Maintaining your place of worship
Checklists and video guides to help you look after faith buildings, from the SPAB, the National Churches Trust and Historic England for National Maintenance Week.
Monitoring the fabric of your building and carrying out regular maintenance tasks are key to preserving important buildings for future generations. That’s why the SPAB, the National Churches Trust and Historic England have compiled a places of worship maintenance checklist and a video series to help volunteers and guardians organise regular maintenance checks.
Volunteers or wardens on site are likely to be the first to notice changes that could indicate defects, so this checklist and video series are aimed at making regular maintenance checks easier for them.
The checklist is divided into five sections: roofs, rainwater goods, exteriors, interiors and building services. There are also helpful walk-through video guides that correspond to each section so volunteers know what signs of damage to look out for and when to call in a professional
Each place of worship is different and will have its own maintenance requirements and arrangements. Many have volunteers who can do most of the regular tasks, depending on the complexity of the building. Others employ a contractor for some or all tasks, such as work requiring access at height. A professional advisor (architect or surveyor) plays an important role and can help with advice on building related issues, including hiring a contractor, or tasks which might need professional guidance.
To make best use of this checklist, volunteers should consult their professional advisor on certain tasks. These are highlighted with an asterisk on the checklist and mentioned throughout the videos.
Catherine Townsend, head of church support at the National Churches Trust, one of the SPAB’s partners on the project says: “Regular maintenance checks, and proactive maintenance repairs, ensures the preservation of original historic building fabric by reducing the need for major repairs and, critically, saves money in the long-term (research shows that delaying maintenance leads to increased costs of repair). A simple way to ensure good maintenance practice is to have a regularly reviewed maintenance checklist or maintenance plan. This year, the SPAB, Historic England and ourselves have worked together to revise a maintenance checklist for places of worship to use. The SPAB, with funding from Historic England, has now brought these to life in 5 clearly narrated and beautifully shot videos that break down the essence of what needs checking in a building, and what to look out for. These will be a great help to the many volunteers responsible for church buildings, giving them the confidence that they better understand how to look at and read their buildings.”
The SPAB’s founder William Morris spoke of the need to “stave off decay by daily care, to prop a perilous wall or mend a leaky roof.” A vital message today, too.
Find the Maintenance Checklist for Places of Worship and the companion videos here: https://www.spab.org.uk/campaigning/maintenance-matters
Notes to editors
- This checklist has evolved following discussions on maintenance with congregations taking part in the Taylor Review Pilot, Historic England’s National Specialist Services and in conversation with the National Churches Trust and The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. It may not cover all aspects of a Maintenance Plan or associated legal duties for every place of worship (including relevant consents).
- The five church maintenance videos were funded by Historic England
- Videos available here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6hpkslgL1SAVh28RtSY6KDPQtbJptZvf
- The checklist and videos are launched during National Maintenance Week (20-27 November), the SPAB's annual reminder for anyone who looks after a building - regardless of its age, type or purpose - of the simple, achievable steps they can take to prepare for the worst that winter can bring.
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