Teaching > Architectural Conservation (HP 382-582) > Assignments >

Architectural Conservation Assessment (see Checkist, too)


Refer to reading.

An architectural conservation assessment is the first step a property owner may take to better understand the architectural style(s), significance, and evolution of their historical house — and how these, together with the owner's goals, can help develop long-term treatments for preservation.

Below, specific reference is made to resources of the Technical Preservation Services, National Park Service.

While there exist many others, this project is emphasizing the application of 'peer-reviewed', established standards, practices and knowledge developed by the NPS as the principal federal entity that oversees and practices preservation.

An assessment typically includes an intitial site visit, with follow-up visits as needed, to:

  1. gather and assess existing documention, records, reports of the property
  2. inspect and assess the existing conditions of the property
    1. describe the struture/site
    2. conduct photographic documentation
    3. assess materials, systems
  3. speak with property owners, stewards to understand their
    1. past stewardship practices
    2. current stewardship practices
    3. concerns
    4. capacity
    5. goals
  4. develop treatment recommendations
    1. prioritize
  5. recommend future consulting work

This is followed by off-site work, to develop a multi-page, illustrated report along with a list of preservation resources, to provide an initial assessment that includes a description of how to proceed. 

Note: For this class, it is likely you will ideally visit the site at least two times to:

  1. undertake preliminary assessment
  2. after reviewing field notes, undertaking off-site research, and developing an outline of your report, field check your work, make additional investigation, field notes, photographs based on questions developed in advance of this site visit.
  3. develop a final draft of your assessment; if possible, return to the site to verify assessment findings with existing conditions, limitations of the site, and review with the owner.

An assessment of this nature does not include:

  1. detailed physical anaylsis
  2. historical research (National Register Bulletin 39, Researching a Historic Property)
  3. cost estimates
  4. structural evaluation
  5. code assessment
  6. investigation of potenital hazardous materials.

This does not mean you might not need to propose such work.

While general preservation recommendations are referenced, specific conservation problems may not need to be evaluated, nor may detailed treatment recommendations be prepared.

The assessment indicates what future conservation assessments may be considered.

In-depth historical research, employing primary and secondary resources, is also beyond the scope of this assessment. Such work is typically addressed when a Historic Structure Report (The Preparation and Use of Historic Structure Reports, NPS Preservation Brief 43) or a Preservation Plan is undertaken.