In addition to HRS §6E

Most everyone has at some time visited a place that made them feel. Places can comfort, inspire, overwhelm and even remind us of our humanity. They can range from grand parks, to family homes or even your favorite local food joint. At these places we form memories that we carry with us throughout our lives.

Places we form attachments to are important; not only because they make us feel, but because they speak to what we collectively value as a society. Historic places have the power to tell us where we come from, represent who we are as a people, and document our existence for future generations. They are our legacy.

In Hawaii, historic places play the important role of tangibly linking the diverse modern population with Hawaii’s unique history. They simultaneously serve as places of memory for those who have always lived here while educating new comers about the islands’ collective history. Preservation is important; not only as a means to remember our past but to inspire our future.


Kress The Architecture Branch manages a variety of programs that aim to identify, record and maintain historic properties in order to achieve its mission of preserving the state’s significant built environments. The branch reviews all requests for building modifications and assesses the impact of these changes on historic properties, is responsible for maintaining the Hawaii Register of Historic Properties, for assisting in the preparation of nominations for both the Hawaii and National Registers, and for staffing the Hawaii Historic Places Review Board.  Programs include the Survey & Inventory, Hawaii and National Registers, Certified Local Government, Review & Compliance and Tax Credit programs.


Survey & Inventory

kapahuluSurvey and inventory plays a critical role in cultural resource management and sound historic preservation planning activities throughout the state. Without knowing what resources are in an area, it is difficult to understand the history of an area and make determinations of eligibility. Surveys are used to identify the boundaries of a historic district, property, town, etc. while inventories identify and document each contributing resource located within the surveyed area. 

Information on the branch’s recent surveys is coming soon!


Hawaii & National Registers of Historic Places

registerThe State and National Registers of Historic Places are the official lists of historic places worthy of preservation. Listing on the National and Hawaii Registers provides recognition of a property’s historical, architectural, engineering, cultural or archaeological significance. Buildings, sites, objects, structures and districts are eligible for this designation if they are at least 50 years old (with rare exceptions) and meet established criteria.

The Architecture Branch is responsible for maintaining the Hawaii Register of Historic Properties, for assisting in the preparation of nominations for both the Hawaii and National Registers, and for staffing the Hawaii Historic Places Review Board.


Certified Local Government

clgThe Certified Local Government (CLG) program is a partnership between local, state and federal entities designed to promote preservation at the local level. By joining the program, local communities gain technical assistance and federal funds in exchange for their commitment to preservation.   Requirements include the formation of a qualified historic preservation commission; the establishment of a local preservation ordinance; the creation and maintenance of a system of survey and inventory; and the facilitation of public participation in local preservation efforts, including the National Registers listing process. 

Together these programs help the community continually identify their historic resources, educate the public about those resources, and monitor and comment on changes to them. The Architecture Branch is responsible for coordinating the CLG program for the state of Hawaii, which includes managing the program’s grant program and providing assistance to the state’s three CLGs. 


Review & Compliance

kamoiThe branch reviews federal, state and local requests for building modifications and assesses the impact of these changes on historic properties. Hawaii Revised Chapter (HRS) 6E allows SHPD to review and comment on all projects on publicly and privately owned properties over 50 years old.

For more information on the HRS 6E review process, visit this link.

In addition to HRS 6E, the branch reviews federal projects under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, which requires federal agencies to take into account the effects of their undertakings on historic properties. The historic preservation review process requires the federal agency to identify historic properties within their project area, assess if the potential project could affect a historic property, and resolve adverse effects through avoidance or mitigation.

This process must be completed for all projects that utilize federal funds, federal lands, federal permits, or any type of federal approval or clearance. These projects range from military base expansion to the construction of a new FCC backed bank. Though it sounds simple, Section 106 can be extremely complicated and time consuming.

Information on Section 106 is coming soon!


Historic Tax Credits

Listing on the Hawaii and National Registers of Historic Places qualifies those properties for both county and federal tax incentives. All of the state’s counties have tax exemptions for properties listed on the Hawaii Register of Historic Places. Additionally, the City & County of Honolulu offers a 50% commercial property tax exemption for those listed on the Hawaii Register of Historic Places.

More information on county tax exemptions is coming soon!

houseThe federal government offers two property tax credits for historic buildings. The Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program provides a 20% income tax credit for the rehabilitation of historic, income-producing buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A 10% tax credit is available for the rehabilitation of non-residential buildings built before 1936 not listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  In total about 1000 projects are approved every year leveraging nearly $4 billion in private investment in private investment in the rehabilitation of historic buildings across the country and approximately 63,000 jobs in 2013.



halepiliThe Architecture Branch consists of four funded positions: three “Architectural Historians” and a supervisor called the Architecture Branch Chief.   The Historic Preservation Grant Fund (HPF) Manual requires that, within these positions, there be individual staff members that meet the Secretary of the Interiors (SOI) Professional Qualification Standards for architectural historian and historian.