<photo>Detail of preserved exterior wood; Link to National Park Service
<photo>detail of site plantings

Identify    Stabilize    Protect    Repair    Replace in Kind  

Identify, Retain and Preserve

Identifying, retaining, and preserving buildings and their features as well as features of the site that are important in defining its overall historic character. Site features may include circulation systems such as walks, paths, roads, or parking; vegetation such as trees, shrubs, fields, or herbaceous plant material; landforms such as terracing, berms or grading; furnishings such as lights, fences, or benches; decorative elements such as sculpture, statuary or monuments; water features including fountains, streams, pools, or lakes; and subsurface archeological features which are important in defining the history of the site.

Retaining the historic relationship between buildings and the landscape.

photo of  Drayton Hall, near Charleston, SC, an excellent example of an evolved landscape that is being preserved, as is

Drayton Hall, near Charleston, South Carolina, is an excellent example of an evolved 18th century plantation. Of particular note in this photograph are the landscape features added in the late 19th century--a reflecting pond and rose mound. With an overall Preservation treatment plan, these later features have been retained and protected. If a Restoration treatment had been selected, later features of the landscape as well as changes to the house would have been removed. Photo: Courtesy, National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Not Recommended
Altering buildings and their features or site features which are important in defining the overall historic character of the property so that, as a result, the character is diminished.

Removing or relocating buildings or landscape features, thus destroying the historic relationship between buildings and the landscape.


Stabilizing deteriorated or damaged building and site features as a preliminary measure, when necessary, prior to undertaking appropriate preservation work.

Not Recommended
Failing to stabilize a deteriorated or damaged building or site feature until additional work is undertaken, thus allowing further damage to occur to the building site.

Protect and Maintain

Protecting and maintaining buildings and sites by providing proper drainage to assure that water does not erode foundation walls; drain toward the building; or damage or erode the landscape.

Minimizing disturbance of terrain around buildings or elsewhere on the site, thus reducing the possibility of destroying or damaging important landscape features or archeological resources.

photo of preserved family tomb with cast-iron mausoleum and fence

The Slatter Family Tomb in Mobile, Alabama, consisting of a cast-iron mausoleum and fence, exhibits the wide range of uses of the material in the 19th century. These historic materials should be carefully maintained and repaired.Photo: Jack E. Boucher, HABS Collection.

Surveying and documenting areas where the terrain will be altered to determine the potential impact to important landscape features or archeological resources.

Protecting, e.g., preserving in place, important archeological resources.

Planning and carrying out any necessary investigation using professional archeologists and modern archeological methods when preservation in place is not feasible.

Preserving important landscape features, including ongoing maintenance of historic plant material.

Protecting building and landscape features against arson and vandalism before preservation work begins, i.e., erecting protective fencing and installing alarm systems that are keyed into local protection agencies.

Providing continued protection of historic building materials and plant features through appropriate cleaning, rust removal, limited paint removal, and re-application of protective coating systems; and pruning and vegetation management.

Evaluating the existing condition of materials and features to determine whether more than protection and maintenance are required, that is, if repairs to building and site features will be necessary.

Not Recommended
Failing to maintain adequate site drainage so that buildings and site features are damaged or destroyed; or alternatively, changing the site grading so that water no longer drains properly.

Introducing heavy machinery into areas where it may disturb or damage important landscape features or archeological resources.

Failing to survey the building site prior to beginning work which results in damage to, or destruction of, important landscape features or archeological resources.

Leaving known archeological material unprotected so that it is damaged during preservation work.

Permitting unqualified personnel to perform data recovery on archeological resources so that improper methodology results in the loss of important archeological material.

Allowing important landscape features to be lost or damaged due to a lack of maintenance.

Permitting the property to remain unprotected so that the building and landscape features or archeological resources are damaged or destroyed.

Removing or destroying features from the buildings or site such as wood siding, iron fencing, masonry balustrades, or plant material.

Failing to provide adequate protection of materials on cyclical basis so that deterioration of building and site feature results.

Failing to undertake adequate measures to assure the protection of building and site features.


Repairing features of the building and site by reinforcing historic materials using recognized preservation methods. The new work should be unobtrusively dated to guide future research and treatment.

Not Recommended
Removing materials that could be repaired, using improper repair techniques, or failing to document the new work.

The following work is highlighted to indicate that it represents the greatest degree of intervention generally recommended within the treatment Preservation, and should only be considered after protection, stabilization, and repair concerns have been addressed.

Limited Replacement in Kind

Replacing in kind extensively deteriorated or missing parts of the building or site where there are surviving prototypes such as part of a fountain, or portions of a walkway. New work should match the old in materials, design, color, and texture; and be unobtrusively dated to guide future research and treatment.

Not Recommended
Replacing an entire feature of the building or site when limited replacement of deteriorated and missing parts is appropriate.

Using replacement material that does not match the building site feature; or failing to properly document the new work.




The Approach

Exterior Materials
Architectural Metals

Exterior Features
Entrances + Porches

Interior Features
Structural System Spaces/Features/Finishes
Mechanical Systems



Special Requirements
Energy Efficiency
Health + Safety

The Standards



 main - credits - email

Historical Overview