style demolitions.

However, looking at the Corkman fiasco (The Corkman Hotel Carlton), the proposed St Vincent’s Hospital demolitions of historic buildings, the Armadale and Kew demolitions of historic Victorian homes and the senseless demolitions of the Greyhound and London Hotels, Heritage Listing is not a failsafe. Firstly, it’s a slow process, too slow – and Heritage Victoria is underfunded. Secondly, there isn’t really an overriding Heritage Strategy.

Such a strategy needs to be a National strategy. It needs to be adequately funded and based on intelligent premises, with real regard for architectural, social and cultural history and heritage values.

Frankly, sanctions should be of such a nature that if someone (corporation or individuals) illegally demolishes a heritage listed building or construction, the fines or action required should equate the land value – and the cost of a reconstruction. This is the case in Britain.

It’s up to our Politicians to work cooperatively with the National Trust and various Heritage Councils to make sure such treasures are fully protected. Right now many Heritage Listings date from the 1980s and ’90s with few updates occurring. It’s time for across the board Heritage action – from all levels of Government and all industry participants. Because – as was stated once again in the Adelaide article…

“When it’s gone, it’s gone”

And that, friends, is just not good enough.

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Balance Architecture recognises the importance of the preservation of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.

The ES&A Bank Building, Moonee Ponds – Restored and Revitalised by Balance Architecture

Not everyone has the opportunity to create a unique business destination in a century old bank. In recent articles we have admired the extraordinary banking chambers created from the mid 1880s until as late as 1926 by the ES&A Banking Group (now merged into the ANZ Banking Group). Some time ago, the banking group sold off the then ‘Moonee Ponds’ branch which was located on Bank St Ascot Vale, cnr of Mt Alexander Rd. Balance Architecture had the task of restoring it to its original glory.

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The new owner chose to utilise this remarkable building to operate a business consultancy from. The concept was not to ‘gut’ the place and rebuild internally, rather it was decided to focus on the fine detail of the original construction and return it to its former glory. Often the ES&A Bank buildings have a course of tiling placed just above the window levels, with the individual tiles crafted for the bank with its colours and icons. This building did not but the livery has been expressed above the arched windows and with the internal colour scheme.


Andrew Fedorowicz, principal architect for Balance Architecture and Interior Design wanted to capture the unique look and feel of this fine craftsmanship throughout the building. Inside the decorative dado stencils and original colour schemes finish the truly authentic feel of this magnificent building.


Rich mahogany timbers, brass fittings and the elegant furniture of the times compliment the superb interior design. Beautiful plaster wall mouldings and ceiling rosettes feature throughout the building. From the roadside the multifaceted mitred façade is set off by the intricate brickwork and upper circular windows.


The boardroom with its elegant marble fireplace, full gilded mirror and high ceiling in soft period wallpapers is simply breathtaking. Resplendent in deep greens, featuring a genuine period chandelier, the corporate colours of the old bank certainly live again.


When selecting an architect, its more than sensible to choose the architect sensitive to both your immediate needs and the living heritage of the building you have chosen to live in, work in or redevelop. Nothing can replace real experience. It is particularly true with Heritage buildings. Andrew Fedorowicz has spent a lifetime working on Heritage buildings (as well as many other projects) and is superbly positioned to assist you in the development of your project. He is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects, a lifetime achievement.

Whether it’s a modern interior that transforms an older property into a genuine luxury abode with the space and comfort you desire, or it’s a combination of both true heritage and today’s living spaces, consult with Balance Architecture and Interior Design to achieve the end result that will satisfy your aspirations. The result is a property both liveable and entirely beautiful in the simplicity of its design.


Call now on 0418 341 443 to speak directly with Andrew today. Make an appointment for a free, no-obligation consultation. Alternatively call 03 8696 9700 and arrange a time suitable to suit your needs. Leave your details here [Contact link] for a prompt reply.

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Balance Architecture recognises the importance of the preservation of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.

Dartmoor Police Station moved to Port Fairy – Glenelg Shire Heritage Overlay ignored by Victorian Police.

