Historic Building Rehab Contractor Certification Questionnaire


Over the past year, an informal working group of historic preservation organizations, educators, and advocates have been meeting to design a process by which contractors and others in historic preservation trades (i.e. carpentry, masonry, etc.) can apply for and receive certification that they are skilled and knowledgeable to perform appropriate rehabilitation work on historic properties. In addition to professionals in various building rehabilitation trades and skills, this training also would be available to other professionals such as realtors, planners, Main Street Managers, students, historic homeowners, and interested members of the public. The group’s working model has been the popular Master Gardeners Program.

Why are we doing this?

There are many compelling reasons why a certificate program in historic building rehab trades would be beneficial. There are unmet demands from consumers for contractors, realtors and other who are versed in historic preservation. For example, many homeowners want to hire carpenters to help maintain their historic homes but have trouble finding knowledgeable professionals to work in specialized, traditional trades. Additionally in many markets, home sellers and buyers cannot easily find realtors having a depth of knowledge in the value of historic features such as wood windows or the benefits of historic home ownership. Further, it benefits any company and community to promote energy efficiency, and there are appropriate treatments available to historic homeowners that do not damage historic materials. Finally, the Washington Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) has found that building repair and tourism related to historic preservation generates millions of dollars, helping small businesses. Also, studies show that well-maintained historic properties and districts retain higher property and re-sale values.

The concept

At this point, the group’s idea is to have the contractor certification program be administered by Washington State University. With its Master Gardener and other similar programs, WSU is a good fit for managing this type of certification program . Prospective contractors would apply to WSU for certification based upon a demonstrated level of training, knowledge, and experience in historic preservation rehabilitation craftsmanship. Prospective contractors would pay an annual fee to WSU to maintain their certification status plus administer the program. Training programs (i.e. workshops, seminars, coursework, on-line courses, apprenticeships, etc.) already are, and would be made available to help prospective contractors understand and learn proper rehabilitation skills and techniques. These programs would also need to be reviewed and certified by WSU as well.

We need your help!

The working group is still very early in organizing the program. That’s why we are looking for your input to help us measure the need for a building rehab contractor certification program and a coordinated preservation trades training effort.

To help us, please take a few minutes to respond to the following questions. Also, you are encouraged to make any additional comments in the space provided at the end. Thank you.
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