Flood Adaptation

Flooding risk has long been a major challenge for many historic properties. Changing weather patterns, stronger hurricanes and other extreme weather events, sea level rise, increased nuisance flooding, king tides, and continuing development in flood plains are some of the factors increasing the risk of flooding events, both in terms of their frequency and magnitude. Some historic properties that have never flooded before may now be exposed to this risk, and those that flooded infrequently in the past may experience more instances of flooding or of water reaching higher levels than ever before.


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

Guidelines on Flood Adaptation for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings

Damaged house in New Orleans, Louisiana, after Hurricane Katrina.

Guidelines on Flood Adaptation for Rehabilitating
Historic Buildings

The goal of the Guidelines on Flood Adaptation for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings is to provide information about how to adapt historic buildings to be more resilient to flooding risk in a manner that will preserve their historic character and that will meet The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. These guidelines should be used in conjunction with the Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings that are part of The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring & Reconstructing Historic Buildings, issued in 2017. Like the Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings, these guidelines are intended to focus primarily on historic buildings and their site and setting.

The treatments described in the Guidelines may be considered as means of preserving historic properties located in floodplains and making them more resilient to flooding hazards. While many of these treatments can be undertaken with minimal effects on the historic character of a property, some may require more change than would normally be acceptable in other contexts. Consequently, such treatments would generally not be appropriate to use in the majority of rehabilitation projects when the historic building does not have a flood risk. The treatment selected should always be one that minimizes changes to the building’s historic character. Adaptation treatments should reduce the risk of flood damage as much as possible, but should do so without destroying significant historic materials, features, or spaces.


Photo: Sean Clifford, NPS.