State Historic Preservation Office
The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation*
The Secretary of the Interior is responsible for establishing standards for all national preservation programs under Departmental authority and for advising Federal agencies on the preservation of historic properties listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
The Standards for Rehabilitation, a section of the Secretary's Standards for Historic Preservation Projects, address the most prevalent preservation treatment today: rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is defined as the process of returning a property to a state of utility, through repair or alteration, which makes possible an efficient contemporary use while preserving those portions and features of the property which are significant to its historic, architectural, and cultural values.
The Standards that follow were originally published in 1977 and revised in 1990 as part of Department of the Interior regulations (36 CFR Part 67, Historic Preservation Certifications). They pertain to historic buildings of all materials, construction types, sizes, and occupancy and encompass the exterior and the interior of historic buildings. The Standards also encompass related landscape features and the building's site and environment as well as attached, adjacent or related new construction.
The Standards are to be applied to specific rehabilitation projects in a reasonable manner, taking into consideration economic and technical feasibility.
Note: To be eligible for Federal tax incentives, a rehabilitation project must meet all ten Standards. The application of these Standards to rehabilitation projects is to be the same as under the previous version so that a project previously acceptable would continue to be acceptable under these Standards.
Certain treatments, if improperly applied, or certain materials by their physical properties, may cause or accelerate physical deterioration of historic buildings. Inappropriate physical treatments include, but are not limited to: improper repainting techniques; improper exterior masonry cleaning methods; or improper introduction of insulation where damage to historic fabric would result. In almost all situations, use of these materials and treatments will result in denial of certification. In addition, every effort should be made to ensure that the new materials and workmanship are compatible with the materials and workmanship of the historic property.
Guidelines to help property owners, developers, and Federal managers apply the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation are available from the National Park Service, State Historic Preservation Offices, or from the Government Printing Office.
For more information write:
Click here for Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credits, posted by the National Park Service. Includes illustrated guidelines for rehabilitating historic buildings.
| * Reproduced for the City of Washington Department of
Planning and Development Website
from the revision of this document posted at:
on the State Historic Preservation Office Website as of 12/11/01.