Conservation work on the State heritage-listed Warders' Cottages in Fremantle starts this week with stonemasonry repairs to the external and front boundary walls.
Heritage Minister Albert Jacob said the repairs were part of a $2 million investment in the cottages through the Liberal National Government's Heritage Revolving Fund, known as Heritage Works.
"These are priority conservation works identified in the cottages' conservation plan and will protect their structural integrity, reversing a long period of gradual decline," Mr Jacob said.
The repairs include removing non-permeable paint on the stonework which exacerbates water damage problems, raking out inappropriate cement-based repairs to filler and mortar joints, and replacing the cement with a lime-based stone mix.
Follow-up work includes improving the drainage and stormwater collection, which was identified as priority work.
The work will continue this year, with a view to the cottages being offered for sale or lease in early 2016.
"These initial works are critical to the future of the cottages, regardless of their future use," the Minister said.
"The State Government has no pre-determined view on what this use might be, as long as the proposals are in keeping with, and respectful of, the property's heritage values.
"As we have seen with many heritage developments in Perth, such as Brookfield Place and the soon to be completed Old Treasury Buildings, sensitive reuse can create vibrant places that celebrate heritage while catering for the needs and wants of a modern society.
"The future of the Fremantle Warders' Cottages now presents an exciting opportunity for the City of Fremantle."
Building restoration business Colgan Industries won the contract for the first stage of repair works and will employ eight people on the project over the life of the contract.
Heritage Works reactivates vacant or underused publicly owned heritage buildings to ensure they have a viable future
Ownership of the cottages has been transferred from the Department of Housing to the Heritage Council of Western Australia
Minister's office - 6552 5800