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• Documentation Techniques

Field measurements for architectural drawings.

HABS/HAER Standards


A building should be documented prior to any inventory, stabilization or investigative work in order to record crucial material evidence. A simple, comprehensive method is to take 35 mm photographs of every wall elevation (interior and exterior), as well as general views, and typical and unusual details. The systematic numbering of rooms, windows and doors on the floor plan will help organize this task and also be useful for labeling the photographs. Video coverage with annotated sound may supplement still photographs. Additional methods of documentation include written descriptions, sketches, and measured drawings.

Significant structures, such as individually listed National Register properties or National Historic Landmarks, benefit from professional photographic documentation and accurate measured drawings. Professionals frequently use The Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines for Architectural and Engineering Documentation: HABS/HAER Standards. It should be remembered that the documents created during investigation might play an unforeseen role in future treatment and interpretation. Documentation is particularly valuable when a feature will be removed or altered.