Questionnaires Used

In various phases of the project, five different questionnaires were used for collecting field data. These questionnaires were developed through evaluating the fieldwork, which revealed the importance of introducing new provisions that would provide more accurate and thorough information about the buildings. In some cases, it was necessary to cancel provisions that were not necessary for this kind of registry. At the same time we noted the necessity of using the field information in different ways in different contexts. The questionnaires differed in the quantity of information they solicited. The following questionnaires were used: (a) the 1994 questionnaire, which was used in the registration of the twin cities of Ramallah and al-Bireh and in the training process; (b) the 1995-1997 questionnaire, which was developed after collating the results from the previous questionnaire and during the preparation for the start of the project; (c) the 1998 questionnaire, which was developed for registering the buildings in the old city of Jerusalem; (d) the 1999 questionnaire, which was developed to solve some problems that were encountered in the 1998 questionnaire. It shared similarities with the other questionnaires but included some minor modifications; and (e) the Cultural Resources (al-Mawared al-Thaqafiyyah) 1999-2000 questionnaire, which was specially designed for the project supervised by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities in co-operation with PECDAR. This was a totally different questionnaire than those used by Riwaq; it includes long provisions and additional questions because it surveyed issues of antiquities and architecture.

We present an explanation of the latest questionnaire developed by Riwaq in 1999, which was the basis on which the information program was built.


1-2-2-1-1 Number Assignments

We tried to unify the numeration by using the one adopted at the Palestinian Authority for localities and making it the basis for number assignments to the buildings. This was done in order to have a national figure for each registered building. We designed the numeration in this questionnaire so that it could absorb the differences among the numeration systems of the various questionnaires.


1-2-2-1-2 Questionnaire Numbering

The serial number of the questionnaire consists of several elements:

  1. The national figure of the governorate, which is taken from the tables of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics and occupies two digits.
  2. The national figure of the population center, which is also taken from the tables of the Central Bureau of Statistics and occupies four digits.
  3. The basin and its subdivisions figure, which is taken from the division of the population center on the map, by the municipalities, or from the division done at Riwaq to facilitate the fieldwork. This figure occupies four digits, three of which are for the basin and the fourth for the subdivision.
  4. The building number, which is the number that a researcher gives to a building in series and occupies four digits.
  5. The number of the building annexes, which is the number that is given to a building for which more than one questionnaire was filled. The number uses letters (a, b, c, …etc), or figures (3, 2, 1, …etc) and occupies two digits.


Therefore, the result is a 16-digit number for the questionnaire's number, distributed from left to right as follows:








Building Annexes

Building Figure

Basin's Subdivisions

Basin Figure


Governorate Figure





An example:

A questionnaire that carries figure B 28, in basin (basin has not been define) figure C1, in the Nablus Governorate, in the population center Zaita Jama'in, will have the following numeration:









  1. The Location: The terms used in this section of the Registry are defined as follows.

Neighborhood: the name of the neighborhood in the town or village in which the building to be registered is located.

Basin Figure: the figure of the basin on the map that is used for fieldwork.

Street: the name of the street in which the building is located.

Plot Figure: the figure of the plot on the map, in which the building is located. Often it is left unfilled for lack of this figure in most maps.

2. The Name: The terms used to denote the name are defined as follows.

The Current Name: the name by which the building is known, whether it is the name of the family using the building or the name of the commercial shop.

The Original Name: the name that was used before the latest change of ownership, or the historic name by which the building is known.

3. Ownership: The terms used to denote ownership are defined as follows.

The Present Owner: the present owner of the building.

The Original Owner: the owner of the building before the latest change of ownership. (Not the name of the person who commissioned its building?)

Tenant: the current tenant of the building.

User: the person using the building and to whom the definition of tenant or owner cannot be applied. This term is used most often in connection with buildings in the old cities. (no reason that it is a problem)

4. Type of Ownership: The terms used to describe type of ownership as explained below.

Private: private ownership whether by an individual or group of inheritors, whether the ownership was divided or not.

Islamic Waqf (endowment): the Islamic Waqf to which the building was endowed or was endowed in general and fell under the control of the Islamic Waqf Department which is using it, despite the original conditions of the endower.

Church Waqf (endowment): the endowments of various churches.

Progeny Waqf (Waqf Dhurri): a family endowment, which is a kind of Islamic Waqf the benefits of which accrue exclusively to one family or part of it, in accordance with the Waqf document that is often registered at the religious court.

5. Date and Phases of Construction: The date of construction refers to the date of constructing the building (if known from reliable sources, such as an inscription on the stone or written sources. If the date is not known, then the researcher estimates the date on the basis of his or her own assessment or through anecdotal stories. The various phases through which the building has passed can be explored architecturally, through the building's form, and essential construction materials or from the users of the property or its owners.

The following historic divisions were adopted; these divisions are certainly not the best because they ignore the subdivisions of each era, but they are the easiest for a general estimation:





63 B.C–380 A.D















Early Ottoman


Late Ottoman




Before 1967


After 1967



6. The Founder's Name and Building Materials: The founder’s name refers to the name of the person who ordered the construction of the building; this information is obtained verbally from the occupants if the name is known or from written sources or from an inscription on the stone. It may also include to the name of the building engineer if known. Building materials refers to the basic materials used in the construction of the building.

7. The Building's Intended and Current Uses: The intended use and current uses of the building include categories such as housing, commercial use (e.g., grocery, carpentry shop, olive press, boutique), general use (for public interest: e.g., school, hospital, society, clubs), religious use (mosque, church, convent, shrine, tomb), and others not mentioned above.