The Dartmoor Police Station, a historic building listed on the Victorian Heritage Database, would appear to have been ‘illegally’ moved from its Dartmoor site to Port Fairy. Dartmoor is located within the boundaries of the Glenelg Shire Council. Port Fairy os located within the Moyne Shire boundaries. No permit was issued for the building’s demolition by Glenelg Shire Council, in fact the shire issued a cease works notice on Friday the 7th of June. Moyne Shire Council had separately issued a permit for the property for use as a dwelling.


It’s a confusing story, but it seems obvious that Victoria Police have ignored both the Heritage Listing by the Shire of Glenelg, and the Shire’s cease works order of the 7th of June.

Let’s put this in context. Here is the Victorian Heritage Database ‘Statement of Significance’…

The Dartmoor Police Station complex was completed in 1892. The new residence, stable and lock-up replaced the first police station in Dartmoor, close to the existing station, which had opened in 1862 and operated intermittently during the 1860s and 1870s, and the new site was reserved in 1884. The architectural drawings for the new residence and the stable were signed by HJM (J H Marsden) and also JHB (J H Brabin) and HRB (H R Bastow) of the Public Works Department. The first constable in the new station, the mounted trooper Constable Moore, was responsible for an area covering 650 square miles (almost 1700 square kilometres). In 1930 tenders were let for the renovation of the residence, and an additional office was added to the side of the original one. A new residence adjacent to the old one was built in the late 1980s, and the 1930s office was demolished in 1990. Plans to remove the rest of the residence and the stable at that time did not go ahead. A new police station was built in front of the stable in 2006.

The Dartmoor Police Station complex comprises a police residence with an office, a two-stall stable and forage store, and a small lockup. The residence is a single storey double-fronted timber building with a corrugated iron roof, and a projecting gable and a verandah across the front. The former office is in a small room on one end of the front verandah. The residence had a parlour and dining room off one side of a central passage and two bedrooms opening off the other side, and at the rear a kitchen and a pantry opened off a small back verandah. Minor alterations have been made at the rear with the addition of a bathroom and an opening made between the kitchen and the adjacent room. The two-stall stable and forage store is a timber building with a corrugated iron gable roof and a brick cobble floor. It was later used as a garage. A roller door has been added to the entrance and the horse stall partitions and feed boxes have been removed. The portable lock-up is a timber lock-up typical of many that were distributed through remote country areas in the late nineteenth century.

The Dartmoor Police Station is architecturally significant at a local level as an intact police complex of the early 1890s, comprising a police residence with an attached office, a two-stall stable and forage store, and a portable lock-up. It is historically significant at a local level as a demonstration of police practices in the remote parts of Victoria in the late nineteenth century, when the police office was responsible for policing a large area and was dependent on his horses for transport.

Construction date: 1892


Again, the situation is that the building had been ‘recommended for Heritage Overlay’, a limbo that often sees demolition occur before the Heritage Council of Victoria can inspect a building and report on its findings. But in this case no permit for demolition was authorised so the demolition was in fact illegal.

The ABC reported on the matter on Saturday June 15th. For your information here is the report…

Dartmoor residents angry with Victoria Police over ‘theft’ of heritage-listed police station


Residents of the small south-west Victorian town of Dartmoor are up in arms over the “theft” of their historic former police station.

The heritage-listed building was relocated by Victoria Police despite a council order demanding works be stopped due to a lack of appropriate permits.

Built in 1892, the former police station was the subject of a community campaign in the early 2000s to save it from demolition.

But about two weeks ago, residents noticed contractors were working at the empty building, which was located next to the new police station built in 2009.

Half of the building was put on a truck and taken to a residential block on the fringes of Port Fairy, just over 100 kilometres away.


Key points:

  • The original 1890s Dartmoor police station has been relocated by truck. Only one half of the building was initially taken
  • Glenelg Shire Council issued a cease-works notice to Victoria Police but the rest of the building was relocated in the early ours of Tuesday morning
  • Victoria Police say the building has not been sold and are working with council to find a “community-based” solution

No permits issued

Dartmoor District Museum proprietor, Michael Greenham, said he and other residents assumed the Department of Justice had “managed to rescind [the] heritage overlays … so that whatever they were doing was above board”.

But the bush telegraph started to suggest things were not above board, and Mr Greenham contacted Glenelg Shire Council.

