The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards

The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties are common sense historic preservation principles in non-technical language. They promote historic preservation best practices that will help to protect our nation’s irreplaceable cultural resources.


Standards for Preservation

Standards for Rehabilitation

Standards for Rehabilitation
(for historic tax credit projects)

Standards for Restoration

Standards for Reconstruction

History of the Standards

Guidelines for the Treatment
of Historic Properties

Guidelines for the Treatment
of Cultural Landscapes

Guidelines for Rehabilitating
Historic Buildings

Guidelines on Sustainability

street view of colorful row house in D.C.

The Treatment of Historic Properties

The Standards offer four distinct approaches to the treatment of historic properties—preservation, rehabilitation, restoration, and reconstruction—with accompanying Guidelines for each. One set of standards will apply to a property undergoing treatment, depending upon the property's significance, existing physical condition, the extent of documentation available and interpretive goals, when applicable.

The Standards are a series of concepts about maintaining, repairing, and replacing historic materials, as well as designing new additions or making alterations. The Guidelines offer general design and technical recommendations to assist in applying the Standards to a specific property. Together, they provide a framework and guidance for decision-making about work or changes to a historic property.

The Standards and Guidelines can be applied to historic properties of all types, materials, construction, sizes, and use. They include both the exterior and the interior and extend to a property’s landscape features, site, environment, as well as related new construction.

Federal agencies use the Standards and Guidelines in carrying out their historic preservation responsibilities. State and local officials use them in reviewing both Federal and nonfederal rehabilitation proposals. Historic district and planning commissions across the country use the Standards and Guidelines to guide their design review processes.

The Standards offer four distinct approaches to the treatment of historic properties—preservation, rehabilitation, restoration, and reconstruction with Guidelines for each.

The Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, codified in 36 CFR 68, are regulatory for all grant-in-aid projects assisted through the national Historic Preservation Fund.

The Standards for Rehabilitation, codified in 36 CFR 67, are regulatory for the review of rehabilitation work in the Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program.

The Guidelines are advisory, not regulatory.