Maintenance

Below is a A-Z listing of topics for property maintenance.  

There are also dedicated pages for guidance for the following topics:

If you need assistance finding a contractor, the following may be of assistance:

Access Audits

An access audit is a description of a business’ facilities and services to inform people with access needs and allow for a written, descriptive approach to providing a wide range of information on accessibility and differing needs.  An audit can be carried out by a professional, at cost, who will be able to add design guides, sketches and guidance notes, but it could also be done by a person with knowledge of the actual building and the relevant people who attend on a regular basis following a checklist. An access audit helps to meet our obligations under the Equality Act 2010.


The audit should cover all types of disability, wheelchair users are the most obvious, but they make up less than 8% of all disabled people in the UK.  Think about the other 92%, which includes fully ambulatory people as well as those with hearing, visual and mental impairments, pregnant mothers, people with pushchairs, the young and the elderly.

An access audit should contain a thorough, yet concise description of accessibility, from initial arrival to departure. There should be one for each separate building.  So you might consider using the following headings when conducting an access audit.

Introduction 

A brief introduction and should include what the building is:

  • Chapel, museum, church, etc.
  • Where it is situated; on a hill, or exposed place, in a noisy environment, city centre of countryside
  • A brief description of the specialist facilities available such as disabled toilets, ramps, hearing loops, large text books, etc.

Pre-Arrival

  • Public transport links, including bus and train, distance from the stops
  • Type of pavement or journey from the stop to your building (pavement, exposed road, etc)
  • Vehicle routes, busy roads, local authority travel schemes and local accessible taxi schemes

Car Park and Arrival

  • Car park on site, on pavement or free
  • Disabled, blue badge, local authority ‘Brown Badge’ places and if payment is required
  • The Type of surface from car park to entrance level or slopped, tarmac or gravel, firm or uneven lighting in the car park area
  • Intercom or buzzer for assistance
  • Steps or level access to the entrance
  • Provided ramps; temporary or permanent
  • Entrance doors, width, weight, direction of opening, manual, automatic, revolving, if glass are they marked.

Entrance and Reception

  • Where is this situated, and how is it accessed (level, ramp, lift, escalator?)
  • Is the floor level, slopped or stepped? Is seating available? Floor surface, if carpet, what type of pile?
  • How is the area lit? Natural or artificial light (or combination), tube, spot and general lighting
  • Bear in mind different light conditions at different times of the day, or year
  • Height of any desks, counters, tables and bookshelves
  • Written signs, provided in different languages, large print, etc.
  • Assistance for carers Hearing loops
  • Other items to assist supplied such as magnifying glass, pen and paper, wheelchair loan, volunteers

Main Space 

  • Type of seating, access to pews, separate seating areas, chair availability, temporary requirements
  • Internal doors, width and weight
  • Corridor widths
  • Wheelchair areas Floor surface
  • Position of sunlight through windows
  • View of main participants
  • Means of interpretation; audio guide, subtitles, area colours, hearing loop
  • Books in large print,
  • Braille, pictograms or translations
  • Use of music and any flashing lights Acoustics Lighting of any displays and general lighting
  • ‘Surprise’ participants e.g. calling from the back, singing/music from balcony

Toilet Areas

  • Public facilities and location, inc. disabled toilets
  • Separate male/female
  • Disabled facilities, RADAR keys
  • Steps, ramps to WCs, any lift or escalator
  • Width of doors to the WCs, do they open out or in
  • Wheelchair or mobility aid access
  • Space to side of WC for mobility aid, how wide
  • Grab rails provided, fixed or drop
  • Height of the WC Pan from floor to seat
  • Alert for emergencies, who will respond, type of alert mechanism (ie red cord)
  • Lighting Floor surface
  • Height of sinks, hand drying facilities, type of taps on sinks

Grounds and gardens 

  • Describe any grounds, including burial grounds to which people have access, including the width of entrances
  • Are these areas flat, undulating or sloped
  • Width and surface of the footpaths
  • Available seating
  • Proximity to other necessary facilities

