These standards are excerpted from the National Park Service's Illustrated Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings - available online)
The Secretary of the Interior is responsible for establishing standards and for advising federal agencies on the preservation of historic properties listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Historic Preservation Projects have been developed to guide work undertaken on historic buildings.
The Standards for Rehabilitation address the most common treatments.
"Rehabilitation" is defined as "the process of returning a property to a state of utility, through repair or alteration, which makes possible an efficient contemporary use while preserving those portions and features of the property which are significant to its historic, architectural, and cultural values."
Initially developed by the Secretary of the Interior to determine the appropriateness of proposed work on properties receiving grants-in-aid, the Standards for Rehabilitation have been widely used over the years - particularly to determine if a rehabilitation qualifies as a Certified Rehabilitation for federal tax purposes.
In addition, the Standards have guided federal agencies in carrying out their historic preservation responsibilities for properties in federal ownership or control. They also guide state and local officials in reviewing federal and nonfederal rehabilitation proposals. They have also been adopted by historic district and planning commissions across the country.
Finally, they are also the standards used to determine whether a property is eligible for the Utah Historic Preservation Tax Credit.
The intent of the Standards is to assist the long-term preservation of a property's significance through the preservation of historic materials and features.
The Standards address historic buildings of all materials, construction types, sizes, and occupancy and encompass the exterior and interior of the buildings. They also include related landscape features and the building's site and environment, as well as attached, adjacent, or related new construction.
To be certified for federal tax purposes, a rehabilitation project must be determined by the Secretary to be consistent with the historic character of the structure(s), and where applicable, the district in which it is located.
To qualify for the Utah Historic Preservation Tax Credit, all of the proposed, ongoing or completed rehabilitation work must fully comply with the Standards.
The following Standards are to be applied to specific rehabilitation projects in a reasonable manner, taking into consideration economic and technical feasibility. A property shall be used for its historic purpose or be placed in a new use that requires minimal change to the defining characteristics of the building and its site and environment.
The historic character of a property shall be retained and preserved. The removal of historic materials or alteration of features and spaces that characterize a property shall be avoided.
Each property shall be recognized as a physical record of its time, place, and use. Changes that create a false sense of historical development, such as adding conjectural features or architectural elements from other buildings, shall not be undertaken.
Most properties change over time; those changes that have acquired historic significance in their own right shall be retained and preserved.
Distinctive features, finishes, and construction techniques or examples of craftsmanship that characterize a historic property shall be preserved.
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.
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.
Significant archeological resources affected by a project shall be protected and preserved. If such resources must be disturbed, mitigation measures shall be undertaken.
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.
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.