The source of the information is documented as anecdotal account, written source, or stone inscription.

8. Extent of Use: The term “extent of use” is used to define the used and unused areas of a building. “Total use” is defined as the complete use of the whole building and all its facilities. “Partial use” means that the building is not completely used and that the vacant parts are undefined in the questionnaire. This section may be one or more rooms; anything less than a room was ignored in the study. This provision means that there is a clear possibility to expand the used part of the building, especially if we take into consideration the issue of looking for places to improve the services of the building.

9. Floors: Each outside level of the building was considered a floor, each level under the ground was considered a cellar (qabu), and a room on the roof was considered a loft ('elliah).

10. Annexes: Two kinds of annexes were dealt with, the horizontal and the vertical. Horizontal annexes added to the building without adding to its height; vertical annexes added to its height. The type of annex was defined (e.g., a bathroom, a kitchen, or a balcony). The annex also included adding one or more floors, and it was noted if the building was subjected to renovation.

11. The Materials: The building materials used in the annexes were identified.

12. The Structural and Physical Condition: “Structural conditions” refers to the researcher's estimation of the firmness, coherence, and durability of the building. The estimation ranged from good (without apparent structural problems) to unfit for use. An assessment of good indicates that the building is stable without any central problems but requires elementary maintenance. This maintenance may be cleaning, plastering, repairing the roof and the floors, or renovating the sanitary networks. An assessment of medium indicates that the building has some structural problems and requires internal and external work to stop the deterioration process. An assessment of bad indicates that crevices are apparent in the building as well as major structural problems. The building is considered a priority case when the necessary funds for renovation become available.

An assessment of unusable means that the building is dangerous and may collapse, renovations are urgently required to protect the safety of its users.

The physical state refers to the suitability of the building for healthy housing in terms of light, sunlight, ventilation, and humidity. These were rated as follows:

A rating of good means that the building can be used and does not have problems related to humidity, ventilation, light, and sunlight.

A rating of medium means: that health conditions are not fully available in the building and they need improvement. These kinds of buildings require quick interventions.

A rating of bad means: that the building is not appropriate for use from a health perspective. Therefore, people should not continue to use it without renovation.

13. The Services: This category refers to all services available in the building (water, electricity, kitchen, bath, toilet, and water well, all of them together or each of them separately whether they are private or common). This, however, did not include examining the adequacy of these services for use. The information was gathered by asking the users if these services were satisfactory and included the opinion of the researcher.

14. The Construction: The construction was considered single if it was not attached to any other building. It was considered attached if it was part of an urban fabric, if it was within a courtyard, if it was an architectural compound, or if it formed a group of residential units joined together by one yard or more, regardless whether these were connected.

15. Open Yard: The number of open yards and their location in the building and whether they were in the ground floor or in the upper floor were identified. It was also noted whether the yard was still open or if it was partially or totally covered in order to use its space.

16. The Façade: The façade is the outside face of the building, which often includes the entrance and the main orientation. Buildings that were located between two streets or on a corner had more than one outside façade. The internal façade, however, is the one that overlooks the building yard, which was in some cases distinguished by architectural elements or decorations. Building façades were described in terms of the following features:

Doors: outside door openings and their shape, size, and location in relation to the façade. The inner doors were not noted.

Windows: the location, shape, and size of window openings in the façade.

The Stone: the kind of stone used in construction, its style of refinement, and its color and size.

Decorations: decorative shapes in the façade, including written inscriptions, and their location, shape, and meaning (if known).

Oriels: protrusive windows (like verandas) overlooking the street or inner courts of the building. They are covered with wooden lattices to reduce visibility to outsiders and are supported by stone consoles, iron holders, or concrete bridges.

Distinguish wooden works: the distinguished woodwork in the building, especially in the doors and windows.

Distinguished iron works: the iron works of doors, windows, and railings, if they were distinguished and carried an artistic and historic style.

17. The Roof: References to roofs were restricted to the outer surface of the roof. The questionnaire included certain shapes of roofs in order to unify the terms used in the data.

18 The Ceiling: References to ceilings were restricted to the inner shape of the ceiling. The questionnaire included certain shapes of roofs in order to unify the terms used in the data.

19. The Floors: Floors were described in terms of shape, the materials they were made of, and the shape of patterns (where applicable).

20. Decorations: The question on decorations was intended to capture information about decorations not previously mentioned that the researcher wants to draw the attention to. They could be located on the internal façade, on the roofs and cupolas, and on the wall cupboards (if accessible).

21. Additional Remarks on the Architectural Description: The researcher had an opportunity to record additional remarks to enhance the Architectural description.

22. Internal and Surrounding Environment: This refers to the distinguishing natural elements that surround the building, such as rocks, markets, neighborhoods, and parks.

23. The Importance of the Building: The researcher estimated the importance of the building on the basis of historical, architectural, religious, and aesthetic criteria listed in a table.

24. Additional Remarks: The researcher had the opportunity to add additional relevant information that was not captured in the questionnaire.

25. Illustrative Drawings: Researchers could, if they chose, attach elaborated drawings of some architectural elements in order to illustrate the written architectural description.

Each questionnaire consists of illustrative provisions for the researcher and the references for photographing the buildings. These categories are as follows:

References: the written references used for getting more information about the building.

Name of Registrar: the researcher or researchers who registered the building.

Date of Registering: the date on which the questionnaire was filled in the field.

Number of the Picture: the serial number given to the picture, which is the same as the serial number given to the building (see above).

Shooting date: the date on which the picture was taken.

Photographer's name: the name of the researcher or the photographer who photographed the building