Means of Escape

  • Emergency exit routes
  • Alarms including flashing repeaters
  • Refuges and ‘evac’ chairs for upper floors Evacuation provisions including any Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans

Additional Information

  • Disability training given to staff and volunteers
  • Welcoming of assistance dogs, any facilities provided for these animals
  • Describe signage
  • Power points for charging of electrical mobility aids
  • Local accommodation
  • Local A&E Departments Local disability help group

Having conducted your audit, record and store so that it can be used as a guide when planning any special services or changes to the buildings.  It can also be given to parties who are planning any events such as a wedding, funeral, etc at your building so that they will be informed of the facilities, whilst allowing them to consider their guests.

In addition, the access audit will seek to find solutions to identified problems, with recommendations and relative cost.  Essential work will be that to comply with legislation or to remove major obstacles to access.  They might be categorised further: 

  • Those which are of a minor nature, or adjustments to practice or management at little or no cost
  • Those which can be provided as part of ongoing maintenance, refurbishment or redecoration.
  • Those which are major items which needs a specific budget

The Methodist Church has a hospitality audit which includes many of these questions and can be found here.  

Church House Publishing have a very useful guide entitled ‘Widening the Eye of the Needle’ (3rd Edition, 2008) which has comprehensive further reading.

If the audit identifies any deficiencies that need to be addressed then you may need to make an action plan to have a correction made.  It is incumbent on us to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ as a result of the audit.  However, this is not compulsory, but reasonable.  As an example, you wouldn’t need to remove all the pews to put in chairs to allow wheelchair access, when the congregation is small, the numbers of wheelchair users are small and removing or moving one or two pews would allow the wheelchairs to fit. If you had a level entrance to the side of a building, but steps to the front, a reasonable adjustment would be to make the side the disabled entrance and exit, but it would then be unreasonable to leave that door with a gravel or dirt path.

Planning Access Statements

By stating your intentions and objectives to make your building inclusive and accessible, you may be able to assist the passage of your project through statutory control bodies.  By preparing an Access Statement, any building owner or service provider will demonstrate that they have considered the access requirements of different people, and will have described how they intend to meet them. This commitment should also be passed on to any consultants and contractors working on the project, so that they too comply with their duties as service providers.


The Access to and Use of Buildings from the Gov.uk website also provides useful information.

Alcohol use on Methodist Property

Guidelines for districts and Connexional Property Committee
 
SO 922 - In general, the use of intoxicants on Methodist premises (and their advertisement or promotion) is prohibited. 

Non-alcoholic wine must be used in the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.  The sale or use of alcoholic drinks is not permitted in that part of the relevant premises in which worship has been identified as the primary use. 

However, the lawful supply, sale or use of alcohol may be approved in the following way:
 
FOR LOCAL, CIRCUIT OR DISTRICT PROPERTY
 the trustees must seek approval from the District Policy Committee

(For all other property, approval is required from the Connexional Property Committee) (further detailed guidance is provided in Standing Order 922)  

SO 922 (3A) states:
Clause (1) above shall not preclude the lawful supply, sale or use of alcoholic drinks on Methodist premises, (other than any part of the relevant premises in which worship has been identified by the trustees as the primary use) if:

(i) a significant part of the mission and activity of the Methodist Church carried out on the relevant premises involves use of the premises as a conference centre; 

(ii) such supply, sale or use is solely in connection with an event taking place on those premises as part of such use; and 

(iii) such supply, sale or use is with the consent of the trustees given for the specific event and subject to such conditions as they may prescribe. 

The intention is to ensure that the use of alcohol is within the context of a conference centre, which is integral to the trustees’ mission objectives.

 
Guidelines for DPCs and the Connexional Property Committee

Ask Managing Trustees to:

  • set out their mission aims 
  • state in what ways a conference centre would be integral to their mission 
  • show how the use of alcohol would enhance the conference centre in helping fulfil their mission. 

