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Church Maintenance

Caring for your Church / Chapel - our friendly, experienced Church Surveyors are here to help you save time and money

3 Ideas that may help you if you are running the property side

of a chapel or smaller church

1. Maintenance Book

We have managed properties for many decades and one of the areas we are very keen on is when dealing with property it has a maintenance book.  We use a carbon copy book and any work that is carried out is entered in the maintenance book with details of what has been carried out and where – it can be anything from clearing the gutters to having electricity tested.

The maintenance book will then give you a record over the year which we then suggest you copy onto one A4 sheet of paper and divide into External work, Internal work and Services work.


Save time and Money on Church Maintenance

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Why do we recommend a carbon copy book?

A carbon copy book can be really useful when dealing with builders or contractors where you agree something, you then get them to sign what has been agreed, you sign it and then the carbon copy is given to them and you have a copy within the Maintenance Book.

2. Photographic Record

A photograph is worth a thousand words and also helps to get your building work carried out

We use a photographic system of any property problems that we find where we take photographs of the problem which then allows you to discuss the problem and with internet technology to share it with others.  This allows you to use the photographs as a useful discussion aid with the contractors/builders. 

You can then ask the builders to take a photograph when they arrive on the first day at the start of the work, perhaps a photograph during the work and a photograph of anything they may find that requires work whilst they are working that is extra/over and above what you have agreed and then a photograph of how they leave the work at the end of the day. 

Just explain to the builders without the photographs you will be unable to pay them as you do not know anything about property and is the only way you have of knowing what work has been carried out.

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3. Have a plan of the building

Having a plan of the building is something we find is very useful even if it is very rough – it does not need to be to scale but is obviously better if it can be.  If you pace out the width and length of the building you can then, using graph paper, draw a plan of the building. 

A Plan is useful to give to builders, where you circle the area where you require work to be carried out as it is amazing how things can be misunderstood. 

The plan can also be used for your fire escape plan if you have not already got one.

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Church Building Plan

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Bonus Idea

Yearly Property Review

This is when you and one other person walk around the property making a quick note externally, internally and looking at the services of anything you believe requires work. 

We believe that this is often best if carried out at the end of the summer/start of autumn, which will allow you time to carry out any emergency work such as if you see a gutter that has come away from the wall or moss to the walls which may mean a problem of dampness.

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gutter with moss

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Bonus Idea number 2

Quinquennial Inspection

It is good practice to have a Quinquennial Inspection, however you need to actually meet the Surveyor at the property to achieve the best value from the Quinquennial Inspection. Indeed, only use a Surveyor who is happy for you to walk around the building with them and explain to them how you wish to make a plan over the next four or five years for building repairs/maintenance and what work you should be carrying carry out.  Ideally, keep the Surveyors phone number and have a chat with them or even send some of the photographs we have mentioned earlier.

When you have a Quinquennial Inspection commissioned ask the Surveyor to take lots of photographs so you therefore will have a very good record at the time of what the property looked like and can be referred back to.  Ideally, the Surveyor should have a facility for keeping a record of the photographs digitally and indeed the Quinquennial Inspection digitally. 

For example:  We generally keep all our survey information for about 12 years unless we are asking to keep the information for longer and then we store for a longer period of time.

Also, with Quinquennial Inspections, it is best to have an Executive Summary and also to have a more in depth explanation which enables you to view what is important plus have a property reference manual relating particularly to your building.  We would suggest that you print a copy of this and write on it as you amend elements so this becomes a working document.

Bonus Idea number 3

Saving money

We know we are well past the 3 ideas but saving money is very important.

From time to time you need to have a look at your heating bills because most chapels/churches and halls have high ceilings and can be expensive to heat, particularly as heat rises.  Even, when a lower ceiling has been added the building can still be costly compared with the return you are receiving from for example renting out areas.

There are many ways of improving your heating management and all sorts of new technical features and advancements where you can add details and information direct to your smart phone and you can adjust the heating.  This may or may not be what you wish to have or alternatively you can look to use the spaces that are less costly to heat.

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One last idea!

Carry out any work that is identified as being urgent, such as dampness, woodworm, dry rot, wet rot, asbestos

It is most important that you carry out a thorough investigation to make sure you understand the problem before you carry out any work.  We are great believers that also you should ask several people for their opinions and particularly those people that do not have a vested interest in the work being carried out. 

We would also add that the term ‘fiddler on the roof’ is very true – always make sure you obtain photographs for work to be carried out on the roof before the work is carried out. 

We would always recommend dividing your building into several sections such as the older parts which tend to require maintenance and repairs carried out in one method and newer parts which require maintenance using a different method. 

For example: When we mention older buildings we mean prior to the War Years, these buildings need to breathe and you cannot use modern cements and modern plasters on these buildings without causing problems.  Newer construction is set to act like a raincoat and deflects moisture etc so remember this when looking at work.

Our friendly, expert Church Surveyors will be happy to chat to you about your building Free Phone 0800 409 6824

Another idea, if you have funds available, is to enroll on a Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) course – their weekend courses are very good.

Church Maintenance is important

These are very basic requirements that we believe should be in place in all properties and understand that sometimes it is difficult to find people who want to be involved with this type of work.  However, maintenance is something that is essential for saving you money and is very true that a repair carried out correctly will save you money as well as a lot of time and inconvenience in the long run.

We were once explained that, many years ago, most people treat their property completely differently to any other things.  Perhaps the equivalent could be driving a car until it runs out of petrol or breaks down rather than looking to getting the car fixed and then only wanting to fix it in a sticking plaster type way.  Whereas with cars we all generally know that you have a MOT to check the car is running safely and you usually have a regular service and you fill the car up with petrol before it runs out. 

Maybe it is time to move from being reactive to your property maintenance to be proactive and putting a system in place.

Don't delay be proactive with

a Maintenance Plan

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0800 409 6824



We have got to add a disclaimer as every building is individual and you need to get to know and love your building.  There are many training courses available to help you with this and all sorts of information.  We refer you to our 1stassociated.co.uk website which has literally thousands of pages of useful articles which we hope helps you. 

We hope you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have included is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).

The contents of the website are for general information only and is not intended to be relied upon for specific or general decisions. Appropriate independent professional advice should be paid for before making such a decision.

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