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Maintaining your church building

Regular maintenance is a key part of caring for a church building, and it can help you to save money and headaches through spotting potential problems early before they become serious issues.

 

 Roofs and Rainwater Goods

 The main danger to the fabric of a church building is water ingress. If water is able to enter a building through the roof structure, walls or floor, it can cause the church to become damp. This can lead to rot and infestation to internal structures, as well as fixtures and fittings. Therefore it is crucial to ensure that any rainwater is being directed away from the building, off the roof and through gutters and downpipes, before draining away effectively.

These areas should be checked on a regular basis, and any concerns should be logged so that repairs can be carried out early, before the issue becomes a serious and expensive problem to deal with.

Annual Maintenance Checks

A volunteer, or group of volunteers, should be able to carry out a maintenance inspection of your church building using just a pair of binoculars, a camera, and a pen and notepad to record any concerns. This should be done at least once a year, and It is best to carry out this inspection during or just after heavy rainfall, so that you can see how effectively the rainwater goods are working.

A checklist has been created by the Diocese of Peterborough, which can be used when completing one of these inspections.  You can download a copy here.

Starting with the roof, you should work downwards and consider the condition of the rainwater goods, external walls, and doors and windows.

You can then inspect the interior of your building by checking the condition of the roof space or ceiling, internal walls, floors and any fixtures and fittings. The main things to look out for are signs of water ingress and damp.

It is also important to consider ventilation in your building. Ensuring that air is able to move through the building will help in alleviating damp atmospheres. Therefore as part of the inspection you should check that windows can be opened and that any ventilation blocks are kept clear.

Once you have completed this Maintenance Check, you should keep a copy of it for your records, and discuss any concerns with your inspecting architect.

Maintenance Calendar

It is a good idea to set up an annual plan for maintaining your building, with clear tasks set out for each month of the year. The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings has created a Faith in Maintenance Calendar which is highly recommended as a guide of what to consider for each month, and it can be accessed using the link below:

 http://www.spabfim.org.uk/data/files/pages/fim_calendar_2012.pdf

 

For further information regarding the maintenance of your building contact Ben Smith, Historic Churches Support Officer.

ben.smith@peterborough-diocese.org.uk

01604 887046

 

Other sources of advice:

Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC)

Church architect

Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings   www.spabfim.org.uk

Church Buildings Council                                       www.churchcare.co.uk