Historic Structures ProgramAs defined in Directors Order No. 28: Cultural Resource Management, a historical architect is “a specialist in the science and art of architecture with specialized advanced training in the principles, theories, concepts, methods, and techniques of preserving prehistoric and historic structures.”

The preservation of historic structures involves two basic concerns: slowing the rate at which historic material is lost and maintaining historic character. Research on, planning for, and stewardship of historic structures focus on these concerns and the Historical Architect is the lead professional in these tasks. Research defines historic associations, integrity, character, and the causes of deterioration; designing/planning develops and evaluates proposals for use and treatment in terms of their likely effects; and stewardship entails activities ranging from craft training to the identification and mitigation of threats.

Historical Architect (GS-0808)
Following is a list of the competencies and the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) needed to perform in this particular discipline at the Entry. Developmental and Full Performance levels. Each performance level includes the KSAs of the preceding level(s). Click on the arrow next to the level description to show or hide the KSAs for that level.

Preservation Law, Philosophy, and Practice
Entry Level

Description: Upon entry at this level, the historical architect possesses some basic knowledge, skills, and abilities. The goal is to strengthen and broaden the entry level historical architect’s knowledge, skills, and abilities with narrowly focused and detailed assignments and close and regular supervision. Ideally, Entry Level historical architects are professionally mentored and technically supervised by another historical architect at the full or advanced performance level. Formal training is for orienting the historical architect to the agency organization and mission, and its relationship to the historic preservation field. Training in the profession of historical architecture is typically achieved by on-the-job experiences and close mentoring.

    This competency identifies the basic knowledge required to do architectural work on historic structures. It covers the ability to read and understand the laws, regulations, policies, guidelines, and standards that apply to preservation work in the National Park Service.

    Basic knowledge of research, planning and stewardship activities related to the management and preservation of historic structures.

    Basic knowledge about the NPS planning processes as related to the management and preservation of historic structures.

    Basic knowledge of the origins, theories and principles of historic preservation and skilled in applying this knowledge to individual assignments.

    Basic knowledge of related cultural resource management disciplines such as archeology, ethnography, history, landscape architecture, and museum management.

    Skill at applying the criteria of the National Register of Historic Places in making decisions about management and preservation of historic structures.


Developmental Level

Description: Advancement from Entry to Developmental Level occurs when the historical architect demonstrates a solid understanding of the historic structures programs, purpose, and products, and possesses the knowledge, skills and abilities to function more independently in the work environment. The goal is to strengthen the historical architect’s knowledge, skills, and abilities related to project planning and implementation, and interdisciplinary coordination and teamwork while reducing the level of supervision and review. At the Developmental Level, the historical architect may technically supervise Entry Level historical architects while still being mentored by a Full Performance Level historical architect. Developmental Level historical architects may also begin to specialize in a specific area of architectural or historic preservation and may assist with internal cultural resource program management and partnerships development. Formal training becomes more specialized and professional mentoring lessens.

    This competency identifies the KSAs required to do architectural work on historic structures. It covers the interpretation and use of the laws, regulations, policies, guidelines, and standards that apply to preservation NPS work.

    Skill at applying knowledge of federal legislation, Executive Orders and NPS management policies to management and preservation of historic structures.

    Skill at applying, interpreting, and explaining the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

    Ability to prepare and review Section 106 compliance documents.

    Ability to assimilate and apply knowledge of architectural conservation treatment for historic structures.

    Knowledge of related cultural resource management disciplines such as archeology, ethnography, history, landscape architecture, and museum management to the degree that ensures their proper consideration in historic structures management and preservation.


Full Performance Level

    This competency provides professional direction on preservation laws, regulations, policies, guidelines, and standards as they relate to historic structures in the National Park Service.

    Knowledge of the National Environmental Protection Act as it applies to park cultural resources. Skilled at developing, interpreting and integrating Section 106 into the planning process.

    Ability to develop alternatives for historic structures and implement treatment.

    Knowledge of and ability to participate in the NPS planning, programming and budgeting process.

    Ability to develop the historic structures component of a park’s resource management plan.

    Ability to develop partnerships for the accomplishment of the historic structures program.

Inventory and Research
Entry Level
    This competency identifies the KSAs needed to conduct basic inventories and research on historic structures. Also, this competency identifies the KSAs needed to gather, recognize, and diagnose the cause of materials deterioration, systems failure, and/or problems.

