Contact us today to discuss your next project: 252.633.6452

Contact us today: 252.633.6452

Living History: Call in the Experts When Rehabilitating Historic Structures

Tarheel Blog - Historic Homes and Guidelines

New Bern is often referred to as the historic capital of North Carolina and boasts a multitude of historic structures. The more than 160 historic homes and buildings in New Bern have stood witness to the long and fascinating history of the second-oldest city in the nation. Some were here when New Bern was named the capital of the Carolinas in 1747 and many more saw the construction and completion of Tryon Palace in 1770. Union forces occupied much of the city, including homes and buildings, when New Bern served as a North Carolina base and headquarters during the Civil War. One of these beautiful historic homes even sheltered Caleb Bradham, the inventor of “Brad’s Drink” which is now better known as Pepsi Cola.

Many of these majestic homes have been restored to their former glory by owners who appreciate dedication to detail, but such work is not something homeowners should attempt by themselves. In many cases, owners turned to a professional to achieve a successful outcome while also meeting city and state requirements. The City of New Bern Historic District Guidelines & Handbook consists of 157 pages filled with rules and regulations regarding the renovation, maintenance, and preservation of historic locations. Wouldn’t you prefer to seek the guidance of a contractor with years of experience working on historical structures to oversee your renovation or remodel?

It can be difficult to abide by building codes without compromising the integrity of a historic structure. While safety and accessibility are extremely important issues today, they were not always considered 200 years ago. Consequently, many historic structures must be updated to align with codes and regulations, which can be a daunting task. The North Carolina Rehab Code was written specifically for existing buildings—moving away from the dependence on new buildings as the correct measuring safety guide. The code also makes is easier and less expensive to rehabilitate existing buildings while encouraging the upgrade of historic structures.

Think You Can Do It Alone? Think Again…

In New Bern, to modify an existing structure, to demolish a structure and redevelop the site, or to construct a new home or building in a designated historical district, responsible parties must go through a 12-step Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) application. It is common practice for the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) to hold design reviews with COA applicants at a work session, particularly for extensive alterations and new construction.

A design review is then conducted to provide guidance on historic guidelines that relate to the contents of a COA application. The HPC determines if the application meets the standards of the historic guidelines based solely on written and oral evidence presented at the hearing. A COA hearing is then held to either approve or deny the application.

It doesn’t sound like a simple process, does it? It’s not—and that’s why you need knowledgeable assistance to complete the process.

Trust the True Professionals For Historic Renovations in New Bern

Tarheel Associates, Inc., in business since 1981, has developed in impressive working relationship with New Bern’s Historic Preservation Commission and is extremely proud of its work in the Downtown Historic District. With a true appreciation of the town’s heritage, Tarheel Associates sincerely cares about preserving New Bern’s best feature—its history.

Historic home and business owners in New Bern and surrounding counties can partner with the staff at Tarheel Associates to conquer the maze of rules and regulations faced when it’s time for restoration or other construction. Working on these homes and businesses requires special knowledge, equipment, skill sets, expertise, and material sources that many contractors working on newer homes don’t generally have.

And it’s not just the big issues Tarheel can help solve: What paint colors can you choose for the exterior? Can you replace the windows? Can you cut down that large tree? Is it possible to add a deck or reposition a walkway? The staff at Tarheel Associates can answer these questions and more with confidence.

To receive additional information on a reconstruction or renovation, or to start a new building/renovation project, contact the team of experts with over 30 years of experience at Tarheel Associates, Inc. by calling (252) 633-6452.

If you are unfamiliar with these terms: Certificate of Appropriateness, COA application, historic guidelines, rehab code, historic district, HPC, building codes, design review, contact Tarheel Associates for more information.

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