4 Looking after your building
One of the keys to ensuring the long-term future of historic places of worship is regular maintenance. Good maintenance also saves money by reducing the need for major repairs.
Most grant bodies will want to see that you have a maintenance plan in place.
You should also make sure your building is in a good state of repair before you start any major new works.
WHERE TO FIND MORE HELP
English Heritage’s Caring for Places of Worship website pages has a whole section on Maintenance
The Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings(SPAB) website has information on how to maintain your building at www.spabfim.org.uk plus how information on free practical training on offer.
SPAB has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a successor to the Faith in Maintenance project. The new scheme is called the Maintenance Co-operative Movement and is designed to create and sustain a series of ‘local maintenance co-operatives’ which will link groups of people caring for places of worship and encourage them to work together to tackle common problems of up-keep and repair. To find more go to www.spabfim.org.uk/blog/
Churchcare has a section on maintenance at: http://www.churchcare.co.uk/churches/guidance-advice/looking-after-your-church/routine-maintenance including a very useful Calendar of Care which reminds you of the best month to undertake important routine tasks. Find it here http://churchcare.clients.graphicalagency.com/churches/guidance-advice/looking-after-your-church/routine-maintenance/calendar-of-care
Several Church of England Dioceses run Maintenance Schemes which usually welcome the participation of other denominations e.g.
For the Roman Catholic Church go to http://www.cbcew.org.uk/page.aspx?pid=731 and http://www.cbcew.org.uk/document.doc?id=113
For the United Reformed Church go to www.urc.org.uk/images/S811%20v2010.pdf
For the Methodist Church, you can download a guidance document called Inspection, Care and Maintenance of Methodist Buildings – A Guide to their Annual Inspection by going to:www.methodist.org.uk/ministers-and-office-holders/property/forms-schedules-and-publications/annual-schedules and www.methodist.org.uk/static/rm/inspection.pdf
For the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Baptist Union Corporation has written leaflets to help local churches with practical issues, legal matters, property opportunities and problems, and charity law: http://www.baptist.org.uk/Groups/220867/Listed_Buildings.aspx
The leaflet on maintenance is LB06, Looking after your Church Buildings
4.2 Repairs to the building’s fabric
Despite good regular maintenance, repairs will not always be avoidable. The building may develop structural problems, materials may wear out, older repairs may contribute to decay, there may be fungal or insect infestations, or the building may need redecoration.
Although “like for like” repairs will not normally need Listed Buildings Consent/or the equivalent in the case of an exempted denomination, you are advised to seek the advice of the relevant experts in your denomination who will be able to advise you about the necessity for seeking approval You must ensure that the correct materials are being used. Buildings can suffer from the use of incorrect materials, which can easily worsen problems such as damp penetration.
Churchcare has good general advice on managing repairs which can be found here:
The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings’s (SPAB) website has excellent technical advice and further sources of information for looking after and repairing historic buildings. www.spab.org.uk
4.2.1 Chancel Repair Liability (Church of England only)
There are some Church of England properties which are subject to chancel repair liability and where owners can still face a demand for payment for repairs to the chancel of their parish church. You can find more at www.churchofengland.org/about-us/our-buildings/churches/chancel-repair-liability-qas-2012.aspx, www.lawandreligionuk.com/2012/08/02/chancel-repairs-an-unenviable-dilemma, www.lawandreligionuk.com/2012/08/22/chancel-repairs-latest-news/ and www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2012/31-august/news/uk/lawyers-to-review-advice-to-pccs-on-chancel-repairs. More recent additional information (October 2012) is at www.lawandreligionuk.com/2012/10/02/chancel-repair-liability-advice-from-the-charity-commission and http://www.lawandreligionuk.com/2012/10/18/chancel-repair-liability-further-update/.
The specific guidance for PCCs from the Charity Commission (also from October 2012) can be found at: www.charitycommission.gov.uk/Charity_requirements_guidance/Specialist_guidance/Faith/chancel_repair.aspx.
If you are either a PCC of a church or the owner of a property who is affected by this, then it is advisable to seek legal advice from the relevant Church of England Diocese. The full advisory note of October 2007 from the Legal Advisory Commission of the General Synod can be found at www.churchofengland.org/media/51405/chancelrepairliability.rtf.
4.3 Appointing an architect or surveyor
You will also need to employ an appropriate professional. Historic objects and buildings are very different from their modern equivalents and require specialist knowledge and treatment.