A Glenelg Shire Council representative told Mr Greenham on Friday, June 7 that shire officers had left a message with the contractors and spoke with Victoria Police to issue a formal cease-works notice.

No permits had been issued for the heritage-listed building to be removed.

However when Dartmoor residents woke on Tuesday, June 11 the remaining half of the police station had also gone.

“It seems like it was either deliberate or ignorance,” Mr Greenham said.

“To have it quietly disappear — and the second half went before light early on Tuesday morning — it seemed a little bit too deliberate.”

Police put their case

Victoria Police is understood to have lodged a retrospective permit application, according to Glenelg Shire Council.

A police spokesperson said it did not receive a cease-work notice from the council.

“The old police station has not been sold, however it was recently relocated to a rural property in Western Victoria,” the spokesperson said.

“This was approved based on a 2009 report which stated that no planning overlays were in place for the site.”

The police spokesperson said that Victoria Police was actively working with the council to “mediate a community-based solution”.

The former police station and its nearby lock-up and stables, which remain on the block, were gazetted by Heritage Victoria in 2014.

The heritage organisation’s report described the former police station as:

“Architecturally significant at a local level as an intact police complex of the early 1890s … [and] historically significant at a local level as a demonstration of police practices in the remote parts of Victoria in the late nineteenth century.”

‘A bit of subterfuge’

Mr Greenham said the empty building “was always a bit of burden” for Victoria Police.

“Their main role isn’t to look after heritage buildings,” he said.

“They’ve got to man the streets and keep us safe.”

But Mr Greenham described the “theft” of the historic police station as “a little bit of subterfuge”.

“I reckon if I did something like that then Victoria Police would be down on me like a tonne of the demolished chimney bricks that are still sitting on site,” he said.

“It would indicate they didn’t want to go through that public process because they might have encountered some opposition to their plans.

“We could have easily come up with other alternatives; relocating it within the town, offering for public display somewhere else within our police district.”


A painting of the former police station by David Williams in 2004


The case highlights the inherent weaknesses of the current Heritage classification system. By applying for a heritage classification, Councils can freeze the issue of demolition permits. However with only limited staff, a full classification by the Heritage Council of Victoria can take up to 2 years.

In this case, there has been seemingly blatant disregard of the Glenelg Shire’s Heritage Overlay recommendation and the order to cease works. Police claim that they did not receive the cease work notice. This would seem to be an improbable claim.

The 1892 weatherboard building had been vacant for 10 years. It had been deemed ‘unsafe’ and ‘unfit for renovation’ (It’s not clear who made these declarations).

We conclude with an excerpt from the report by local newspaper for South West Victoria ‘The Standard’…

A council spokeswoman said the building, which is included in the council’s planning scheme heritage overlay, was removed from the Wapling Avenue address without council permission.

“A planning permit is required to remove or demolish a building, irrespective of size,” the spokeswoman said.

The 1892 weatherboard building was vacant in Dartmoor for 10 years and was deemed unsafe and unfit for renovation.

But the council attempted to stop the removal and issued Victoria Police and on-site contractors with a cease-works notice on Friday June 7.

“Council is still investigating the matter to consider appropriate enforcement actions and restitution,” the spokeswoman said.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman refuted that police received the cease-works notice and said a planning application had been lodged for the property’s address.

“The old police station has not been sold, however it was recently relocated to a rural property in Western Victoria,” she said.

“In relation to concerns raised by local residents, Victoria Police is actively working with Glenelg Shire Council to mediate a community-based solution.”

Moyne Shire Council planning manager Robyn Olsen said the council had granted a permit for the building to be moved onto private property in Port Fairy for use as a dwelling.

“Council was aware that the building was the old Dartmoor police station and have been in contact with Glenelg Shire for the planning permit information. There is a current building permit for the re-erection of the building,” Ms Olsen said.

It’s the principle that the application of the law in heritage terms should apply to everybody, and ignorance is no excuse.
Dartmoor District Museum’s Michael Greenham

Glenelg Shire mayor Anita Rank said it was “extremely disappointing” the council’s planning processes and heritage overlay had been disregarded.

“It’s relevant to its area of (original) location,” Cr Rank said of the structure.

“It’s of significance with regards to the history of law enforcement in Dartmoor and they have a very strong historical group up there who deem it significant.”

