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ARCHEOLOGY AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION:
Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines
[As Amended and Annotated]


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.Contents
Standards & Guidelines for:.
Introduction
Preservation Planning
Identification
Evaluation
Registration
Note on Documentation and Treatment of Hist. Properties
Historical Documentation
Architectural and Engineering Documentation
  • Standards
  • Guidelines
  • Technical Information
  • Archeological Documentation
    Historic Preservation Projects
    Qualification Standards
    Preservation Terminology
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    Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Architectural and Engineering Documentation

    These standards concern the development of documentation for historic buildings, sites, structures and objects. This documentation, which usually consists of measured drawings, photographs and written data, provides important information on a property's significance for use by scholars, researchers, preservationists, architects, engineers and others interested in preserving and understanding historic properties. Documentation permits accurate repair or reconstruction of parts of a property, records existing conditions for easements, or may present information about a property that is to be demolished.

    These Standards are intended for use in developing documentation to be included in the Historic American Building Survey (HABS) and the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Collections in the Library of Congress. HABS/HAER, in the National Park Service, have defined specific requirements for meeting these Standards for their collections. The HABS/HAER requirements include information important to development of documentation for other purposes such as State or local archives.

    Standard I. Documentation Shall Adequately Explicate and Illustrate What is Significant or Valuable About the Historic Building, Site, Structure or Object Being Documented.

    The historic significance of the building, site, structure or object identified in the evaluation process should be conveyed by the drawings, photographs and other materials that comprise documentation. The historical, architectural, engineering or cultural values of the property together with the purpose of the documentation activity determine the level and methods of documentation. Documentation prepared for submission to the Library of Congress must meet the HABS/HAER Guidelines.

    Standard II. Documentation Shall be Prepared Accurately From Reliable Sources With Limitations Clearly Stated to Permit Independent Verification of the Information.

    The purpose of documentation is to preserve an accurate record of historic properties that can be used in research and other preservation activities. To serve these purposes, the documentation must include information that permits assessment of its reliability.

    Standard III. Documentation Shall be Prepared on Materials That are Readily Reproducible, Durable and in Standard Sizes.

    The size and quality of documentation materials are important factors in the preservation of information for future use. Selection of materials should be based on the length of time expected for storage, the anticipated frequency of use and a size convenient for storage.

    Standard IV. Documentation Shall be Clearly and Concisely Produced.

    In order for documentation to be useful for future research, written materials must be legible and understandable, and graphic materials must contain scale information and location references.

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    Secretary of the Interior's Guidelines for Architectural and Engineering Documentation

    Introduction

    These Guidelines link the Standards for Architectural and Engineering Documentation with more specific guidance and technical information. They describe one approach to meeting the Standards for Architectural Engineering Documentation. Agencies, organizations or individuals proposing to approach documentation differently may wish to review their approaches with the National Park Service.

    The Guidelines are organized as follows:
    Definitions
    Goal of Documentation
    The HABS/HAER Collections
    Standard I: Content
    Standard II: Quality
    Standard III: Materials
    Standard IV: Presentation
    Architectural and Engineering Documentation Prepared for Other Purposes
    Recommended Sources of Technical Information

    Definitions

    These definitions are used in conjunction with these Guidelines:

    Architectural Data Form—a one page HABS form intended to provide identifying information for accompanying HABS documentation.

    Documentation—measured drawings, photographs, histories, inventory cards or other media that depict historic buildings, sites, structures or objects.

    Field Photography—photography, other than large-format photography, intended for the purpose of producing documentation, usually 35mm.

    Field Records—notes of measurements taken, field photographs and other recorded information intended for the purpose of producing documentation.

    Inventory Card—a one page form which includes written data, a sketched site plan and a 35mm contact print dry-mounted on the form. The negative, with a separate contact sheet and index should be included with the inventory card.

    Large Format Photographs—photographs taken of historic buildings, sites, structures or objects where the negative is a 4 x 5, 5 x 7" or 8 x 10" size and where the photograph is taken with appropriate means to correct perspective distortion.

