An Overview of the Steps Involved in a Historic Property Survey

A historic property survey is a detailed assessment and documentation of a historic building or site. It typically includes architectural drawings, photographs, historical research, and an assessment of the existing conditions. This documentation is one way of preserving the cultural and historical significance of the property and can be used for developing a work plan for the restoration and rehabilitation of historic features. Completing a historic property survey involves multiple steps and typically requires the involvement of experts.

Step 1: Identifying the Objective of the Evaluation

The first step in beginning the survey is to identify the objective of the evaluation and determine what should be achieved upon completion. It is most helpful to gather any existing records of the property before beginning the survey such as floor plans, permit records, information about the architect or previous homeowners, and previous surveys. Next, a site visit must be conducted in order to complete a thorough evaluation of the conditions of the property. During the site visit the evaluator may do a historic window survey as well as note any important architectural features, and materials and look for evidence of any previous alterations. Detailed photos of the property will be taken of the exterior and interior to create a visual record of the character-defining features and the current conditions.

For more information, contact Historia Design & Consulting, one of the top historic preservation consulting firms in Southern California.

Step 2: Compiling the Property’s History

Following the site evaluation, in-depth research is done on the property’s history, its architectural style, and an evaluation of historical significance based on the historical context of the area and the criterion for designation. This information requires visiting archives, libraries, and online historical databases. If there are no existing floor plans for the property, it will be necessary to prepare architectural drawings including floor plans and elevations. The information is compiled into a comprehensive report in addition to an analysis, and recommendations for repairs, restoration, or further study. It is good practice to periodically update the survey to account for changes in the property’s condition, such as repairs or alterations that have been done or new findings in historical research.

Professional Historic Property Survey Services

Historic property surveys can be complex, but Historia Design & Consulting has the specialized knowledge and resources to complete accurate surveys and comprehensive historic evaluations and reports. Consulting with local preservation organizations or professionals with experience in historic preservation is advisable if you want the best results from your survey.

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