Knowledge about the history of a building can be acquired in various ways, but two important methods are archaeological building surveys and archive research.

Archaeological building surveys involve studying and investigating a building’s structure, material use, design and decoration.

It may also be necessary to encroach upon the building, i.e. remove newer panels, wallpaper or cladding in order to take a look at older building details and older surfaces.

The vast majority of buildings have undergone changes, modernisation and additions and extensions. Archaeological building surveys will often be the most important method for determining the history of the changes a building has undergone.

Based on the results of the archaeological building survey one can obtain important knowledge about the building that is not available from written sources. Archive research is an important tool for acquiring knowledge about older buildings.

Public and private archives often contain a lot of hidden building history, older drawings, budgets and orders, fire insurance assessments and older descriptions of a building’s history.

NIKU has extensive experience and insight into both how archaeological building surveys should be conducted and how information can be obtained form various archives.