What I Do & How Much It Costs

Heritage Impact Assessments (H.I.A.)

Heritage Impact Assessments provide expert insight to planning professionals on the impact of proposed changes upon a heritage property. Two primary scenarios prevail.

Scenario #1: A client wants to build a new office building next to an historical church. The church is either designated under the Ontario Heritage Act or listed on a Register or part of a Heritage District. In any of these cases a planning authority might ask for an H.I.A.

Scenario #2: A client owns a building listed on the Register, designated, or part of a Heritage District under the Ontario Heritage Act. The client wishes to add some rooms to the building.

In both scenarios the planning authorities need to know if the proposed work will complement or detract from the character-defining attributes and values of the heritage resource in question. In simpler terms, will the new office building (scenario #1) enhance or detract from the appearance and effect of the church? Will the proposed addition (scenario #2) improve or lessen the cultural heritage value of the subject house? Answering these questions is the essence of an H.I.A.

However, before these questions can be answered a number of factors have to be in place. One must examine, analyze, and interpret how the existing heritage resource is working and transmitting its cultural value. More prosaically, one uses the criteria set out in Ontario Regulation 9/06 to arrive at an understanding of what the property is and how it embodies value before assessing the impact of proposed work. Thus, much of the initial work of an H.I.A. follows the format of an H.E.S.

The difference arises through the use of drawings or models of the proposed work. Ideally a client will have engaged me or a colleague, with similar expertise, to design the proposed work. This way the heritage attributes are accounted for from the outset. Failing that, proposed elevations, models, or renderings, showing the proposed and the existing buildings, are ideal bases from which to render an opinion.

Like a Heritage Evaluation Study (above), the H.I.A. concludes with a recommendation regarding the advisability of approving the proposed design i.e., should the proposed design be allowed to proceed as drawn, or should it be modified to act more sympathetically with the subject heritage resource? Work is performed hourly and usually requires between $3,200 – $4,500 in fees + disbursements (typically less than $500) + HST. Time required from client authorization is usually 4-6 weeks.

(Please click on any image below for project-specific details.)