Dartmoor District Museum’s Michael Greenham said he believed the building had been sold and the community were disappointed with the principle of the sale.

“It’s the principle that the application of the law in heritage terms should apply to everybody, and ignorance is no excuse,” Mr Greenham said.

“It was bought as a dwelling from the house removalist and to my understanding (the buyer) is unaware of its significance.”

He said while the community had treasured the building, he believed there was little support for the building to be returned unless the town could put it to use.


In plain English, a house removalist has purchased and sold this historic building to an unwitting buyer.

This simply isn’t good enough. The buyer ends up with half a house, the township of Dartmoor loses it’s historic building, and the State of Victoria’s heritage is diminished once again.

There needs to be significant state-wide punitive measures put in place. In the UK if you illegally demolish a heritage building then you will be required to rebuild it to its original state and condition.

This plus much heavier fines may stop the cowboys of this world wreaking destruction on the valuable heritage of our state.

“It’s the principal that the application of the law in heritage terms should apply to everybody, and ignorance is no excuse.” – Dartmoor District Museum’s Michael Greenham.

We agree with Mr Greenham. This was an appalling blunder and quite simply the responsible parties should be held to account. Heritage values cannot be continually undermined by expedience, developers and profiteers.

It really is time to strengthen Heritage controls and prosecute those who disregard them.

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Balance Architecture recognises the importance of the preservation of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.

Heritage wins! VCAT reject Developers appeal in Albert Park.

Sometimes the answer to a vexed question is obvious. In the case of the building on the corner of Victoria Ave and Merton St Albert Park, the proposed development – No. 1 Victoria Ave – was simply incongruous with its surrounds, the elegant Victorian Terraces of the late 19th Century and the Heritage overlay for the Albert Park precinct. Port Phillip Council has argued this in originally rejecting the proposed development before its promoters, the Saade Group appealed to VCAT.


Dr Alexander Aitchison, the great-grandfather of a past resident, in front of the building.

1 Victoria Ave Albert Park was the home and studios of renowned Australian Filmmaker Paul Cox. As can be seen from the early photo compared to the current state of the building, it has lost some of its lustre. But as was led in evidence at VCAT, the building is structurally sound, with only some minor cracking.


The Port Phillip Council, the National Trust, and more importantly the people of Albert Park considered it worth saving and acted to ensure the glass monstrosity proposed to replace it would not proceed. It was an entirely inappropriate development.

The original blog on the subject dated Feb 12th 2019 gives a well rounded picture of what was proposed and the objections raised. The result in VCAT vindicates the community’s position.

From The Age, June 12th.

Albert Park residents thrilled as VCAT rules in their favour on former home of Paul Cox


In scenes worthy of celebrated filmmaker Paul Cox’s own classic masterpiece Lust and Revenge, Albert Park residents are celebrating their own payback on the developer who wanted to demolish Mr Cox’s much-loved studios.

After raising $35,000 through crowd-funding, and collecting more than 1000 signatures protesting against a plan to replace the landmark 1880s two-storey corner building with much bigger “glass monstrosity”, they have managed to defeat the developer’s appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

They’re now also hailing the verdict as giving hope to others all around Melbourne who want to halt redevelopment unsympathetic to heritage streetscapes.


Locals rallied last year to protect the building from redevelopment.

“This decision is of great benefit to residents who, within heritage precincts, are fighting to prevent unsympathetic redevelopments of significant heritage buildings,” said local lawyer Peter Kenny, who’s been involved in the campaign to halt the proposal by The Saade Group to knock down the late Mr Cox’s home and offices in Victoria Avenue.

“Too often, planning decisions have been made without regard to any redevelopment being sympathetic to the surrounding streetscape. A streetscape of two-storey Victorian terraces should not have an ugly, modernistic four-storey building imposed within it.

“This decision will give great comfort to all residents within heritage precincts who wish to have their heritage streetscapes respected and preserved, and all architects and town planners need to take note.”

The Saade Group wanted to demolish the existing standalone building on the prominent island site in the heritage precinct, which had been remodelled in the 1920s and 1930s and owned by Mr Cox. It applied to put in its place a four-storey block containing seven apartments, a 100-seat restaurant, two shops and a basement car park.