    Measured Drawings—drawings produced on HABS or HAER formats depicting existing conditions or other relevant features of historic buildings, sites, structures or objects. Measured drawings are usually produced in ink on archivally stable material, such as mylar.

    Photocopy—A photograph, with large format negative, of a photograph or drawing.

    Select Existing Drawings—drawings of historic buildings, sites, structures or objects, whether original construction or later alteration drawings that portray or depict the historic value or significance.

    Sketch Plan—a floor plan, generally not to exact scale although often drawn from measurements, where the features are shown improper relation and proportion to one another.

    Goal of Documentation

    The Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) are the national historical architectural and engineering documentation programs of the National Park Service that promote documentation incorporated into the HABS/HAER collections in the Library of Congress. The goal of the collections is to provide architects, engineers, scholars, and interested members of the public with comprehensive documentation of buildings, sites, structures and objects significant in American history and the growth and development of the built environment.

    The HABS/HAER Collections

    HABS/HAER documentation usually consists of measured drawings, photographs and written data that provide a detailed record which reflects a property's significance. Measured drawings and properly executed photographs act as a form of insurance against fires and natural disasters by permitting the repair and, if necessary, reconstruction of historic structures damaged by such disasters. Documentation is used to provide the basis for enforcing preservation easement. In addition, documentation is often the last means of preservation of a property, when a property is to be demolished, its documentation provides future researchers access to valuable information that otherwise would be lost.

    HABS/HAER documentation is developed in a number of ways. First and most usually, the National Park Service employs summer teams of student architects, engineers, historians and architectural historians to develop HABS/HAER documentation under the supervision of National Park Service professionals. Second, the National Park Service produces HABS/HAER documentation, in conjunction with restoration or other preservation treatment, of historic buildings managed by the National Park Service. Third, Federal agencies, pursuant to Section 110(b) of the National Historic Preservation Act, as amended, record those historic properties to be demolished or substantially altered as a result of agency action or assisted action (referred to as mitigation projects). Fourth, individuals and organizations prepare documentation to HABS/HAER standards and donate that documentation to the HABS/HAER collections. For each of these programs, different Documentation Levels will be set.

    The Standards describe the fundamental principles of HABS/HAER documentation. They are supplemented by other material describing more specific guidelines, such as line weights for drawings, preferred techniques for architectural photography, and formats for written data. This technical information is found in the HABS/HAER Procedures Manual.

    These Guidelines include important information about developing documentation for State or local archives. The State Historic Preservation Officer or the State library should be consulted regarding archival requirements if the documentation will become part of their collections. In establishing archives, the important questions of durability and reproducibility should be considered in relation to the purposes of the collection.

    Documentation prepared for the purpose of inclusion in the HABS/HAER collections must meet the requirements below. The HABS/HAER office of the National Park Service retains the right to refuse to accept documentation for inclusion in the HABS/HAER collections when that documentation does not meet HABS/HAER requirements, as specified below.

    Standard I: Content

    1. Requirement: Documentation shall adequately explicate and illustrate what is significant or valuable about the historic building, site, structure or object being documented.

    2. Criteria: Documentation shall meet one of the following documentation levels to be considered adequate for inclusion in the HABS/HAER collections.

    1. Documentation Level I;
      1. Drawings: a full set of measured drawings depicting existing or historic conditions.
      2. Photographs: photographs with large-format negatives of exterior and interior views; photocopies with large format negatives of select existing drawings or historic views where available.
      3. Written data: history and description.

    2. Documentation Level II;
      1. Drawings: select existing drawings, where available, should be photographed with large-format negatives or photographically reproduced on Mylar.
      2. Photographs: photographs with large-format negatives of exterior and interior views, or historic views, where available.
      3. Written data: history and description.

    3. Documentation Level III;
      1. Drawings: sketch plan.
      2. Photographs: photographs with large-format negatives of exterior and interior views.
      3. Written data: architectural data form.

