Two images, one an inset, are shown of the Hermann-Grima House in the French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana. The black and white image shows the exterior of the house before it was carefully restored; the inset color image shows the house after completion of restoration work. Photos: (Before) HABS Collection, NPS; (After) ŠPaul Taylor. Hermann-Grima and Gallier Houses.
Fitting Your Work to Time and Place
Section 'a' content Section 'b' content Section 'c' content Section 'd' content Section 'e' content
National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior with link to ParkNet National Park Service arrowhead with a link to ParkNet

Working on the Past in Local Historic Districts

"Before any historic preservation project is begun, a number of fundamental decisions need to be made. How will the property be used? Will the property be restored to its original condition or rehabilitated for contemporary use? How can the significant architectural and historical features of the building be preserved? What steps need to be taken…Although 'rehabilitation' and 'restoration' might sound alike, the end result is quite different."
From Downtown Moultrie Design Guidelines, Moultrie Georgia, Moultrie-Colquitt Historic Preservation Commission, The Jaeger Company, May, 2000.

Rehabilitation is one of four work approaches in The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring, and Reconstructing Historic Buildings. Without question, rehabilitation—the only approach that includes alterations and additions for a contemporary use—is most frequently applied to commercial and residential buildings in historic districts. Having said that, here is an important question.

Is it all rehab? The answer is "no." If a historic building will be preserved, restored, or reconstructed, you want to be sure your work fits time and place by applying the most appropriate set of Standards, not simply using the Standards for Rehabilitation as a "catch-all." Each of the four treatments has a different relationship to the historical timeline and a different scope of work, as explained here:

For example, if you want to stabilize and preserve a historic building to keep it the way it looks now, you use the  Standards for Preservation.

If you want to update a building for a continuing or new use through repair, alterations, and additions you use the Standards for Rehabilitation.

If you want to backdate it consistently to an earlier period by removing later features, you use the Standards for Restoration.

If you want to reconstruct a historic building that has vanished, you use the Standards for Reconstruction.

NOTE: Print all of Section 'd' in PDF format.