8. Building recording

Building investigation, recording and analysis form a programme of work intended to establish archaeological significance, including the character, history, dating, form and archaeological development of a particular building, structure, or complex, and its setting. This can include buried components, on land, inter-tidal zone or underwater. Building investigation and recording should draw on existing records (both archaeological and historical) and on results from fieldwork that has already been carried out. The programme should result in the production of drawings, an ordered accessible archive and a report. It usually involves the recording of particular features, but may also incorporate elements of invasive, scientific work, such as dendrochronology where appropriate and permitted.

Building investigation and recording is carried out in order to inform: Level recording

* planning for the conservation, alteration, demolition, repair or management of a building, or structure, or complex and its setting,
or:
* seeking a better understanding, compiling a lasting record, analysing the findings/record, and then disseminating the results.

Building investigation and recording may arise due to a number of circumstances, including arising:

* prior to, during and on completion of works of repair, alteration, management or demolition
* as part of the planning process (within the framework of appropriate national guidance and policy)
* under ecclesiastical legislative provisions
* as the basis for, or in conjunction with, proposals or specifications for work to a building, structure, or complex and its setting, for example by an architect, chartered surveyor or engineer
* as part of a process of controlled demolition or re-erection
* alongside a programme of archaeological assessment, site or field evaluation or excavation
* as part of the interpretation and presentation of a site to the public
* within a programme of research
* as part of a disaster mitigation plan by way of insurance against loss or damage

One very important point to remember with dissemination of information about buildings investigation, recording and analysis, is whether wide publicity could create a security issue, especially if the research has centred around a private residence or derelict building! Architectural theft is a major problem, so please be aware of whether sensitivity and discretion are needed in the case of your particular project.

Furthermore, if you are engaged in evaluation of maritime archaeology and a significant discovery is made, you may need to keep this confidential until advice from the appropriate national curator (e.g. English Heritage or Historic Scotland) has been sought.

## Checklist

* Remember to consider the buried remains associated with a site, as well as the standing structures and features.
* Develop a project design to plan and guide your research and investigation.
* Keep your local authority archaeologist (or equivalent) aware of your work from early on in the project.
* Be aware of any legal requirements or constraints, including permission to access certain areas and even Treasure/Treasure Trove.
* Be aware of Health and Safety considerations at all times.
* You should not need to retrieve material or artefacts in most instances of building recording, but if you do, make sure that you follow best practice guidance for retrieving, conserving and storing this material.
* Publication and dissemination of your work is very important, and be sure to share your project report with the local authority archaeologist or equivalent at the very least.

However;

* Be sensitive of any security issues that may arise from too wide a programme of publicity in some cases. Seek specialist advice if you are unsure what to do.
* Think about how you can publicise and disseminate your results most effectively, including possibly through the Festival of British Archaeology and/or Scottish Archaeology Month.
* Arrange a mentoring procedure within your group or involving another organisation if this is possible.

1. Building investigation and recording may take place alongside other types of archaeological investigation, or as a stand-alone project. Either way, it is important to remember to consider standing remains (predominantly buildings) as part of any archaeological investigation, but also to consider any buried remains as part of the research being carried out. Hence building investigation is an integral part of the archaeological process.

2. As with all archaeological investigation, you should only carry out building investigation and recording after you have developed a project design or specification. If at all possible, seek the assistance of a professional, experienced archaeologist with this. If your work is to do with maritime archaeology, it will be appropriate to contact the relevant national curator, for example English Heritage, Cadw or Historic Scotland. See [Project Design and Project Report Checklists and definitions](/docs/17) (Module 17) for a checklist of what should be included in a buildings investigation project design.

3. Be sure to show your project design to your local authority archaeologist, buildings conservation officer, or equivalent. As well as making them aware of your project, hence contributing to the archaeological record for the local area, this will also help your project as the local authority archaeologist or equivalent will be able to provide feedback about your project design and planned work.
Volunteers help record a site, Ironbridge
4. Consider any legal requirements, such as Scheduled Monument Consent or Listed Building Consent, as part of your project design and be sure to apply for any other permissions (such as access) that you may need. You may also need to be aware of arrangements for Treasure or Treasure Trove, in the event of finding material that qualifies under one of these categories.

5. Make sure that Health and Safety has been considered in your planned activities. This is particularly relevant in relation to an old or potentially unstable building. If conditions dictate, it may be necessary to abandon your project in the interests of safety. Make sure that appropriate equipment, and protective clothing, is used. Model risk assessments to help you decide on appropriate actions to increase on-site safety can be found in the [IfA risk assessment documents section](http://www.archaeologists.net/codes/ifa).

6. In most instances, building investigation and recording should not include the need to remove materials or artefacts. However, if this is required, for example if connected to a controlled demolition process, good practice should be followed relating to artefact collection, conservation, curation and storage as laid out in the [Excavation section](/docs/6) (Module 6) of this document and in the IfA _Standards and guidance for archaeological excavations_ (see suggested further reading below).