For the Church of England, you should make contact with your DAC who will be able to help you select an architect from their approved list. You can also find guidance on Churchcare under the section on Quinquennial Inspections at http://churchcare.clients.graphicalagency.com/churches/guidance-advice/looking-after-your-church/quinquennial-inspections and also under the guidance for procurement which can be found here http://churchcare.clients.graphicalagency.com/churches/guidance-advice/looking-after-your-church/procurement
For the Methodist Church advice on appointing an architect/surveyor can be found here www.methodist.org.uk/ministers-and-office-holders/property/technical-and-conservation/appointing-architects
The Roman Catholic Church has guidance here
For the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Baptist Union Corporation has written leaflets to help local churches with practical issues, legal matters, property opportunities and problems, and charity law. http://www.baptist.org.uk/Groups/220867/Listed_Buildings.aspx
The specific leaflet on this is LB03 Professional Advisors and Applications to the Listed Buildings Advisory Committee
4.3.1 Procurement Guidelines for the recruitment of professionals
The application of new rules regarding procurement and tendering affects churches and church architects where public funding makes up more than 50% of the cost of a project. However, new guidance on the tendering process emphasises that quality and experience – not just price – should be taken into account when choosing an architect for the work. This means that if the current church architect is demonstrably the best person to do the work, according to reasonable and clear criteria, they can be awarded the contract – even if their costs are marginally higher than those of a less suitable candidate.
Detailed guidance is now available on ChurchCare at http://www.churchcare.co.uk/churches/guidance-advice/looking-after-your-church/procurement.
Churchcare also has a procurement pagewhere advertisements for a professional under the new Procurement Guidelines can be placed to request expressions of interest for the service of a professional adviser at any place of worship in England. These will be publicised by the Church of England and English Heritage. Go to http://www.churchcare.co.uk/churches/guidance-advice/looking-after-your-church/procurement/procurement-adverts.
4.3.2 Registers of accredited professionals
Architects accredited in building conservation can be found at http://www.aabc-register.co.uk/about.htm
Surveyors can be found via Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) www.rics.org (follow the links to Services/Find a surveyor/Accreditation)
The Building Conservation Directory is an annual publication and an online database of suppliers and professional advisers – at www.buildingconservation.com
The National Churches Trust’s website also includes a directory of professional advisers, building contractors and craftsmen at http://www.nationalchurchestrust.org/building-advice/professional-trades-directory. The Trust will also provide support and advice to help you care for your church building. Call their National Support Officer on 020 7776 1042.
The Churchbuild website contains a range of practical information around developing and managing a building project. http://www.churchbuild.co.uk/ including:
4.3.3 Insurance and Regulations relating to Building Works
If you intend to start major alterations, renovations or repairs, it’s important that you inform your insurance company so they can consider the effect the work will have on your policy and ensure that the correct cover is in place for the building works themselves.
Usually, the work under construction and the materials involved are the responsibility of the contractor and you don’t need to do anything. But, if you’ve signed a formal contract, which makes you liable to insure these, then you must definitely inform your insurer.
There is guidance on the Ecclesiastical website here https://www.ecclesiastical.com/ChurchMatters/churchguidance/churchhealthandsafety/Buildingworksforyourchurch/index.aspx
and on the Methodist Insurance website here www.methodistinsurance.co.uk/products/church-shield/church-redevelopment/index.aspx
The Methodist Church also has a useful guidance note on ‘reducing the risk of building contract disputes’ at www.methodist.org.uk/ministers-and-office-holders/property/technical-and-conservation/technical-information-leaflets and also on the Health & Safety Regulations in Construction Work contained within the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 which can be read here www.methodist.org.uk/static/rm/cdm2007.pdf
The United Reformed Church also has guidance on the 2007 CDM Regulations here http://www.urc.org.uk/plato-property-handbook/64-general/plato-property-handbook/627-the-construction–design-and-management-regulations-2007-s221.html
The Baptist Union of Great Britain has guidance here http://www.baptist.org.uk/Articles/368772/BUC_Guideline_Leaflet.aspx
4.4 Internal fixtures and fittings
Places of Worship are major repositories of a wide range of significant historic and artistic objects. Unlike domestic items of comparable age, many of these are still in continuous use. While conservation and maintenance issues should be taken into account when using, handling, storing and displaying objects, it should also be remembered that these precious items were meant to be used in the context of worship. Conservation, together with appropriate and informed care, will ensure that the contents of your church will survive to fulfil that function.
WHERE TO FIND MORE HELP
For the Church of England the section on Churchcare entitled Caring for the Contents of your Churchprovides guidance on how to care for the range of objects from bells and bell frames to textiles and including wall paintings, stained glass http://www.churchcare.co.uk/churches/conservation/caring-for-conservation-of-artworks-historic-furnishings.