 

Annual Returns

 

Schedules A and C and their supplements (check lists) as well as Schedule D are now part of the ANNUAL RETURNS section of the Methodist Online Suite of Applications

Registration information and guidance documents can be accessed on the Online Suite guidance page

Guidance Notes for Annual Inspection can be found here.

Asbestos
It is a legal requirement (Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006) that the Managing Trustees have a “duty to manage” any risk from asbestos in church buildings and any other non-domestic premises.
The first stage is to prepare a risk assessment to determine whether asbestos is present in your buildings. If it is, there are only two options:
  1. High risk - the asbestos must be removed
  2. Low risk - it can be sealed and left in position, together with warning notices and possibly minor repair.

There has been some misunderstanding about the requirement for the initial survey and subsequent inspections of asbestos. The initial survey should be undertaken by a specialist who will prepare a formal report which should be kept in the church log book. It is then the Church Council as Managing Trustees who have the responsibility as ’duty holders‘ (Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006) to ’manage’ the ongoing risk.
 
The HSE guidance on the matter states: The duty to manage asbestos is contained in Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006. It requires the person who has the duty (ie the ‘duty holder’) to:

  • Take reasonable steps to find out if there are materials containing asbestos in non-domestic premises, and if so, the scale of the problem, where it is and what condition it is in; 
  • Presume materials contain asbestos unless there is strong evidence that they do not; 
  • Make, and keep up to date, a record of the location and condition of the asbestos containing materials (ACMs) or materials which are presumed to contain asbestos; 
  • Assess the risk of anyone being exposed to fibres from the ACMs; 
  • Prepare a plan that sets out in detail how the risks from these materials will be managed; 
  • Take the necessary steps to put the plan into action; 
  • Periodically review and monitor the plan and the arrangements to act on it so that the plan remains relevant and up to date;
  • Provide information on the location and condition of the materials to anyone who is liable to work on or disturb them.  
There is also a requirement on anyone to cooperate as far as is necessary to allow the duty holder to comply with the above requirements.
 
In the case of Methodist churches, the duty holder is the Church Council as Managing Trustees, having clear responsibility for the maintenance or repair of the premises. 
 
What premises are affected?
 
The duty to manage covers all non-domestic premises.  Such premises include all industrial, commercial or public buildings such as factories, warehouses, offices, shops, hospitals and schools.
 
Manses are also included by reason that the responsibility for maintenance and repair rests with the Circuit Meeting, with the incumbent treated as a ‘tenant’ under the act.  Under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, we do not have a duty to manage asbestos risks in private houses, manses, individual flats, private rooms above churches, rooms let to lodgers or domestic garages let to a specific tenant.
However, the situation is not quite that simple for two reasons - responsibility for common areas and the existence of other relevant health and safety legislation.

The duty to manage asbestos applies to the common areas of purpose built flats and houses converted into flats, such as foyers, corridors, staircases, roof spaces, gardens, lifts and lift-shafts.  Similarly, it applies to the stairs and access areas of flats above or attached to churches and other similar premises.  It would also apply to an area used for temporary accommodation of visitors, such as a Christmas centre for rough sleepers (but not to private visitors of the occupier) and to any ‘Houses in Multiple Occupancies’, that is any properties which are let or tenanted to two or more people who do not form a single family unit.

We can be responsible for the repair of premises or equipment in these areas and will be regarded as the duty holder.  As such, we will be responsible for carrying out a survey to identify any asbestos containing materials in the property, drawing up a management plan and informing contractors / tradesmen about the presence of asbestos before they undertake any work.
 
Asbestos can be found in a wide range of items in domestic properties, including ceiling tiles, insulating board, pipe insulation, sprayed and textured coatings, cement, fire doors and wall cladding.  It is often difficult to identify, so to ensure we comply with the regulations, we should assume asbestos is present in any property that was built or underwent major refurbishment work between 1950 and 1999.
 
