How to Select a Heritage Home to Restore in Victoria | Heritage Building Consultant

bluestone-restoration-melbourne-victoriaWhen looking to restore any aging or dilapidated house or building, heritage or period home, there are several key factors that need to be considered when selecting the future project which should help keep costs down and ensure successful project turnaround.


As any building contractor will tell you, if it doesn’t have a good roof, think twice about buying it.

Roofing can be expensive with costs for complete replacement looking more like someone’s annual income–but this is not the only issue. If the structure has been exposed to weather, years without protection, then you would be right to assume that everything underneath will be more expensive to fix or replace.


One of the major causes of building failure, foundations are integral for the protection of the buildings’ structure. Without good conditions below, the above suffers in return; leading to uneven floors, door frame misalignment, cracking of masonry walls, plaster and reinforced concrete slabs; the list goes on…

This is even more important for aging properties which have been constructed utilising older forms of building methodology, i.e.- Stone Ballast, Mass Brick Footing, &c.

A good example of the idea behind mass gravity footings. Nothing new found here!

At the time of construction, the site was ‘preloaded’, typically by stone or sand/aggregate to ensure compaction of the subfooting soil. This was also a naturally occurring bi-product of working stone onsite which, due to being made from hand-hewn stone, usually took years if not decades to complete. By the time the structure had commenced construction, the site would have seen several hundred or thousands of tonnes of preloading.

When selecting a project, get professional inspection and geotech arranged to ensure soil conditions. Also, keep an eye out for large trees in the vicinity of the building.

Old Buildings + Old Trees = Footing Failure

For further information, please fee free to get in touch.




A New Entrance for a Victorian Terrace Restoration | Property Renovations | Melbourne


Old Victorian Terraces are hot property. As a very popular renovation project, most who set out to restore or renovate Victorian-styled Terraces, such as the one pictured below (and after, as above), often do so without clear planning. We can help with that.

A Prime Real Estate Target: An old Victorian Terrace awaiting renovation.
Renovations of Porch or Front Verandah Areas are one of the best ways to cost effectively alter the appeal of the terrace unit.

However, the freedom to alter your own verandah or balcony for that matter can be subject to scrutiny by the Strata Team, if required. Check out for more information.

Heritage Impact Assessments: Assess, Restore and Protect Aging VIC Structures & Buildings


When considering larger scale repair, renovation or redesign of the heritage building fabric, as part of our heritage planning and building consultancy services, we offer thorough investigation and reporting including, but not limited to;

  • Heritage Building Assessments and Condition Reports,
  • Heritage Impact Statements,
  • Structural Engineering,
  • Cultural Heritage Management Plans and,
  • Archaeological Investigations Services.

As a full-circle service approach, our tri-phase restoration platform basis of ASSESS – RESTORE – PROTECT, we endeavour to provide our clients with a complete service that ensure accurate and transparent pricing, excellent service delivered by experienced and industry-recognised specialised staff and a well-maintained building envelope long into the future.

Stadiums, Venues & Civil Structures | Concrete Repair | Expansion Joints #VICRestorations


As a traditionally-founded, professional restoration firm, we pride ourselves on our heritage and period works, but this alone does not define us.

As experts in repair & restoration, through the utilisation of our knowledge of structures, combined with vast experience in engineered products, we deliver remedial and restorative works on civil structures such as shopping centres, car parking facilities, stone, brick and concrete bridges, retaining walls of all sizes, wharves, tanks and silos.

Our expertise also spreads into the public sector stadium/ venue/ arena industries with previous projects such as this one (shown above) at the Old Perth Stadium or this video showing one of our Bridge Expansion Joint Systems, installed the night prior, taking vehicular traffic.

We also provide investigative & design services, and comprehensive building condition reports. Please contact us should you require quality project services.

Designing custom options for new public projects; we provided customised product solutions for the John Holland Group new Perth Childrens’ Hospital project.



Classical Architecture: The Dentil

Newly restored, an example of Australian Sandstone Georgian/ Colonial Dentils shown under the top cornice molding.

Deriving from ‘dens’ (Lat.)  meaning ‘tooth’, the ‘Dentil’ has embellished and adorned many different periods and styles of cornice moldings. From Romanesque design through the ages, the Dentil, as opposed to it’s relative the “corbel”, serve various functions. Whilst Corbels disperse some load (weight) from the stone, typically cantilevered above– transferring it back into the building– Dentil’s are mostly ornamental and are, therefore, non-load bearing (non-structural) facade design elements.


As the architectural periods varied, Dentil design, for the most part, remained fairly uniform. This is exemplified by the use of Dentil design elements in Romanesque design also being used later in the Art Deco period of the 1920’s.

Here, shown above the medium relief Art Deco frieze, an ‘inverted’ Dentil, used to enhance visual depth in the building facade.


Lime Mortar Design: The Original Expansion Joint

Lime Ribbon Pointing on Bluestone. Not only used for it’s aesthetic properties, lime mortar allows for flexibility within the stone building.

Lime Mortar has been used for over 6000 years. The pyramids of Giza are plastered with it. Castles throughout the world, buildings of all size and stature, all share one thing: Lime Mortar. Typically generated through the decomposition of seashells early on, the process of ‘slaking’ limestone by way of kiln/fire came about at a later stage.

As it was noted for it’s inherent abilities for adherence and flexibility, lime mortar has not only been used in stone building in order to bond stones together within the wall matrix but it also serves as an expansion joint; allowing for movement within the wall without destroying the stone itself. The following picture indicates natural deformation of a bluestone masonry wall where settlement or foundation failure has occurred to a minor degree.

Foundation failure is common in old stone buildings. Without concrete footings, these stone buildings generally relied on larger stone (ballast) placed directly on top of natural soil.

With this inherent movement capability, lime mortar design is a key factor in the restoration, conservation and preservation of these buildings.

In relationship to mortar’s cementitious (cement/ oxide) component, Lime, when used in traditional mortar mixes for laying and pointing stone, should always outweigh the amount of cement used.

Lime is still used in today’s concrete design as a plasticizer although chemical dispersants are becoming more predominate as they are more cost effective.


Need Slate Roofing repairs and replacement throughout Victoria? Contact mason & maker

Aesthetically superior and durable, 400 x 200mm Grey Slate with black terracotta ridge cap. Notice the extended tiles on either end to provide further durability. Slate Roofing should last 150 years.

The use of slate roofing stems back to sometime around 700 AD. The roman empire had also increased the use of Welsh Slate, quarried in Northern Wales.

Slate roofing is incredibly durable and typically lasts over a century. When considering the minimal maintenance applied to these stone shingle roofs, if one should apply modern coating technologies to the natural stone, the slate, in all theoretical and practical terms, should last longer now.

Chipped edge 500 x 250mm Graphite Black and Grey roofing slate pictured together. Durable and aesthetically superior to clay, slate roofs last centuries.


Patch or Indent? Deciding Stone Repair Method on Sandstone Monument

Sandstone Tympanum Soffit showing some deterioration due to weather/ pollution.

When looking to restore a stone monument or structure that is aging and in need of repair, one must assess several key factors.

First and foremost is public safety. The sandstone soffit face shows that this is still quite a sizeable stone.  In saying this, you can see the visible exfoliation underneath from water damage. The outermost edge also looks quite thin so in this case it would be wise to indent stone.

Other cases may not be so risky and you will be able to patch with mortar repair. You can expect a good lime-based mortar patch to last quite a long time. Obviously, just not as long as replacement with new stone.