    4. Documentation Level IV: HABS/HAER inventory card.

    3. Test: Inspection of the documentation by HABS/HAER staff.

    4. Commentary: The HABS/HAER office retains the right to refuse to accept any documentation on buildings, sites, structures or objects lacking historical significance. Generally, buildings, sites, structures or objects must be listed in, or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places to be considered for inclusion in the HABS/HAER collections.

    The kind and amount of documentation should be appropriate to the nature and significance of the buildings, site, structure or object being documented. For example, Documentation Level I would be inappropriate for a building that is a minor element of a historic district, notable only for streetscape context and scale. A full set of measured drawings for such a minor building would be expensive and would add little, if any, information to the HABS/HAER collections. Large format photography (Documentation Level III) would usually be adequate to record the significance of this type of building.

    Similarly, the aspect of the property that is being documented should reflect the nature and significance of the building, site, structure or object being documented. For example, measured drawings of Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan's Auditorium Building in Chicago should indicate not only facades, floor plans and sections, but also the innovative structural and mechanical systems that were incorporated in that building. Large-format photography of Gunston Hall in Fairfax County, Virginia, to take another example, should clearly show William Buckland's hand-carved moldings in the Palladian Room, as well as other views.

    HABS/HAER documentation is usually in the form of measured drawings, photographs, and written data. While the criteria in this section have addressed only these media, documentation need not be limited to them. Other media, such as films of industrial processes, can and have been used to document historic buildings, sites, structures or objects. If other media are to be used, the HABS/HAER office should be contacted before recording.

    The actual selection of the appropriate documentation level will vary, as discussed above. For mitigation documentation projects, this level will be selected by the National Park Service Regional Office and communicated to the agency responsible for completing the documentation. Generally, Level I documentation is required for nationally significant buildings and structures, defined as National Historic Landmarks and the primary historic units of the National Park Service.

    On occasion, factors other than significance will dictate the selection of another level of documentation. For example, if a rehabilitation of a property is planned, the owner may wish to have a full set of as-built drawings, even though the significance may indicate Level II documentation.

    HABS Level I measured drawings usually depict existing conditions through the use of a site plan, floor plans, elevations, sections and construction details. HAER Level I measured drawings will frequently depict original conditions where adequate historical material exists, so as to illustrate manufacturing or engineering processes.

    Level II documentation differs from Level I by substituting copies of existing drawings, either original or alteration drawings, for recently executed measured drawings. If this is done, the drawings must meet HABS/HAER requirements outlined below. While existing drawings are rarely as suitable as as-built drawings, they are adequate in many cases for documentation purposes. Only when the desirability of having as-built drawings is clear are Level I measured drawings required in addition to existing drawings. If existing drawings are housed in an accessible collection and cared for archivally, their reproduction for HABS/HAER may not be necessary. In other cases, Level I measured drawings are required in the absence of existing drawings.

    Level III documentation requires a sketch plan if it helps to explain the structure. The architectural data form should supplement the photographs by explaining what is not readily visible.

    Level IV documentation consists of completed HABS/HAER inventory cards. This level of documentation, unlike the other three levels, is rarely considered adequate documentation for the HABS/HAER collections but is undertaken to identify historic resources in a given area prior to additional, more comprehensive documentation.

    Standard II: Quality

    1. Requirement: HABS and HAER documentation shall be prepared accurately from reliable sources with limitations clearly stated to permit independent verification of information.

    2. Criteria: For all levels of documentation, the following quality standards shall be met:

    1. Measured drawings: Measured drawings shall be produced from recorded, accurate measurements. Portions of the building that were not accessible for measurement should not be drawn on the measured drawings, but dearly labeled as not accessible or drawn from available construction drawings and other sources and so identified. No part of the measured drawings shall be produced from hypothesis or non-measurement related activities. Documentation Level I measured drawings shall be accompanied by a set of field notebooks in which the measurements were first recorded. Other drawings, prepared for Documentation Levels II and III, shall include a statement describing where the original drawings are located.