The developers’ render of what its proposed project would have looked like.

“We are not satisfied that the replacement building displays the necessary level of design excellence to justify demolition of the existing building,” VCAT members John Bennett and Juliette Halliday ruled this week. “For this reason, we would not issue a permit for the demolition of the building.”

The receptionist at the offices of The Saade Group, which bought the 500-square-metre site for $5.67 million, said no one was available to comment.

But in Albert Park, the judgment is being celebrated.

“It’s absolutely wonderful, we’re still so shocked that we’ve won,” said one local, Brigid Niall.

“It’s the most incredible outcome and we want to thank everyone who put in their own money to save the building. When the council turned down the development application and then the developer appealed to VCAT, we hired our own lawyers and expert witnesses to fight them, as well as the council’s case. It’s a great win.”

Port Phillip council rejected the application after engineering consultants Irwin Consult found only some minor cracking within the building.

The National Trust of Australia (Victoria) also objected to the planned demolition, saying it was important to protect and conserve all significant and contributory heritage places within the area’s heritage overlay – mostly consisting of rows of double-storey Victorian residential shops, single-storey Victorian shops, terraces and Edwardian and inter-war shops.

Several tenants of the building were given notice by the developer, leaving only a handful operating from the premises.

The developer could now submit alternative plans for a replacement building but, to stand any chance of success, it would need to be smaller, with possibly fewer levels, and be more in keeping with its neighbours.

“But with a different size and design, I can’t see it would be financially viable,” said another of the Don’t Destroy Albert Park campaign organisers, Amber Moore. “We now know that the only way it can be demolished is if another design that’s put up that’s of ‘architectural excellence’.

“But for now we’re all in a little bit of shock and disbelief that the decision has been made in our favour. We’ve spent so much time looking at the building, wondering what was going to happen, and hoping that glass monstrosity wouldn’t be put there. We’re absolutely thrilled to bits.”


With hindsight, this conflict gives an interesting focus on redeveloping heritage buildings or indeed any developments proposed in Heritage overlay areas. Far more thought and consideration must be given as to how such iconic buildings can be redeveloped or modernised. In this case the developers didn’t even offer the pretence of a façade of the original building.




When developers purchase a property in such areas, they are aware of the constraints such listings present. It requires a far more incisive and intelligent planning phase that looks to provide a built to purpose facility with a significant return on investment over an extended future period.

A built to purpose renovation could provide good returns without resorting to inappropriate and expansive quick return development.

As the article states, this result provides a precedent that should be firmly understood by all Developers in Heritage listed areas. Heritage is valued. Don’t trifle with it. People value their history, their environment and the places they choose to live and work.

Heritage will be, must be preserved. Congratulations to the Albert Park community, we thank you.

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Balance Architecture recognises the importance of the preservation of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.

Heritage – It’s Worth Preserving and Protecting.

This week the Corkman Saga has gone decidedly quiet. When the Victorian Government announced its compromise deal with the property developers Raman Shaqiri and Stefce Kutlesovski, there was unquestionably massive outrage. For most people, the very idea that someone can knock down a heritage listed building with total impunity is just outrageous.

There is a groundswell of opinion crystallising right now that the developers should be forced to forfeit the land to the statutory authorities – the Victorian Government and the City of Melbourne. The simple fact is they “broke the law” as opposition Spokesman on Planning Tim Smith has stated.


Any proposed forcible acquisition of the land will no doubt be costly given the punitive actions already taken by the current Government and the City of Melbourne. But in terms of establishing precedent, the Government simply cannot acquiesce to these developers. By not upholding heritage values here it opens the door to further rogue actions.

For your interest, here is the most recent article from the Age Newspaper, dated June 1st.

Push for state to forcibly acquire Corkman site from cowboy developers

Planning experts and the state opposition have demanded Planning Minister Richard Wynne compulsorily acquire Carlton’s Corkman pub site from the developers that illegally demolished the hotel.

They say the land could be taken by the state for its value as an undeveloped site, at millions less than the cost of its commercial value as a development prospect.

But Mr Wynne says compulsory acquisition would require the land to be purchased at its highest possible value – meaning it would cost Victorian taxpayers millions.

