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The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring & Reconstructing Historic Buildings

The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards are 10 basic Principles created to help preserve the distinctive character of an historic building and its site, while allowing for reasonable change to meet new needs.

The Standards (36 Code of Federal Regulations Part 67) apply to historic buildings of all periods, styles, types, materials and sizes. They apply to both the exterior and the interior of historic buildings. The Standard also encompass related landscape features and the building’s site and environment as well as attached, adjacent or related new construction.

Rehabilitation projects must meet the following Standards, as interpreted by the National Park Service, to qualify as “certified rehabilitations” eligible for the 20% rehabilitation tax credit.

The Standards are applied to projects in a reasonable manner, taking into consideration economic and technical feasibility.

  1. A property shall be used for its historic purposes or be placed in a new use that requires minimal changes of the defining characteristics of the building and its site and environment.
  2. The historic character of a property shall be retained and preserved. The removal of historic materials or alterations of features and spaces that characterize a property shall be avoided.
  3. Each property shall be recognized as a physical record of its time, place and use. Changes that create a false sense of historic development, such as adding conjectural features or architectural elements from other buildings, shall not be undertaken.
  4. Most properties change over time; those changes that have acquired historic significance in their own right shall be retained and preserved.
  5. Distinctive features, finishes and construction techniques or examples of craftsmanship that characterize an historic property shall be preserved.
  6. Deteriorated historic features shall be repaired rather than replaced. Where the severity of deterioration requires replacement of a distinctive feature, the new feature shall match the old in design, color, texture and other visual qualities and, where possible, materials. Replacement of missing features shall be substantiated by documentary, physical or pictorial evidence.
  7. Chemical or physical treatments, such as sandblasting, that cause damage to historic materials shall not be used. The surface cleaning of structures, if appropriate, shall be undertaken using the gentlest means possible.
  8. Significant archeological resources affected by a project shall be protected and preserved. If such resources must be disturbed, mitigation measures shall be undertaken.
  9. New additions, exterior alterations or related new construction shall not destroy historic materials that characterize the property. The new work shall be differentiated from the old and shall be compatible with the massing, size, scale and architectural features to protect the historic integrity of the property and its environment.
  10. New additions and adjacent or related new construction shall 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.

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