    A. Inventory/Documentation

      Ability to identify and describe building styles, typologies and conditions using conventional terminology and formats.

      Knowledge of at on-site investigative techniques for structures.

      Ability to conduct List of Classified Structures (LCS) field surveys, enter the information into the LCS database and interpret the data.

      Basic knowledge of the content of Historic Structure Reports (HSR), NPS Facility Management Software System (FMSS) and the National Register program.

    B. Research/Fabric Investigation

      Knowledge of how to conduct non-destructive investigation, materials sample collecting and monitoring to determine the evolution and physical condition of an historic structures material.

    C. Analysis/Diagnosis

      Knowledge of the basic elements and performance standards for assessing an historic structure’s condition.

      Basic knowledge of how to date structures and their evolution based on physical evidence.

      Basic knowledge about life and safety codes as they relate to historic structures and awareness of codes and guides that specifically address historic structures.


Developmental Level
    This competency identifies the KSAs needed to conduct inventories and research, and to gather, recognize, and diagnose the causes of materials deterioration, systems failure and/or other problems.

    A. Inventory/Documentation

      Skill at using NPS cultural resource inventories and surveys for project and program work.

      Ability to formulate methodologies, schedule/track and serve as an active interdisciplinary team member of architects, historians and conservators on various archival and field documentation projects.

    B. Research/Fabric Investigation

      Skill in coordinating a multi-disciplined research team.

    C. Analysis/Diagnosis

      Proficient in dating structures and subsequent modifications based on construction type and building systems.

      Proficient at conducting a building assessment for determining integrity, physical evolution, condition, and the impact of proposed uses and treatments.

      Knowledge of material science in the context of building materials and their deterioration and treatment. Familiar with the effects of pollutants and moisture borne pollutants on historic structures.

      Ability to diagnose and recommend treatment for the wide range of moisture problems which contribute to rot, deterioration, fungal infestation, settlement, masonry problems, and finish failures.


Full Performance Level

    This competency identifies the KSAs needed to conduct basic historic structures inventories and conduct research on historic structures. This competency identifies the KSAs needed to gather, recognize, diagnose and analyze the cause of materials deterioration, systems failure and/or problems.

    A. Inventory/Documentation

      Ability to formulate methodologies, schedule/track and lead an interdisciplinary team of architects, historians and conservators on various archival and field documentation projects.

    B. Research/Fabric Investigation

      Thorough knowledge of a broad variety of craft practices and the ability to do research on specialized structure types and uncommon building materials.

      Skill at conducting non-destructive investigation and monitoring to discern evolution or deterioration of a structure.

      Knowledge of innovative technologies and ability to develop new methods that can be used to conduct non-destructive investigation and monitoring.

    C. Analysis/Diagnosis

      Ability to independently produce the architectural sections of a Historic Structure Report.

      Ability to coordinate and direct the work of the other professionals contributing to these documents.

      Ability to integrate history, landscape architecture, archeology, and building conservation information into Historic Structure Reports.

Historic Structure Materials and Systems
Entry Level
    This competency identifies the basic knowledge about various historic building materials and systems needed by an entry level historical architect with treatment responsibilities for historic structures.

    Basic knowledge of building materials and finishes such as wood, masonry, metals, mortar, stucco, plasters, adobe, and paints.

    Basic knowledge of the development, evolution, and application of building technologies.

    Basic knowledge and ability to identify various types of architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical and protection systems, components, and hardware.

    Basic knowledge of environmental and sustainable practices as they pertain to preservation treatment.


Developmental Level
    This competency identifies the KSAs regarding historic building materials and systems needed by a Developmental Level historical architect with comprehensive treatment responsibilities for historic structures.

    A. Materials

      Knowledge of mid-18th to mid 20th century building types and an understanding of their construction materials and methods.

      Sufficient depth of knowledge in order to identify regional building material types.

      Knowledge of contemporary materials (concrete, consolidants, mortars, sealants, coatings) and their performance with, and effects on, existing materials.

    B. Systems

      Ability to identify the architectural, structural, mechanical, and electrical systems of the mid-18th to mid-20th centuries.

      Sufficient depth of knowledge in order to recognize different periods and regional applications of architectural and engineering systems.

      Ability to design and make treatment recommendations using current technology for structural, mechanical/HVAC, plumbing, electrical/lighting, thermal, and moisture proofing systems to minimize visual impact and maximize the preservation of historic material.