Not all the asbestos containing materials identified will need to be removed, but it is sensible to seek advice from an asbestos specialist about whether or not they are safe and what steps need to be taken before any type of work is done to the property.

Other Relevant Health and Safety Legislation

One thing all residential landlords need to be aware of is the Defective Premises Act 1972, which requires reasonable care to ensure that tenants and visitors are safe from personal injury and illness caused by the condition of the premises.

Although asbestos is not specifically mentioned it is covered by the Act, which applies to all domestic properties - including those even where there is no specific duty to manage under the Control of Asbestos Regulations.

The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 requires all rented property to be fit for human habitation at the beginning of the tenancy and further requires the landlord to maintain that basic standard.  Any property that features asbestos containing materials that are in an unsafe condition may not comply with the Act.  Under this act, section 8 ‘property’ includes ‘a part of a house, and any yard, garden, outhouses and appurtenances belonging to the house or usually enjoyed with it.’

Further, when we employ staff (including volunteers) to look after the properties, we also need to ensure compliance with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.  This includes a general obligation for employers to conduct their activities in such a way that workers are not exposed to health and safety risks, such as asbestos.

Application
While trying to identify which pieces of legislation apply to any particular rented property may be a little confusing, ensuring compliance with all the regulations is more straightforward.  If we ensure that we follow expert advice and best practice for asbestos management, we ensure a safe environment for tenants and workers, as well as making certain we minimise any legal problems. 

The Health & Safety Executive produces comprehensive information about asbestos.  
 
Here are some basic principles to remember:
  • Asbestos is only dangerous when disturbed. If it is safely managed and contained, it doesn’t present a health hazard. 
  • Don’t remove asbestos unnecessarily; removing it can be more dangerous than leaving it in place and managing it. 
  • Not all asbestos materials present the same risk. The measures that need to be taken for controlling the risks from materials such as pipe insulation are different from those needed in relation to asbestos cement. 
  • Don’t assume you need to bring in a specialist in every case (for example, you can inspect your own building rather than employ a surveyor).  But are you competent to be able to identify the various types of asbestos that might be present - either as a pipe insulation or hidden as a constituent material within a product (such as floor tiling, paint, etc)? And do you know what level of hazard is associated with each type? 
  • If you are unsure about whether certain materials contain asbestos, you should presume they do and treat them as such. 
  • Remember that 'the duty to manage' is all about putting in place the practical steps necessary to protect maintenance workers and others from the risk of exposure to asbestos fibres. It is not about removing all asbestos.

If any ACMs need to be sealed, encapsulated or removed, remember you will need to employ a licensed contractor if the materials are high risk (eg pipe insulation and asbestos insulating panels).

If the materials are lower risk (eg asbestos cement), then an unlicensed but competent contractor may carry out this work.

How do duty holders comply?
 
Find - you must check if materials containing asbestos are present or are liable to be present;

Condition - you must check what condition the material is in;
Presume - you must assume the material contains asbestos unless you have strong evidence that it does not; 
 
Identify - if you are planning to have maintenance or refurbishment of the building carried out or the material is in poor condition, you may wish to arrange for the material to be sampled and identified by a specialist;
 
Record - record the location and condition of the material on a plan or drawing;
 
Assess  - you must decide if the condition or the location means the material is likely to be disturbed; 
 
Plan -  prepare and implement a plan to manage these risks.
 
Further details of these steps can be found in the downloadable file, A Short Guide to Managing Asbestos: www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg223.pdf 
 
Managing Trustees should also bear in mind that a risk assessment is needed in order to satisfy the conditions of your insurance policy.
 
We realise that these regulations may be imposing a considerable additional burden on local churches, but the government now believes that asbestos poses such a danger to health that it considers a risk assessment to be essential. 
Burial Ground Maintenance

Maintenance of Burial Grounds: Guidance

Who is responsible for them?

