Routine Inspections

Every 3 MONTHS, at least, the fabric convener or his delegate should make a careful tour of the building, looking for the signs of possible trouble you will have noted.

Use binoculars for checking roofs and other high places and if possible look down from a high vantage point such as the roof of a tower. If the building has meanwhile endured severe weather, especially high wind, heavy rain and/or melting snow, make the same inspection as soon as you can after it has abated. Clear fallen leaves and other debris from gutters and check downpipes and gullies for possible obstruction, especially in late autumn and early summertime.
Every 12 MONTHS, conduct a more thorough inspection, preferably in the company of a general tradesman.
Check inside roof spaces, using a strong torch in areas of darkness.

Check fire safety equipment and renew as necessary.
Check and oil locks, latches and bolts.
Health and Safety advice specific to church buildings can be found at

Cyclical Inspections

Every 5 YEARS, arrange for a full professional inspection.
This will probably be officially required by your denominational body and should provide an expert ‘snapshot’ of the condition of the church building (and other premises such as halls and clergy houses).
The Inspection Report should:
provide a general record of the condition of the fabric.
identify the condition, in detail, of all parts of the fabric
describe any necessary work in order of priority: urgent, necessary or desirable.
make recommendations about the future maintenance and care of the building and its contents.
identify and make recommendations on any condition needing further investigation.

5-Yearly Maintenance Tasks

5-yearly maintenance tasks should include:
Painting external woodwork, iron rainwater goods and window bars.
Checking safety and integrity of belfries and bell supports (with a structural engineer)
Arrange inspection and maintenance of boilers and instantaneous water heaters.
Checking and testing electrical installations and lightning conductors (by qualified electrician)

Note that a qualified professional should inspect and sign off all but very basic repair work, such as attending to cupboard locks and touching up paintwork.

Church Interior Maintenance

Where the floor has been constructed over an earth ‘solum’, moisture will rise towards a warmer interior. If floor boards become damp for this or any other reason, lift any linoleum or plastic covering and allow them to dry out, after checking for signs of rot. If it is present, be prepared to waterproof the sub-floor area by ‘tanking’ before replacing new boarding.
To help prevent this problem, no covering should be stuck down on a basic timber floor and carpets with rubber backing should not be used.
Allow air to circulate by keeping floors unsealed and dry and minimise damp problems by keeping washing to a minimum, avoiding wetting the bases of walls and columns.
Do not use any wax or coatings other than linseed oil on flagstone or clay tiling.
Marble flooring should only be dust-mopped.
Timber platforms below pews may fail in places if previous cutting-out for service pipework, etc. has not been properly supported. Do not allow similar work to be done without inspecting it before the boards are replaced.
Do not use salt or sand to protect external steps from frost and ice. Both can damage vulnerable floors if carried inside.
Memorials, Wall Plaques and Stained Glass should be protected from impact during building work and anything not stored away that is fragile or valuable should be recorded.
Organs are vulnerable to dust and must be carefully protected under dust proof sheeting when such conditions are expected. They can also be made unplayable if water gets inside and the organist should be alert to possible drips from water penetration overhead.