Project Documentation


For SHPO review, we need to understand the existing conditions and proposal so that we can offer recommendations and assistance. Therefore, project submissions should contain adequate and clear documentation of the property before work begins as well as a thorough presentation of the proposed work. Our review is comparative: we examine the existing conditions and evaluate the proposed work based on that information.

Without complete documentation, review is extremely difficult and in some cases may be impossible. When projects are completed prior to SHPO review, there may be ramifications for funding and other approvals. There are three major categories of documentation materials which are essential for most projects: floor plans and site plans, photographs, and a narrative description of work. Occasionally, material samples may also be requested.


Photographs are the basis for understanding existing conditions at an historic property. Before-rehabilitation photographs of all interior spaces and features and all exterior elevations should be taken. The photos should be keyed to floor plans or site plans as necessary, so that reviewers can understand the area and direction of view easily. Good quality black and white or color prints, and color photocopies are acceptable. Generally, Polaroid-type or other "instant" formats do not provide enough detail to be useful for review.


Plans are almost always required to understand a project and should depict the existing condition of the building and site and any proposed changes. For clarity, it is best that these be prepared as separate drawing sets. If changes are proposed for the exterior of the building, elevation plans should also be submitted. Significant site work such as parking, ramps, and landscaping changes should be shown on a site plan. Section drawings may be necessary to show changes in ceiling height, new interior construction or other complex proposals.


The narrative should clearly describe the condition of existing features, and the proposed work, including the specific materials and methods of repair. The narrative should be as clear as possible. The best way to organize the narrative is by describing the existing material, feature or space and then describe the proposed work at that area.

How to Apply for the Investment Tax Credit

Owners wishing to apply for the federal Historic Preservation Investment Tax Credit need to use the 3 part application, with supplementation plans and photos. We strongly encourage anyone pursuing tax credits to contact the SHPO early in the planning stages of your project so that we can discuss the application and help in its development. Also, it is rehabilitation prior to construction.

The SHPO works with the property owner and/or architect throughout the project development and construction phases to help owners obtain tax credits. Part 1 is the "Evaluation of Significance" and establishes the historic status of the building. To qualify, properties must be listed on the National Register of Historic Places or listed within 30 months of project completion. The Part 2 "Description of Rehabilitation" is a detailed documentation of the existing conditions and the rehabilitation proposal.

This proposal is evaluated using the Secretary's Standards to determine whether it is consistent with the historic character of the structure. Following completion of the project, the "Request for Certification of Completed Work," commonly called the Part 3, is submitted documenting the completed condition of the building. If it is determined that the completed project is consistent with the Standards, the National Park Service issues final certification.