Environmental & Safety Considerations

When working with a historic structure you must remember that aside from the end goal of preservation, rehabilitation, etc. , there are also often environmental and safety hazards that need to be taken into consideration.

A good place to start? Perform a building condition assessment.

Building Condition Assessment

Building condition assessments should always be the first step when dealing with a historic structure, regardless of whether the goal is preservation, restoration, or rehabilitation.

There are two primary reasons for completing a condition assessment: to identify the materials and features of a historic structure, and determine their condition.

The National Park Service has put together a useful post containing tips on the best way to complete a condition assessment. Lastly, it is important that issues discovered during a condition assessment are addressed quickly and appropriately to avoid further complications.

Historic Structures Reports

“A historic structure report provides documentary, graphic, and physical information about a property’s history and existing condition. Broadly recognized as an effective part of preservation planning, a historic structure report also addresses management or owner goals for the use or re-use of the property. It provides a thoughtfully considered argument for selecting the most appropriate approach to treatment, prior to the commencement of work, and outlines a scope of recommended work. The report serves as an important guide for all changes made to a historic property during a project-repair, rehabilitation, or restoration-and can also provide information for maintenance procedures. Finally, it records the findings of research and investigation, as well as the processes of physical work, for future researchers.”

Preservation Brief 43: The Preparation and Use of Historic Structures Reports

Common Issues

Lead Paint


Asbestos resilience to heat, fire, chemicals and other outside factors made it a popular choice for construction materials.

Structural Problems

It is important to examine and evaluate the structural condition of a historic building before moving forward with any work.