<photo>Detail of preserved exterior wood; Link to National Park Service
STANDARDS FOR PRESERVATION AND GUIDELINES FOR PRESERVING HISTORIC BUILDINGS
<Photo>Person using accessible ramp

Although the work in the following sections is quite often an important aspect of preservation projects, it is usually not part of the overall process of preserving character-defining features (maintenance, repair, and limited replacement); rather, such work is assessed for its potential negative impact on the building's historic character. For this reason, particular care must be taken not to obscure, alter, or damage character-defining features in the process of preservation work.


Recommend
Identifying the historic building's character-defining spaces, features, and finishes so that accessibility code-required work will not result in their damage or loss.

Complying with barrier-free access requirements, in such a manner that character-defining spaces, features, and finishes are preserved.

Working with local disability groups, access specialists, and historic preservation specialists to determine the most appropriate solution to access problems.

Providing barrier-free access that promotes independence for the disabled person to the highest degree practicable, while preserving significant historic features.

photo of significant entrance

A significant entrance may be difficult to modify. Although a special challenge, sensitive changes can almost always be made to provide access while preserving the unique historic character. Photo: NPS files.

Finding solutions to meet accessibility requirements that minimize the impact on the historic building and its site, such as compatible ramps, paths, and lifts.

Not Recommended
Undertaking code-required alterations before identifying those spaces, features, or finishes which are character-defining and must therefore be preserved.

Altering, damaging, or destroying character-defining features in attempting to comply with accessibility requirements.

Making changes to buildings without first seeking expert advice from access specialists and historic preservationists to determine solutions.

Making access modifications that do not provide a reasonable balance between independent, safe access and preservation of historic features.

Making modifications for accessibility without considering the impact on the historic building and its site.

 

-GUIDELINES-

The Approach

Exterior Materials
Masonry
Wood
Architectural Metals

Exterior Features
Roofs
Windows
Entrances + Porches
Storefronts

Interior Features
Structural System Spaces/Features/Finishes
Mechanical Systems

Site

Setting

Special Requirements
Energy Efficiency
Accessibility
Health + Safety

The Standards

 

  HISTORICAL OVERVIEW - preserving - REHABILITATING - RESTORING - RECONSTRUCTING

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Historical Overview