‘HABS Like’ Mitigation

What is ‘HABS Like’
I get this call all the time from developers, property owners and even architects. “I have a mitigation for a ‘HABS like’ documentation, do you know what this is?” I tell them I do and then they send over the PDF of their mitigations (some run into hundreds of pages). These mitigation requirements can be triggered by (NEPA), Section 106, National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Environmental Impact report (EIR), and mitigated negative declaration (MND) as well as local preservation ordinances.

What is a HABS documentation?
The Secretary of the Interior set standards and levels of documentation for historic buildings, sites and landscapes which is administered by the National Park Service (NPS). There are three main components to the documentation: measured drawings, written narrative report and large format photography. There are 4 levels but the three that are most commonly used differ mainly regarding the measured drawings and written narrative. The large format photography is fairly consistent among the 3 levels. Level IV documentation consists of completed HABS/HAER/HALS inventory cards. This level of documentation, unlike the other three levels, is rarely considered adequate documentation for the HABS/HAER/HALS collections (35mm film) but is undertaken to identify historic resources in a given area prior to additional, more comprehensive documentation.

What is large format photography?
Large format photography utilizes a view camera with sheet film that measures 4”x5”, 5”x7” or 8”x10” (the size of the negative). The camera also has to be able to correct for distortion. The film has to be process so that it is archival for 500 years. Prints made from the negatives have to be archival for 100+ years.

Why Large Format?
A 4”x5” sheet of film is almost 15 times larger than a 35mm negative.

Why Black and White Film?
The film needs to be archival for 500 years. Color film begins to fad and deteriorate in as little as 20 years. Plus, black and white film has better detail (resolution) than color.

What is Archival?
Both the negative and prints are archived in the Library of Congress or other state and local libraries, museums and historical societies. Both need to be properly processed to remove residual chemicals that, over time, will eat away at the emulsion and reducing image detail.

How to get started?
All we need is a copy of your mitigation requirements pertaining to your HABS HAER or HALS documentation. We will talk directly with the Planning Dept. to confirm exactly the items needed to fulfill your obligations and move your project along. We have been creating historic documentation for 20 plus years. We are based in the Pasadena area of Los Angeles and extensive experience creating HABS HAER HALS in Pasadena, Los Angeles, Southern California (So Cal), Northern California (No Cal), Nevada (NV) and Arizona (AZ).