Until a burial ground is disposed of (rather than closed), the Managing Trustees of the Church to which it belongs remain responsible for it.  This may be the Circuit Meeting rather than the Church Council, if trusteeship has been delegated or the local church has ceased worship.  In any case, it is important to keep a record of whose care it is in.  

Individual 'plots' within the ground are the responsibility of the plot owner, or their successor in title.  However, where the owner cannot be traced, usually due to the length of time, then it falls again to the Managing Trustees.

Why does this matter?

There is no denying that care of a burial ground can be costly and onerous.  That being said, the consequences of chronic neglect are often much worse.

Keeping a burial ground neat and tidy will prevent alienation of the community (a potential source of support), as well as vandalism and anti-social behaviour from taking place on the site.  Sensitivity to relatives of the deceased will encourage further burials and help to manage reputational risk.

Practical Tips

  • It is important to have in place a long term plan outlining the maintenance requirements of the burial ground in question.  This may include grass cutting, planting and upkeep of flowers, care of trees and shrubs and maintenance of boundary and internal walls, gates and fences.  Health and safety concerns should be paramount and a risk management approach must be taken.
  • Other denominations have had some success in recruiting ‘Friends of,’ groups of volunteers to help maintain the grounds.  The National Federation of Cemetery Friends offers guidance on setting up such groups.
  • Where a burial ground is an eyesore or poses a particular risk, consider hiring a local person to do the work if practicable.  In either case, ultimate responsibility for the burial ground will still rest with the Managing Trustees.  Some organisations, such as the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management, provide training courses in burial ground management.
  • Other denominations in rural areas recommend keeping sheep or goats on the grounds to keep grass trimmed.  If so, Managing Trustees may require a licence (often free) and health and safety concerns (the risk of escape, flowers placed by graves being eaten, etc.) must be borne in mind.
  • Responsibility for the maintenance of burial grounds can be transferred to Local Authorities under the Open Spaces Act 1906.  Unlike for Anglican Burial Grounds, this is completely discretionary: indeed, the Church has unsuccessfully lobbied on this in the past.  Even so, it is not unheard of and may be more likely in areas that are lacking other community spaces.
  • Ensure that burial grounds are considered as part of quinquennial inspections.   Ask your Surveyor to comment on their general state, as well as the safety of monuments, boundary walls, fences and trees.  Ensure that s/he can identify Japanese Knotweed.
  • If maintenance of the burial ground may not be feasible in the long term, consider preventing further burials on the site.  This will simplify matters if the burial ground is eventually disposed of or sold by way of the grant of a long lease. Gently inform relatives of the deceased of the possible repercussions of choosing to bury their loved one in a Methodist burial ground.  They must be made aware that the Church is generally not legally obliged to accommodate their wishes, even where their family members are also buried there.
  • If Managing Trustees do see fit to allow further burials, it is vital that a careful record is kept of who is buried where.

Other sources

Please note that the law which applies to Methodist Burial Grounds differs from the law in respect of Anglican cemeteries. 

This guidance note is no substitute for seeking legal advice.  
June 2019

Burial Grounds - Closing and/or Disused

Burial grounds can cause a great amount of anxiety for Local Churches, Circuits and those living in the vicinity of a burial ground.  The Burial Ground Guidance available on TMCP’s website is a good place to start to understand Managing Trustees’ responsibilities in relation to their burial grounds and what steps to take before closing a burial ground, moving headstones, building on a burial ground or rendering graves inaccessible. The Ministry of Justice’s guide, Managing the Safety of Burial Ground Memorials,  also provides helpful guidance on health and safety and general management issues.

Selling a Burial Ground

For Managing Trustees considering selling a burial ground, please refer to the Burial Ground Sale Focus Note.  Please contact TMCP if you require the password to access this guidance note which is in the password protected part of TMCP’s website to keep it within the Church family.

Click here to view an example of a church that moved headstones with care and compliance for 2 disused burial grounds.  

TMCP is currently preparing some Burial Ground FAQs to address common queries raised by Managing Trustees on burial grounds. Please contact TMCP with any particular questions so that we can ensure these are covered.

