Historic preservation - Rehabilitation


If new work is added to a historic building, how would you differentiate from the old portion of the building and still compatible with the historic materials, features, sizes, and etc?
For example, if there is an existing brick building and new building will be added with compatible materials (bricks in same color and size, etc). How would you differentiate the new potion of the building to the historic building since same materials are used? Can anyone help? @coacheliserenwick


1 Like

Hey! That is an interesting question… There are two options as a designer for approaching a project where you have a historic structure that your adding an addition.

  1. You create a building or addition that is contemporary or of a different style so that you clearly annotate it as a new portion.

  2. Adding an addition that is in the same style as the existing historic structure thus blending the new addition with the old.

I suggest checking The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. Page 36/252

Let me know if this answers your question.

Best, Elise

1 Like

Thank you so much @coacheliserenwick !!
I didn’t know that new addition can be either identical to the historic building or contemporary. This cleared up my question.

Thank you so much. Your workshop was great!

1 Like

Hi Coach Elise,

I am doing a PA practice exam and got confused with one of the historic preservation questions. Here are my questions.

  1. Can all four treatment standards (preservation, rehabilitation, restoration, and reconstruction) be used for the historic preservation tax incentives? My understanding was this can be only used for a “rehabilitation” project.
  2. Can a new addition/construction be added to the existing historic building for tax incentives?

If you could help me out with these questions, I would greatly appreciate it.


Hello Megumi-

Glad to see that your consistently utilizing this platform outside of our workshops! In regard to your questions please see below;


  1. In regards to which standards can utilize historic preservation tax incentives (20% and 10% tax credits) you are correct that rehabilitation is the only one that applies. However if your client is willing to establish a Historic Preservation Easement, they may be eligible for tax benefits. If you check out this link to the National Parks Service US Department of the Interiors website they review this topic in more detail.

  2. Yes the rehabilitation standards state that you can add a new addition/construction.

“New additions, exterior alterations or related new construction will not destroy historic materials, features and spatial relationships that characterize the property. The new work will be differentiated from the old and will be compatible with the historic materials, features, size, scale and proportion, and massing to protect the integrity of the property and its environment.” LINK

Since the definition of Rehabilitation allows for an addition/new construction you can then assume that it also qualifies for tax incentives. Remember it is the category that qualifies and as long as you are playing by the rules outlined for that standard you should still qualify for tax incentives.

Hope that this answers your questions in full!


Hi Coach Elise,

Thank you so much for your reply. This helped me so much.
I am taking PA next month. Hopefully I am able to get all the historic preservation questions right!

Thanks again.