Understanding Historic Buildings

A Guide to Good Recording Practice

This Historic England guidance sets out the process of investigating and recording historic buildings for the purposes of historical understanding. It aims to assist professional practitioners and curators, managers of heritage assets, academics, students and volunteer recorders in compiling or commissioning records that are accurate and suited to the purposes for which they are intended.

For those undertaking recording themselves it provides practical advice on surveying, photography and report writing. It also assists those managing the built environment to set appropriate specifications for the recording of historic buildings by others.

It supersedes the English Heritage guidance published in February 2006 (51125), which itself replaced the RCHME guidelines Recording Historic Buildings: A Descriptive Specification (3 editions: 1990, 1991 and 1996).


  1. Why record? 
  2. Prior to recording
  3. When to record
  4. Creating a record
  5. Recording levels: a description
  6. Preserving the record
  7. Architectural drawing conventions
  8. Bibliography 
  9. Where to get advice

Additional Information

  • Series: Guidance
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Pages: 64
  • Product Code: HEAG099


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