Listed buildings and Burial Grounds

Where a church is a listed building, it is possible that the memorials and headstones in an adjoining burial ground also fall within the listing. You should therefore speak with the Connexional Conservation Officer before making any proposals for the burial ground.  Contact details can be found here.    

Church Organ Advisory Service

The Organ Advisory Service is often met with the statement, “Oh – we did not contact you because we thought you were only interested in pipe organs!”
 
While it is true that they encourage churches to consider a pipe organ as their first option (especially if the church already has one), it does not mean that they are unwilling (or unable) to help if the Church Council has decided upon an electronic alternative.
 
Manufacturers, importers and stockists of electronic organs all quite naturally want to offer their advice to select an instrument from the range being offered. Whilst a few may just apply gentle persuasion, others can be more forceful. These may range from the local music retailer who has the ‘unrepeatable bargain’ to international companies who may employ quite aggressive marketing techniques.
 
Within the Methodist Organ Advisory Service there is the knowledge and expertise to give informed, impartial, advice, not only concerning selection and purchase, but also maintenance prospects as no electric, electronic or digital equipment is ‘maintenance-free.'

  • How soon can we reasonably expect attention in the event of a breakdown?
  • What is likely to be the cost of a ‘post-guarantee’ maintenance contract and what are its long- term expectations?

Churches are strongly advised to avoid electronic organs of the ‘entertainment’ style, ie those that have 2 short, ‘staggered’ keyboards and 13 short pedals. These instruments are only really designed for those musical styles where one plays the melody with the right hand, chord patterns with the left and a single bass note with the left foot. While such an instrument can be adequate for the playing of popular melodies and some worship songs, it is most unsatisfactory for the playing of standard hymns, and impossible for the performance of any part of the organ repertoire.
 
Although more expensive, an organ with two full-size keyboards and a standard pedal board will make it possible to play hymns, worship songs, standard organ repertoire and everything else – including entertainment music, if required.
 
Be advised also that the life of an electronic organ can be limited, with electronic and digital components requiring replacement, often at a cost in excess of the original instrument.  With regular maintenance and tuning, a pipe organ can have a life considerably in excess of any electronic substitute, although it is recognised that the space requirements for a pipe organ are greater.  Churches should make their own enquiries with regard to maintenance costs to ensure that best value is obtained. The Organ Advisory Service can be contacted through: Malcolm Starr on malcolmstarr@hotmail.com or telephone on 01400 281 291. 

CO2 / Smoke Detector

Please contact the Connexional Property Coordinator.

Demolition and Deconstruction
There may come a time when consideration is being given to the deconstruction, demolition or partial demolition of any building and the following notes may be useful.
 
Demolition is the tearing down of buildings and other man-made structures. Demolition contrasts with deconstruction, which involves taking a building apart while carefully preserving valuable elements for reuse, repurposing, recycling and waste management purposes. It should be noted that any demolition of a Methodist building should first start with an appraisal of any elements such as monuments, glass, woodwork or items of heritage that should be carefully removed and stored for reuse, if possible.
 
Deconstruction is commonly separated into two categories; structural and non-structural. Nonstructural deconstruction, also known as “soft-stripping”, consists of reclaiming non-structural components, appliances, doors, windows, and finish materials. The reuse of these types of materials is commonplace and considered to be a mature market. Structural deconstruction involves dismantling the structural components of a building. Traditionally this had only been performed to reclaim expensive or rare materials such as used brick, dimension (natural) rock or stone, and extinct woods.
 
In the UK, it is usual for companies involved in this type of work to be called ‘Demolition Companies’ and so we will use that term, although we acknowledge that deconstruction is probably more accurate and in keeping with the report and study guide ‘Hope in God’s Future’, with proper planning, careful handling and a green approach to the removal of materials it is possible to achieve a landfill diversion rate of above 90%.
 
