One of the most important ways to help maintain a church building is by inspecting the building to assess its condition, noting any problems or areas of concern and seeking advice to determine whether it might be necessary to carry out repairs.
In addition to regular inspections by church members, there are a number of more formal inspections that need to be carried out, often by professionals.
Quinquennial Inspections (QI)
The Inspection of Churches Measure 1955 requires that the fabric of all churches is inspected by an approved architect or surveyor every five years. The architect or surveyor is appointed by the PCC but must be approved by the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC).
The PCC pays the fee for the inspection. The fee is set by the Diocese. In November 2012, the Diocesan Synod agreed that the fee should be increased in a series of three annual steps and thereafter be reviewed annually:
For inspections carried out in 2013: £650 + VAT
For inspections carried out in 2014: £800 + VAT
For inspections carried out in 2015: £950 + VAT
For inspections carried out in 2016: £950 + VAT
For inspections carried out in 2017: £950 + VAT
Increases for future years will be in line with with the ABI/BCIS House Rebuilding Cost Index. In addition, PCCs must expect to pay extra for travelling expenses, providing access equipment (e.g. builder’s ladders) and the architect/surveyor estimating the cost of work required, if requested.
Parishes may take advantage of a Diocesan scheme to spread the payment over five years (contact the Parish Finance Officer at Trinity House).
A report of the inspection is produced for the PCC, the archdeacon and the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC). Whilst the QI is not an in-depth inspection, it will identify work required and indicate urgency of work.
Following receipt of the QI report, the PCC (or Building Group) will needs to prioritise the work required. Much will be small & straightforward but some will require the involvement of the architect and/or other professionals and a faculty may be required before work can start.
It must be noted that the report is not a specification of work. Any work arising from the QI should be the subject of a full specification prepared by the architect or surveyor and a faculty may be required.
In addition to the quinquennial inspection of the fabric, there are a number of other regular inspections that should take place:
- Gas (annual)
- Electrical installations (every 5 years)
- Portable electrical appliances (frequency depends on usage and risk)
- Fire extinguishers (annual)
- Lightning protection (every 2-3 years)
- Access audit
- Fire risk assessment