Secretary of the Interior's Standards


gilliam houseThe Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation of Historic Properties

The National Park Service and federal government has outlined ten tested and proven principles of historic preservation that have provided the mainstay for rehabilitating buildings and sites since they were first written in 1976. They are:

  1. 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.
  2. The character of a property shall be retained and preserved. The removal of distinctive historic materials or details or alteration 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 historical development, such as adding conjectural features or architectural elements from other buildings, shall not be undertaken.
  4. Most properties change over time; those that have acquired historical significance in their own right shall be retained and preserved
  5. Distinctive features, finishes, and construction techniques or examples of craftsmanship that characterize a 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.
  7. Chemical or physical treatments, such as sandblasting, that cause damage to historic materials, shall not be used. Cleaning, if appropriate, shall be undertaken using the gentlest means possible.
  8. Significant archaeological 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.

The secretary of the interior’s standards are referenced in the City of Fort Lauderdale’s Land Use Code. The principles apply to all designated City landmarks. Together with the City Preservation Code, they provide the underlying standards for preservation matters considered by the Historic Preservation Board.

For the full version of the standards, please visit