      Ability to apply knowledge about the relationships between environmental controls, visitation, museum collection’s needs, and the historic structure’s needs to treatment recommendations and designs.

      Ability to recommend appropriate fire suppression and intrusion systems.

      Ability to develop innovative installation methods for concealing fire suppression systems with respect to the historic resource and museum management.

      Ability to evaluate structural systems and their condition, ability to diagnose structural movement; skilled in diagnosing weaknesses in structural systems their components; ability to develop programs to monitor structural movement and cracks.

      Skill in applying environmental and sustainable practices as they pertain to preservation treatment.


Full Performance Level
    This competency identifies the mastery of knowledge and skills related to historic building materials needed by a historical architect to work on historic structures and identifies the breadth and depth of KSAs related to historic building assemblies, structures, and systems needed to work on and serve as an expert on historic structures both locally and nationally.

    A. Materials

      Thorough knowledge of technological history and physical characteristics of building materials (wood, masonry, metals, glass, mortar, renderers).

      Ability to date structures/features; assess conditions; and develop recommendations for treatment.

      Knowledge of contemporary building materials and construction practices and the ability to specify and direct treatment using appropriate design and treatment solutions.

    B. Systems

      Ability to review contract documents pertaining to structural/mechanical systems specific to the historic structure and regional considerations.

      Skill at diagnosing moisture problems and setting up monitoring programs to diagnose problems.

      Skill at developing treatment recommendations and designs to correct moisture problems.

      Ability to direct engineers and/or contractors to design and implement appropriate systems for intrusion and fire detection that minimize visual impact and maximum preservation of historic materials.

      Knowledge of various subsoil conditions affecting historic structures including ground water movement, differential settlement, natural occurrence, and human intervention.

      Skill at identifying material deterioration and at making treatment recommendations to control insect, pest, and fungal infestations within historic structures.

      Skill in applying environmental and sustainable practices as they pertain to preservation treatment.

Preservation, Treatment and Maintenance
Entry Level
    This competency identifies the KSAs needed to effectively plan and implement historic structures treatment projects and provide technical assistance for park maintenance work.

    Knowledge about the removal, identification, salvage, and storage of historic material and artifacts during treatment projects.

    Knowledge of methods to prevent damage or destruction of historic material during treatment projects.
    Ability to participate in field inspections of contractor’s work during construction phases.

    Basic knowledge of the maintenance practices and systems in the NPS such the Facility Management Software System (FMSS).


Developmental Level
    This competency identifies the KSAs necessary to effectively plan and implements historic structures treatment projects and provides technical assistance for park maintenance or construction projects.

    A. Design/Treatment Planning

      Skill at producing construction drawings, written specifications, cost estimates, as-built records, and other related documents with minimal supervision and technical oversight by a full performance level historical architect.

      Skill at using the content of Historic Structure Reports and the Facility Management Software System.

      Skill at designing appropriate treatments for repairs, structural stabilization, installation/upgrade of mechanical, HVAC, electrical, lighting, security and fire detection/protection systems, proposed additions, and handicapped accessibility.

      Ability to apply knowledge of local, state and federal building codes and associated agency policy and guidelines (e.g., Director’s Order No. 50B: Risk Management) to project work.

      Ability to design historically accurate and/or compatible details for missing architectural features.

      Ability to set up testing programs for cleaning, graffiti removal, moisture monitoring, lighting, and sampling of mortar, paint, and finishes.

    B. Preservation Maintenance/Construction

      Ability to work effectively with park facility management to develop maintenance practices and preservation treatments based on the craft capability and material availability.

      Ability to direct the work of removal, identification and storage of historic materials and artifacts during treatment projects.

      Ability to inspect work on historic structures to assure that specifications and standards are being met.


Full Performance Level
    This competency identifies the KSAs required to ensure the historical architect can produce treatment plans, design, and contract documents to do work on historic structures. It covers the interpretation of the laws, policies, guidelines, and standards that apply to preservation work in the NPS and to make recommendations for the management of cultural resources beyond historic structures.

    A. Design/Treatment Planning

      Ability to assemble and lead an interdisciplinary team on treatment projects involving or affecting historic structures.

      Ability to supervise work and review architectural specifications, working drawings, cost estimates, and related construction documents.

    B. Preservation Maintenance/Construction

      Ability to identify and prioritize maintenance needs; develop long-range goals; and initiate inspection programs.