    2. Large format photographs: Large format photographs shall clearly depict the appearance of the property and areas of significance of the recorded building, site, structure or object. Each view shall be perspective-corrected and fully captioned.

    3. Written history: Written history and description for Documentation Levels I and II shall be based on primary sources to the greatest extent possible. For Levels III and IV, secondary sources may provide adequate information; if not primary research will be necessary. A frank assessment of the reliability and limitations of sources shall be included. Within the written history, statements shall be footnoted as to their sources, where appropriate. The written data shall include a methodology section specifying name of researcher, date of research, sources searched, and limitations of the project.

    3. Test: Inspection of the documentation by HABS/HAER staff.

    4. Commentary: The reliability of the HABS/HAER collections depends on documentation of high quality. Quality is not something that can be easily prescribed or quantified, but it derives from a process in which thoroughness and accuracy play a large part. The principle of independent verification of HABS/HAER documentation is critical to the HABS/HAER collections.

    Standard III: Materials

    1. Requirement: HABS and HAER documentation shall be prepared on materials that are readily reproducible for ease of access; durable for long storage; and in standard sizes for ease of handling.

    2. Criteria: For all levels of documentation, the following material standards shall be met:

    1. Measured Drawings:
      Readily Reproducible: Ink on translucent material
      Durable: Ink on archivally stable materials.
      Standard Sizes: Two sizes: 19 x 24" or 24 x 36"

    2. Large Format Photographs:
      Readily Reproducible: Prints shall accompany all negatives.
      Durable: Photography must be archivally processed and stored
      Negatives are required on safety film only. Resin-coated paper is not accepted. Color photography is not acceptable.
      Standard Sizes: Three sizes: 4 x 5", 5 x 7", 8 x 10".

    3. Written History and Description:
      Readily Reproducible: Clean copy for xeroxing.
      Durable: Archival bond required.
      Standard Sizes: 8 1/2 x 11"

    4. Field Records:
      Readily Reproducible: Field notebooks may be xeroxed. Photo identification sheet will accompany 35mm negatives and contact sheets.
      Durable: No requirement.
      Standard Sizes: Only requirement is that they can be made to fit into a 9 1/2 x 12" archival folding file.

    3. Test: Inspection of the documentation by HABS/HAER staff.

    4. Commentary: All HABS/HAER records are intended for reproduction; some 20,000 HABS/HAER records are reproduced each year by the Library on Congress. Although field records are not intended for quality reproduction, it is intended that they be used to supplement the formal documentation. The basic durability performance standard for HABS/ HAER records is 500 years. Ink on Mylar is believed to meet this standard, while color photography, for example, does not. Field records do not meet this archival standard, but are maintained in the HABS/HAER collections as a courtesy to the collection user.

    Standard IV: Presentation

    1. Requirement: HABS and HAER documentation shall be clearly and concisely produced.

    2. Criteria: For levels of documentation as indicated below, the following standards for presentation will be used:

    1. Measured Drawings: Level I measured drawings will be lettered mechanically (i.e., Leroy or similar) or in a handprinted equivalent style. Adequate dimensions shall be included on all sheets. Level III sketch plans should be neat and orderly.

    2. Large format photographs: Level I photographs shall include duplicate photographs that include a scale. Level II and III photographs shall include, at a minimum, at least one photograph with a scale, usually of the principal facade.

