Conservation Principles

Learn more about our conservation principles for conserving our built heritage.

Our historic buildings and districts give us a visual and physical link to Singapore’s past in our changing urban landscape. However, Conservation is much more than just preserving a facade or the external shell of a building.

It is also important that we retain the inherent spirit and original ambience of these historic buildings as far as possible. This requires an appreciation and understanding of the architectural structure of the buildings, good management, and practice in conserving buildings.

The “3R” Principle: Maximum Retention, Sensitive Restoration and Careful Repair

Buildings earmarked for conservation need to follow our conservation principles. Owners, architects, engineers, and contractors should try to apply the “3Rs” in their conservation projects, which help guide them towards quality restoration. These principles apply no matter how small or how large the heritage building is.

The original structure and architectural elements of historic buildings should be retained and restored as far as possible, without reconstructing the entire building. Parts of the building should only be replaced when it is absolutely necessary. Before any conservation work begins, thorough research and documentation should be carried out on the conservation building to ensure that quality restoration work is carried out through careful and accurate repair. This process helps ensure that conservation works adhere to the 3R principle.