      Ability to review maintenance guidance for complex structures or complex building materials utilizing current NPS formats.

Project and Program Management
Entry Level
    This competency identifies the KSAs necessary to ensure the Entry Level historical architect can successfully participate in historic structures projects and in an interdisciplinary cultural resource program.

    Ability to work cooperatively with personnel from planning, archeology, ethnography, history, landscape architecture, museum management.

    Ability to recognize when other professionals should be consulted to assess condition, and to work effectively with consultants and managers as a team member.


Developmental Level
    This competency identifies the KSAs necessary to ensure the historical architect is well versed in the NPS cultural resource program and can effectively manage projects and contracts, as well as assist with or manage a historic or cultural resource program.

    A. Project Management

      Ability to effectively phase projects from inception through implementation.

      Skill at reviewing other professional disciplines’ reports, construction documents and shop drawings in a constructive and relevant manner.

      Proficient at integrating engineering, history, landscape architecture, and archeology information into historic structure reports and planning efforts.

      Ability to implement environmental techniques that meet management policy objectives.

    B. Contract Management

      Ability to prepare construction bidding and contract documents and architectural/engineering scopes of services.

      Certified to serve as the Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative in architectural/engineering contracts and construction contracts.

      Skill at establishing cooperative agreements for interdisciplinary projects, writing scopes of work for complex projects and administering agreements.


Full Performance Level

    This competency identifies the KSAs needed to ensure cultural resource concerns are addressed at the appropriate time in all park planning, design, and construction processes; and identifies the KSAs needed to effectively contract and manage government contracts and agreements as they relate to professional services, construction contract work, and agreements.

    A. Project Management

      Skill in critiquing interdisciplinary reports, contract documents, and closeout documents and ability to direct change and/or approve work.

    B. Contract Management

      Skill at development and management of partnerships for accomplishment of historic structures program.

      Ability to set up architectural and engineering contracts for advertisement through contracting officer and ability to serve as leader on technical review/selection panel for service contracts.

    C. Program Management

      Ability to act as lead in setting goals and content of a historic structures program.

      Ability to assemble, coordinate and manage an interdisciplinary cultural resource management program.

      Skill at including archeology, ethnography, history, landscape architecture, museum management, and natural resource sciences in programming and project development.

      Skill at using NPS cultural resource inventories and planning documents to develop and support management of historic structures and to develop long-range planning and budget formulations.

      Ability to facilitate ongoing strategic planning including developing and prioritizing programs goals, objectives and initiatives.

      Skill at networking within the organization and with related private, federal, state and international preservation organizations to access historic structures and cultural resources information.

      Ability to develop the architectural component of a park’s Resource Management Plan.

      Ability to evaluate a park’s historic structure program and develop a research and operational program to correct deficiencies.

      Ability to work with natural resource managers on issues and concerns as they affect or interface with cultural resources.

      Skilled at implementing environmental techniques which meet management policy objectives.

Communications
Entry Level
    This competency identifies the KSAs needed to communicate and present information on cultural resource issues and specifically historic structures to his/her peers, team members, supervisor, managers, and the public.

    Ability to write and graphically illustrate reports, technical articles and correspondence.

    Ability to use current computer software programs for written and graphic communication.


Developmental Level
    This competency identifies the KSAs needed by the Developmental Level historical architect to effectively communicate and present information on cultural resource issues and specifically historic structures to peers, team members, supervisor, managers, and the public.

    Ability to prepare and deliver papers for professional conferences and journals.

    Skill in articulating complex historic structures management issues verbally, graphically and in writing.


Full Performance Level
    This competency identifies the KSAs needed to communicate and present information on cultural resource issues and specifically historic structures to his/her peers, team members, supervisor, managers, and the public.

    Ability to articulate the mission of the National Park Service to the professions of architecture and historic preservation.

NPS Skills Development Plan

The basis for this outline of essential competencies is the Skills Development Plan for Historic Architects (1986) prepared by Hugh C. Miller, FAIA former Chief Historical Architect, Lee H. Nelson, FAIA former Chief, Preservation Assistance Division and Emogene A. Bevitt, formerly of the Preservation Assistance Division. Although the plan, endorsed by then National Park Service Director William Penn Mott, Jr., was never funded or formally implemented it received a Citation for Outstanding Education in Practice from the American Institute of Architects.