7. All archaeological projects should be published and disseminated. At the very least, a description of the project and its conclusions should be submitted to your local Historic Environment Record (HER – formerly called the Sites and Monuments Record, and the relevant National Monuments Record or equivalent. This description should take the form of a report which contains enough information for your conclusions to be scrutinised. The best way to submit this report if your site is in England, Scotland or Wales is online, via the [OASIS system](http://www.oasis.ac.uk). In Scotland, a site summary should be prepared for _Discovery and Excavation in Scotland_ (DES), published by Archaeology Scotland. If you have submitted your report through OASIS, DES will be notified automatically. By using the OASIS system you will also be given the opportunity to have your report included in the ADS ‘grey literature library’ of unpublished fieldwork reports, which will be available online. In Northern Ireland, a report should be sent to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency: Built Heritage Directorate. For the Bailiwick of Guernsey, including Alderney and Sark, reports should be submitted to the HER at Guernsey Museum. In Scotland it is necessary to produce a data structure report. Recommended minimum sections for a report of a building investigation and recording project, as well as the contents of a data structure report, are listed in [Project Design and Project Report Checklists and definitions](/docs/17) (Module 17) of this document.
Volunteers help with building recording
8. You could also consider publicising your work through public events, such as organising an event for the [Festival of British Archaeology](http://www.archaeologyfestival.org.uk) or [Scottish Archaeology Month](http://www.scottisharchaeology.org.uk/?q=node/33). Other options include:
* [Heritage Open Days](http://www.heritageopendays.org.uk) in England
* [Doors Open Days](http://www.doorsopendays.org.uk) in Scotland
* [Open Doors Days](http://www.civictrustwales.org) in Wales
* [European Heritage Open Days](http://www.ehsni.gov.uk) in Northern Ireland.

9. There may be a requirement to arrange a mentoring procedure for your project. This may be done through your own group (by assigning an experienced group member to monitoring duties), or may involve an archaeologist from your local authority, archaeological trust, university, or a national conservation agency acting as a mentor to your project.

## Suggested further reading

### IfA Standards and Guidance

* [IfA Standards and Guidance for the archaeological investigation and recording of standing buildings or structures](http://www.archaeologists.net/sites/default/files/node-files/ifa_standar...) (pdf file)
* [IfA Standards and Guidance for archaeological excavation](http://www.archaeologists.net/sites/default/files/node-files/ifa_standar... ) (pdf file)
* [IfA Introduction to Standards and Guidance](http://www.archaeologists.net/sites/default/files/node-files/ifa_standar...) (pdf file)
* [IfA Appendices to Standards and Guidance](http://www.archaeologists.net/sites/default/files/node-files/ifa_standar...) (pdf file)

### CBA Practical handbooks

* Alcock, N., Barley, M., and Dixon, P. (1996) _Recording Timber Framed Buildings: An illustrated glossary_. York, Council for British Archaeology, Practical Handbook Series no. 5
* Alcock, N., and Hall, L. (1994) _Fixture and fittings in dated houses 1567–1763_. York, Council for British Archaeology, Practical Handbook Series no. 11
* Cocke, T., Finley, D., Halsey, R., and Williamson, E. (1996) _Recording a Church: An illustrated glossary_. York, Council for British Archaeology, Practical Handbook Series no. 7
* Currie, C. (2005) _Garden Archaeology: A Handbook_. York, Council for British Archaeology, Practical Handbook Series no. 17
* Lowry, B. (1996) _20th Century Defences in Britain: An introductory guide_. York, Council for British Archaeology, Practical Handbook Series no. 12
* Mytum, H. (2000) _Recording and Analysing Graveyards_. York, Council for British Archaeology, Practical Handbook Series no. 15
* Steiner, M. (2006) _Approaches to Archaeological Illustration: A Handbook_. York, Council for British Archaeology, Practical Handbook Series no. 18
* Dellino-Musgrave, V. (forthcoming) _Marine Archaeology: A Handbook_. York, Council for British Archaeology, Practical Handbook Series no. 20
* Palmer, M., Nevell, M. and Sissons, M. (eds) (forthcoming) _Handbook on Industrial Archaeology_. York, Council for British Archaeology, Practical Handbook Series no. 21

All CBA Practical Handbooks are available online at: www.britarch.ac.uk/books/handbooks or at CBA bookstalls at events across the country (see www.britarch.ac.uk/books/events)

### Other References

* Bowens, A. (ed) (2008) _Underwater Archaeology: the NAS Guide to Principles and Practice_. Nautical Archaeology Society/Blackwell.
* Brown, D. (2007) _Archaeological Archives. A guide to best practice in creation, compilation, transfer and curation_. Institute for Archaeologists on behalf of the Archaeological Archives Forum. Available as free of charge hard copy on request from the IfA (http://www.archaeologists.net) or [downloadable PDF document](http://www.britarch.ac.uk/archives/Archives_Best_Practice.pdf).
* Council for British Archaeology (2010) _Archaeology and Buildings_. [Downlod PDF document](http://www.britarch.ac.uk/conservation/buildings)
* English Heritage (2007) Management of Research Projects in the Historic Environment (MoRPHE) Project Planning Note 3 – Excavations. [Visit website](http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/morphe)
* English Heritage (2006) Understanding Historic Buildings: A guide to good practice. Swindon, English Heritage Publishing. [Visit website](http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/publications/understanding-historic-b...)
* English Heritage et al (2010) _PPS5 Planning for the Historic Environment: Historic Environment Practice Planning Guide_. London, English Heritage. [Visit wesbite](http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/pps5)
* Historic Scotland (1996) _Archaeology Procedure Paper 2. Project design, implementation and archiving_. Edinburgh, Historic Scotland.

### Other Guidance Sources

* English Heritage also provide a database of guidelines and standards for different elements of archaeological practice. Most can be downloaded as free .pdf documents. http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/publications
* For more detailed advice on digital archiving, see the advice pages offered by the Archaeology Data Service: http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/project/goodguides/g2gp.html and http://guides.archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/.
* [Scotland’s Rural Past](www.scotlandsruralpast.org.uk) is a five-year HLF-funded project working across Scotland which provides local communities with an opportunity to get involved with surveying and recording settlement sites in their local areas. SRP have provided a [set of guidance for their groups](http://www.scotlandsruralpast.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=a...), much of which deals with different archaeological methods.