Maintenance Top Tips
The judges of our 2020 maintenance awards, The Nayler Awards for Excellence in Church Maintenance identified the following as the main strengths demonstrated by churches it considered for the award, and felt these are things that all churches should usefully strive for when thinking about best practice maintenance:
- Collaboration between churches, sharing knowledge and best practice
- Regular reporting to PCC or other governing body to ensure the issues are kept on top of/budgeted for
- A sustainable approach which involves more than one volunteer, so maintenance becomes a shared issue
- A plan which is an active living document, ideally one that gathers/tracks data over time so trends can be identified
- Forward planning, thinking about what needs to be done when rather than a list of tasks to get through over the course of a year
- Communication with the congregation and keeping community aware
- Considering carbon neutral solutions
- Not relying on a professional to create maintenance plans as often volunteers know the building best.
The National Churches Trust recommends that all churches have a regularly monitored church maintenance plan or checklist. Please find out more and find a template here.
Southoe St Leonard, a runner up at 2020's Nayler Awards for excellence in maintenance, shared with us their maintenance 'commandments' which are reproduced here:
- Designate leaders who ensure maintenance is carried out and recorded in the logbook.
- Work closely with the inspecting architect, and all recommendations and guidelines for good practice from our most recent Quinquennial Inspection (QI) report.
- Work together with other churches in the benefice, and share the architect, good practice and knowledge of local contractors and servicing firms.
- Foster the input of local volunteers across the benefice with particular skills to undertake basic tasks in all of the churches. Observe Health and Safety measures for volunteers.
- Follow a tailored maintenance plan and review and update it regularly.
- Include a fabric report at each PCC meeting and note progress or items still to be sorted.
- Report on fabric matters at each APCM and update on action plans following the most recent QI inspection.
- Ensure that sufficient funds are available for maintenance and servicing each year - keep a restricted fund which the local community can support. Consider setting up a friends’ group.
- Be courageous when a QI throws up major issues! Develop an action plan, foster a culture of love and appreciation for your building rather than viewing it as an expensive asset that is a drain on resources. Work closely with the DAC, and other heritage bodies if required. Develop a team of people who have interest in and knowledge of grant application procedures when bigger projects arise. Attend seminars when available on church maintenance (see our events pages for relevant training, see our fundraising pages for advice, and contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further guidance)
- Use social media and newsletters to keep your local community aware of the progress (and costs!) of maintenance, and to commend your wonderful building to all people, whether of faith or not, as a wonderful community asset.
"Don’t give up when faced with big mountains to climb. Keep those basic tasks going such as gutter maintenance and downpipe maintenance and roofs in good order whilst a bigger project may be slowly developing behind the scenes."