Screen Shot 2019-06-07 at 1.06.11 pm.jpg

Two and a half years after the Corkman was razed, the site is still full of rubble covered with tarpaulins and old tyres.

Mr Wynne and Melbourne City Council this week struck a deal with Raman Shaqiri and Stefce Kutlesovski, developers who knocked down the Corkman Irish Pub.

Under Mr Wynne’s deal, they must build a park on the site by November and can then redevelop part of the site up to 12 storeys.

The razed pub was built in 1858 and covered by heritage rules that restricted its redevelopment.

Screen Shot 2019-06-07 at 1.07.18 pm.jpg

The Corkman Irish pub in Carlton, built in 1858, as it was until it was illegally demolished in 2016.

Rather than work through the planning system to pull down the building, Kutlesovski and Shaqiri – who bought the pub in 2015 for $4.76 million – instead turned up one weekend in 2016 and simply bowled it over. The site has since sat fenced off and covered in rubble ever since.

Despite being fined almost $2 million dollars for their illegal actions (they are appealing the severity of these fines), the pair could still turn a profit by re-developing or selling the site.

As a development opportunity, the site was valued at $8-10 million in 2016.

Opposition planning spokesman Tim Smith demanded Mr Wynne take the land off the pair immediately: “They broke the law, they must not profit from doing so.”

Screen Shot 2019-05-30 at 3.30.14 pm copy

Developer Raman Shaqiri and his partner razed the historic hotel illegally.

Soon after the Corkman was demolished, Mr Wynne told Parliament the government would act to send a message “that you cannot snub your nose at heritage in this state”.

But Mr Smith said the planning minister had failed to keep his word, and must now send “a clear message that destroying heritage buildings will not be a profitable business in Victoria”.

He said while he would not normally advocate for forced acquisition, the flagrant disregard for heritage made it a special case.

Melbourne University geographer and planner Kate Shaw said under section 172 of the Planning and Environment Act the government could compulsorily acquire the land at its current, undeveloped value.

Screen Shot 2019-05-30 at 3.30.39 pm copy

Stefce Kutlesovski was the other developer involved in unlawfully knocking down the Corkman.

“It would send a very clear message that developers cannot get away with this nonsense, and the minister can legally acquire the site at its current, undeveloped value.”

Dr Shaw, an expert on international planning schemes, said “this kind of behaviour, particularly in northern Europe, simply would not be tolerated”.

A spokeswoman for Mr Wynne said the government’s deal with the developers meant they would rehabilitate the site so it can be used as a park. They could then “only build on with ministerial approval, following consultation,” she said.

Melbourne Law School lecturer Brad Jessup said the government could forcibly acquire the land but because of past threats to punish the developers would likely be forced to pay more.

Rod Duncan is an experienced planner who has advised previous planning ministers. He said the deal Mr Wynne had cut with the Corkman’s owners appeared to be “waving the white flag to rogue developers”.

He said the planning act gave the minister “formidable power” to unilaterally change controls, and could be used to send “clear messages to offenders and reassure the public”.

“Any outcome that rewards, rather than rebukes, the offenders sets a dangerous precedent.”


On another note, several weeks ago we were considering the preservation and restoration of the former ES&A Bank building on Clarendon St South Melbourne (Cnr of Bank Street.)

Principal Architect for Balance Architecture and Interior Design, Andrew Fedorowicz, previously supervised the refurbishment of the Moonee Ponds branch of the same bank we featured in the images supporting the story. It provides a great illustration of just how such a building can be restored to its former glory. In this case, the former bank was converted to an upmarket business premises.

It is worth noting that the heritage decor it timeless and the property has continued to appreciate in value remarkably compared to other real estate available in the same market sector.

Here for your viewing pleasure are images of the project.

Heritage isn’t a peculiar hobby for bored historically inclined people. It’s the genesis of our society, the look, the feel, the fabric of our great city and states – the vistas we look out upon day by day. It’s a reminder of our past yet much of it was designed to last for millennia.

Heritage values and protection – the buildings, the locations, the lavish and not so lavish interiors we need to protect for posterity, for future generations. It is simply non-negotiable.

We commend the National Trust and the Heritage Council of Victoria for their ongoing work in both protecting our valuable heritage and in making much of it available to the public.

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Balance Architecture recognises the importance of the preservation of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.