Regular maintenance

 

Stave off decay by daily care.

William Morris, upon setting up the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings in 1877

The importance of maintenance cannot be stressed enough. There are many good reasons for regular care:

  • preserving heritage: regular, minimal and small scale work maintains original features and fabric
  • saving money: when things go wrong they cost a lot to put right. One of the best ways to avoid major repairs is regular care and ongoing maintenance 
  • preserving resources: preventative maintenance is sustainable; by keeping buildings in a good condition we save the energy and materials needed to repair them
  • promoting guardianship and community involvement: historic churches are in our care in trust for the next generation, as they have been for centuries. Maintenance keeps them in good repair, and can involve communities in caring for their own heritage

There are three key elements to maintenance:

  • inspection: you should undertake regular inspections, to assess condition, identify problems and to decide whether work is necessary
  • regular maintenance tasks: jobs like clearing gutters, testing services, checking for damp and clearing the churchyard
  • minor repairs: ongoing minor repairs to the building, perhaps as the result of extreme weather, can include fixing slipped roof tiles, replacing broken glass or making temporary ‘flashband’ repairs

Maintenance Plan Templates

The National Churches Trust encourages churches to follow their own maintenance plan in order to keep track of what needs doing and when, and we require applicants to our Grant Programmes to have a maintenance plan in place. As such, we have put together two maintenance plan templates, which you can use for your own church and adapt as necessary if you do not already have one. Click on the links below to view and download the templates:

One page maintenance plan template

Detailed maintenance plan template

Maintenance Booker

Browse the MaintenanceBooker Resources Pages to view useful blog posts, videos, photographs and lots of useful links and sources on all aspects of church building maintenance. You can sign up to receive MaintenanceNews by email here.

Permissions

Even simple maintenance tasks to listed buildings may require consent. In the Church of England this might come under List B consent and require a form from the Archdeacon. It is best to check with your local DAC or governing body, and ensure that you carry them out correctly, with appropriate materials and techniques.

Health and safety

Don’t forget: identifying maintenance issues and doing the resulting work can have health and safety risks. Whoever does the work, the congregation is responsible for having proper insurance in place and for ensuring that a risk assessment is done. 

National Churches Trust: Health and safety

a man examining a lamp in a church