    3. Written history and description: Data shall be typewritten on bond, following accepted rules of grammar.

    3. Test: Inspection of the documentation by HABS/HAER staff.

    Architectural and Engineering Documentation Prepared for Other Purposes

    Where a preservation planning process is in use, architectural and engineering documentation, like other treatment activities, are undertaken to achieve the goals identified by the preservation planning process. Documentation is deliberately selected as a treatment for properties evaluated as significant, and the development of the documentation program for a property follows from the planning objectives. Documentation efforts focus on the significant characteristics of the property, as defined in the previously completed evaluation. The selection of a level of documentation and the documentation techniques (measured drawings, photography, etc.) is based on the significance of the property and the management needs for which the documentation is being performed. For example, the kind and level of documentation required to record a historic property for easement purposes may be less detailed than that required as mitigation prior to destruction of the property. In the former case, essential documentation might be limited to the portions of the property controlled by the easement, for example, exterior facades; while in the latter case, significant interior architectural features and nonvisible structural details would also be documented.

    The principles and content of the HABS/HAER criteria may be used for guidance in creating documentation requirements for other archives. Levels of documentation and the durability and sizes of documentation may vary depending on the intended use and the repository. Accuracy of documentation should be controlled by assessing the reliability of all sourcesand making that assessment available in the archival record; by describing the limitations of the information available from research and physical examination of the property, and by retaining the primary data (field measurements and notebooks) from which the archival record was produced. Usefulness of the documentation products depends on preparing the documentation on durable materials that are able to withstand handling and reproduction, and in sizes that can be stored and reproduced without damage.

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    Recommended Sources of Technical Information

    Current Recommendations
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    Guidelines for Recording Historic Ships. By Richard K. Anderson, Jr., HABS/HAER, National Park Service, Washington, D.C.
    Marks the revival of the Historic American Merchant Marine Survey of the 1930s as part of the HAER program, and provides the definitive guide to maritime recording.

    HABS/HAER Photography: Specifications and Guidelines. HABS/HAER, National Park Service, Washington, D.C., Draft 1997.
    Provides criteria for the production of large format photographs for acceptance to the HABS/HAER Collections.

    HABS Historical Reports. HABS/HAER, National Park Service, Washington, D.C., 1993.
    Provides guidelines for producing written data on historic buildings to HABS standards.

    HABS/HAER Production Notes

  • Field Records
  • Large-format photographs
  • Measured drawings

    Recording Historic Sites and Structures Using Computer-aided Drafting (CAD) (.PDF File). HABS/HAER, National Park Service, Washington, D.C., 2000.
    Addresses the application of the Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines for Architectural and Engineering Documentation to the use of computer-aided drafting (CAD) software in the production of two-dimensional HABS/HAER measured drawings.

    Recording Historic Structures. John A. Burns, editor, AIA. The AIA Press, Washington, D.C., 1989.
    The definitive guide to recording America's built environment. Since issued in 1989, this publication is in its third printing.

    Recording Historic Structures and Sites for the Historic American Engineering Record (.PDF Files). HABS/HAER, National Park Service, Washington, D.C., 1996.
    Provides guidelines for documenting historic engineering and industrial sites and structures to HAER standards using measured drawings and written data.

    Recording Structures and Sites with HABS Measured Drawings. HABS/HAER, National Park Service, Washington, D.C., 1993.
    Provides procedures for producing measured drawings of historic buildings to HABS standards.

    Transmitting HABS/HAER Documentation. HABS/HAER, National Park Service, Washington, D.C., 1999.
    Provides transmittal procedures and archival requirements of documentation for acceptance to the HABS/HAER Collections.




    Recording Historic Buildings. Harley J. McKee. Government Printing Office, 1970. Washington, D.C. Available through the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402. GPO number 024-005-0235-9.

    HABS/HAER Procedures Manual. Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record, National Park Service, 1980. Washington, D.C.

    Photogrammetric Recording of Cultural Resources. Terry E. Borchers. Technical Preservation Services, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1977. Washington, D.C.

    Rectified Photography and Photo Drawings for Historic Preservation. J. Henry Chambers. Technical Preservation Services, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1975. Washington, D.C.


  • See also
     

    Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record (HABS/HAER)

    HABS/HAER Collections

    HABS/HAER Summer Teams

    HABS/HAER Mitigation Documentation

    HABS/HAER Publications

    National Historic Landmarks


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