Revisions to the Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring & Reconstructing Historic Buildings

Technical Preservation Services, Cultural Resources, Partnerships, and Science Directorate, invites agency and public comments on revisions to the Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring & Reconstructing Historic Buildings.

Action 25, What's Old is New, of A Call to Action: Preparing for a Second Century of Stewardship and Engagement, charges the Directorate to update The Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines for the Treatment of Historic Properties to ensure this guidance continues to reflect current historic preservation methods and technologies, show how historic structures can be made more sustainable, and support efforts to rebuild the economic vitality of rural and urban communities. The Treatment Guidelines were last revised in 1995.

The Treatment Guidelines were developed to apply to a specific resource type—buildings—and to apply to a wide variety of building types, methods of construction, features, materials, and conditions. They are meant to illustrate general approaches to work treatments, and not be case-specific or address exceptions or rare instances, and they continue to be applicable in most instances. Furthermore, they address recommended treatments for individual features that have been identified as important to the historic character of a property, and do not address the case-specific evaluations of character-defining features that must be made on an individual-property basis as well as whether specific treatments would meet the Standards in the context of an overall project.

The Guidelines are being updated with the following goals and objectives in mind:

• Ensure that the guidelines continue to address all types of historic buildings, including building materials, technologies, and systems representative of historic mid-century buildings.

• Continue to reflect the "best practices" in preservation.

• Clarify text/language to improve readability of the guidelines.

• Feature new illustrations in color, a greater number of illustrations, and illustrating a greater variety of building types, materials, and systems.

The updated Treatment Guidelines follow the same organization as prior versions, with an expanded overview of historic materials, systems, features, and specific issues, followed by the four sets of treatment standards and guidelines. Some sections have been renamed, expanded, or otherwise revised. The approaches to work treatments and techniques for each set of guidelines are listed in a two-column "Recommended"/"Not Recommended" format.


The Secretary of the Interior is responsible under the National Historic Preservation Act for establishing standards for, and providing advice and guidance on, the preservation and protection of historic resources. The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties are regulatory for the purposes of grant-in-aid projects assisted through the National Historic Preservation Fund; otherwise, they are intended as general guidance for work on historic buildings.

The Guidelines are not regulatory, but are intended to provide guidance to property owners, design, construction, and trade professionals, public agencies, private organizations, and the general public in applying the Treatment Standards.

The Standards for Rehabilitation are the most used of the four Treatment Standards. They are separately codified (with a slight difference in wording) as 36 CFR Part 67.7 as part of the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program. They are regulatory for rehabilitation projects to qualify as certified rehabilitations under the tax incentives program, but they are also used at the federal, state and local levels to guide work on historic buildings. The Rehabilitation Standards were reviewed in 2006 as part of a National Park System Advisory Board report and determined to be appropriate and not in need of revision.
Comment Period: Closed        Apr 7, 2016 - May 13, 2016
Document Content:
SOIS-2 INTRO 4-7-16 Review draft.pdfSOIS-2 INTRO 4-7-16 Review draft.pdf   (865.9 KB, PDF file)
Disclaimer: Links within the above document(s) were valid as of the date published.
Note: Some of the files may be in PDF format and can be viewed using the Adobe Acrobat Reader software. You may download a free copy of Acrobat Reader from Adobe Systems.