Type "historic preservation" into a search engine, and you could end up being overwhelmed by the number of results returned. HGTVRemodels.com has done its own filtering to bring you some of the most helpful sites on the topic.
The American College of the Building Arts
If you're considering a career in the preservation building trades, this college provides the academic and practical experience you may be looking for. This Charleston, S.C.-based institution grew out of the School of the Building Arts, and offers a full academic schedule along with preservation training so students graduate with a bachelor's degree.
This site was developed by Dan Holohan, a well-known HVAC consultant and frequent contributor to related trade publications. It's a great forum for plumbers looking for the best approaches to reusing or restoring boiler-based heating systems, whether for traditional radiators or modern hydronic systems. Also check out The Wall, a discussion forum covering just about any nitty-gritty installation or maintenance question you can think of.
John Leeke's Historic Homeworks
John Leeke is a preservation consultant and instructor, and the website he's developed for his business also offers a forum for posting restoration problems, along with video and photo instructions and a large library of articles on many aspects of working with historic structures.
National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers
This website for the national association representing state historic preservation officers also provides an online database listing the name of every state's historic preservation officer, along with contact information. You'll need to work with your state's historic preservation officer to begin the process of getting a property listed on the National Historic Register, which is a requirement of any project seeking historic preservation tax incentives.
National Center for Preservation Technology & Training
Established through the National Park Service, this agency has an architecture and engineering section with a range of reports on various structural issues to consider in older buildings.
National Park Service
So what does the National Park Service have to do with your next period remodeling project? Well, this U.S. Interior Dept. agency also supervises preservation guidelines related to the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives. The NPS page above links to information on those guidelines, as well as to procedures for documenting a historic property and getting it listed on the national historic register. You can even apply to own a lighthouse.
National Trust for Historic Preservation
This well-respected advocacy group also has championed programs like the National Main Street effort to restore aging business districts and preservation development initiatives to help communities capture the value of their historic districts.
Old House Web
Somewhat more focused toward homeowners than building pros, this site still offers helpful how-to advice, along with product-supplier listings and feature stories that can help those in the middle of difficult renovations see the potential for light at the end of the rehabbed tunnel.
This is a portal-like website, with listings for all things historic/preservation-related, from restoration services to historic bed & breakfasts.
Preservation Trades Network
This group, which also sponsors the annual International Preservation Trades Workshop, was established to maintain — and grow — the body of knowledge relating to traditional building methodology. The website itself isn't terribly deep, but you can use the website to reach out to members with traditional-building questions, from timber framing to plastering.
This site, developed by editors of Traditional Building magazine, offers a comprehensive directory of historic-product manufacturers and distributors. So whether you're seeking a reproduction clawfoot bathtub or salvaged antique flooring, you'll probably find a source here.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Financial assistance also is available for renovating nonhistoric properties through HUD, which administers a program that can help home buyers finance improvements into their mortgages based on the assumed value those improvements will add to the home's worth. The process can be a bit cumbersome, and can add some time to a standard real-estate closing, but it could also mean the difference between getting a home upgraded upfront, instead of waiting years for needed repairs.
Knowing the rules of preservation groups will smooth the path for future renovation projects.
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