There is also guidance on working with a conservator http://www.churchcare.co.uk/churches/conservation/working-with-conservators.
The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) has useful information on the general cleaning of church interiors. It covers the kinds of cleaning tools that should be used and the most appropriate cleaning fluids to use in particular circumstances. You can download the information sheet of handy Cleaning Tips from http://www.spabfim.org.uk/pages/housekeeping.html.
The Roman Catholic Church has guidance here
For the Baptist Union of Great Britain, theBaptist Union Corporation has written leaflets to help local churches with practical issues, legal matters, property opportunities and problems, and charity law. http://www.baptist.org.uk/Groups/220867/Listed_Buildings.aspx
The leaflet specific to internal fixtures and fittings is LB08, Furnishings in Listed Churches.
The UK Institute of Conservation is the main point of contact for locating Accredited Conservators for specialised work or advice. It also has guidance information on how to choose the right specialist for you. www.icon.org.uk
Conservator and Restorers can be found through the Conservation Register www.conservationregister.com
Churches and churchyards are rich in resources for understanding the past and have huge research potential, not only for the archaeologist, but for everybody interested in local and national history. If a church is listed or in a Conservation Area, then the ground beneath the building will also be protected. Understanding the history of a church will help a parish to recognise when proposed works of maintenance or development may have archaeological implications, and thus reduce delay, cost and damage to this inheritance.
When repairs or alterations are under consideration the archaeological implications should always be looked at. Applications for permissions/faculty/consents should always include adequate information, including details of any necessary archaeological provision. Many grants in support of works upon historic churches are conditional upon an adequate level of archaeological recording and analysis being incorporated into the programme of work.
This is of most relevance for Church of England churches and full advice is given here http://www.churchcare.co.uk/churches/guidance-advice/looking-after-your-church/archaeology-and-ruins.
The Roman Catholic Church has guidance here
http://www.cbcew.org.uk/page.aspx?pid=731 and http://www.cbcew.org.uk/document.doc?id=113
Other denominations should check with their relevant advisor.
A churchyard, whether open or closed, is primarily a consecrated place set aside for burials and grieving, remembering and commemorating the dead. It can also be a space of quiet reflection, an ancient landscape, a habitat for rare plant and animal species, a space full of archaeological and historical information as well as an appropriate setting for the church building. All of these aspects have been increasingly recognised for their importance. Increasingly churchyards have been recognised for their potential as an education resource where children can learn about nature and through study of the gravestones learn about the previous inhabitants.
WHERE TO GO FOR MORE HELP
Churchcare has a section entitled Caring for your Churchyard with practical advice on managing the various aspects of a churchyard http://www.churchcare.co.uk/churches/guidance-advice/looking-after-your-church/churchyards.
Help and information on how to look after and get the most of United Reformed Church burial grounds can be found at www.urc.org.uk/images/S611%20v2012.pdf
The Baptist Union of Great Britain has information on how to care for its burial grounds in leaflet C01 Burial Grounds which can be downloaded at http://www.baptist.org.uk/legal-property-a-charities/buc-guidelines.html .
English Heritage has produced guidance on caring for historic monuments intended for anyone interested in or responsible for the conservation of monuments, memorials and sculptural elements within a churchyard, burial ground, or cemetery. It provides guidance on best practice for the assessment, planning and implementation of conservation work to monuments as well as legal frameworks and statutory duties. It can be downloaded here www.english-heritage.org.uk/publications/caring-historic-graveyard-cemetery-monuments
Caring for God’s Acre aims to inspire and support local communities to care for churchyards and burial grounds in a way which benefits both people and wildlife. http://www.caringforgodsacre.org.uk/
English Heritage’s Divine Inspiration project (now ended) produced a toolkit full of useful guidance and resources on how to make the most of your green spaces. Toolkit 9: Sharing and undertaking your churchyard can be downloaded here.
The Heritage Lottery Fund’s Your Heritage programme offers grants of between £3,000 and £100,000 inclusive for projects that relate to the local, regional or national heritage of the UK. You can apply for conservation projects in churchyards for present and future generations to experience and enjoy. Your application must show how you are using your project to help people to learn about their own and their community’s heritage and help a wider range of people to take an active part in and make decisions about heritage. http://www.hlf.org.uk/HowToApply/programmes/Pages/yourheritage.aspx
N.B. Funding – link to the Memorials Grant Scheme under 5.1
The safety of gravestones in burial grounds has been a controversial issue in recent years, because of safety concerns following accidents in local authority cemeteries. A sub-group of the Ministry of Justice has produced guidance that will help churches in assessing and managing the safety risk. This can be accessed at www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/burials-and-coroners/safety-burial-grounds.pdf