Last updated: February 1, 2024
- Standards—Treatment of Historic Properties
- Standards & Guidelines for Preservation
- Standards & Guidelines for Restoration
- Standards & Guidelines for Reconstruction
- Other Guidelines for Applying the Standards
- History of the Standards
- Rehabilitation Standards—Tax Credit Projects
- Planning Successful Rehabilitation Projects
Rehabilitation as a Treatment
Rehabilitation is defined as the act or process of making possible a compatible use for a property through repair, alterations, and additions while preserving those portions or features which convey its historical, cultural, or architectural values.
Standards for Rehabilitation
- A property will be used as it was historically or be given a new use that requires minimal change to its distinctive materials, features, spaces and spatial relationships.
- The historic character of a property will be retained and preserved. The removal of distinctive materials or alteration of features, spaces and spatial relationships that characterize a property will be avoided.
- Each property will be recognized as a physical record of its time, place and use. Changes that create a false sense of historical development, such as adding conjectural features or elements from other historic properties, will not be undertaken.
- Changes to a property that have acquired historic significance in their own right will be retained and preserved.
- Distinctive materials, features, finishes, and construction techniques or examples of craftsmanship that characterize a property will be preserved.
- Deteriorated historic features will be repaired rather than replaced. Where the severity of deterioration requires replacement of a distinctive feature, the new feature will match the old in design, color, texture and, where possible, materials. Replacement of missing features will be substantiated by documentary and physical evidence.
- Chemical or physical treatments, if appropriate, will be undertaken using the gentlest means possible. Treatments that cause damage to historic materials will not be used.
- Archeological resources will be protected and preserved in place. If such resources must be disturbed, mitigation measures will be undertaken.
- New additions, exterior alterations, or related new construction will not destroy historic materials, features, and spatial relationships that characterize the property. The new work will be differentiated from the old and will be compatible with the historic materials, features, size, scale and proportion, and massing to protect the integrity of the property and its environment.
- New additions and adjacent or related new construction will be undertaken in such a manner that, if removed in the future, the essential form and integrity of the historic property and its environment would be unimpaired.
The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring & Reconstructing Historic Buildings
Choosing Rehabilitation as a Treatment
In Rehabilitation, historic building materials and character-defining features are protected and maintained as they are in the treatment Preservation. However, greater latitude is given in the Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings to replace extensively deteriorated, damaged, or missing features using either the same material or compatible substitute materials. Of the four treatments, only Rehabilitation allows alterations and the construction of a new addition, if necessary for a continuing or new use for the historic building.
When repair and replacement of deteriorated features are necessary; when alterations or additions to the property are planned for a new or continued use; and when its depiction at a particular time is not appropriate, Rehabilitation may be considered as a treatment. Prior to undertaking work, a documentation plan for Rehabilitation should be developed.
The Guidelines for the Treatment of Historic Properties illustrate the practical application of the Standards for Rehabilitation to historic properties.