Important considerations around demolition There are two types of demolition – complete or partial removal. Complete demolition involves the removal of all traces of the building above ground. This process is common and easily achieved by a competent demolition company. Partial demolition is trickier as support will be required for the remaining structure, which may include window strutting, floor props and shoring. It may also involve a lot of additional planning and effort as powered equipment may be unsuitable.
 
You must inform your local authority (England and Wales) in writing at least six weeks in advance of your intention to demolish (the building control department usually deals with demolitions). In Scotland, you must have a demolition warrant prior to starting. Utilities providers and adjacent or adjoining building owners must also be informed in advance, especially if party walls will be affected. Some buildings do not require notification such as: 
  • Buildings under 1750 cubic feet / 50 cubic metres 
  • Temporary buildings, standing for no more than 28 days 
  • Attached greenhouses, prefabricated garages, conservatories or sheds
  • Detached agricultural buildings

However, prior to demolition you should check with your local authority to ensure compliance with any local by-laws. This is particularly pertinent for properties in the Scotland District, which require a warrant, and those in the Island districts, where you must consult your local authority as regulations differ.
 

Consent 
If you are looking to demolish a Methodist property, you will need to create a project on the Property Consent website (https://online.methodist.org.uk) to apply for consent.  Further guidance is given within the Property Consents Help and Guidance pages: https://propertyconsent.methodist.org.uk/guide/123


Any work on a listed building or in a conservation area should be notified to the Conservation Officer (conservation@methodistchurch.org.uk) as soon as possible. 
 

Pre-demolition requirements
The local authority will specify pre-demolition requirements, which may include shoring, protection of adjacent buildings against damage, collapse or water damage, debris-disposal and safety measures. 
 
Detailed survey
As a managing trustee, you are expected to seek professional advice for all medium to large-scale projects. You should therefore commission a report from a structural engineer to assess the method of demolition and carry out a detailed survey that should include the impact of removing parts of the structure and the effect of demolition on neighbouring properties. 
 
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM) apply. This results in Health and Safety duties being transferred to the designer, contractor, and site workers. More information is available on the HSE website (www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/demolition.htm). 
 
Experienced contractors
Use an experienced contractor as demolition is skilled and potentially dangerous work. 
 
Asbestos
Be aware of asbestos, you should commission a pre-demolition asbestos survey even if you have had a negative asbestos survey previously, then, if required, employ a specialist contractor to remove any asbestos materials from site before demolition starts, or ensure your demolition contractor has such expertise upon which they can call. 
 
Salvage materials
As noted above, always think about salvaging materials and components such as bricks, tiles, slates and timber.
 
Document Retention

“For how long should we keep copies of documents (quinquennial inspection reports and the like)?”
 
This is a question often asked by those District and Circuit Officers whose storage capacities are limited. There does not appear to be any formal policy on the matter, but officers should be mindful of the Standing Order SO 903 Care of Deeds and ‘other’ documents (which imply that all QIRs should be retained, as it speaks in the plural); 941, 954 (viii; ix), and 966.
 
The log book also has to record QIRs. The considered view is that QIR and other property documents will need to be kept for at least the period set out in the Limitation Act (latent damages), since it is possible that a church may wish to prove that a professional may have given negligent advice.
 
From a practical and prudent aspect, district officers should retain the most up-to date records and those records where they are still valid within the Limitation Act. When there is a system in place whereby this information is stored online, this will not be a problem.
 
It has further been suggested that not everything requires retention. The originator of the document (the QI inspector) and the circuit (in the case of manses) should keep the records. However, the present QIR and the previous one are probably sufficient to allow comparisons to be made.
 
Guidelines for retaining records - http://www.methodist.org.uk/ministers-and-officeholders/archivists 
 

Eco Survey

Managing Trustees should consider the Methodist Conference 2009 report, Hope in God’s Future: Christian Discipleship in the Context of Climate Change, and respond accordingly .

Useful guidance and examples can be found on the  Environment and Climate Change page and some helpful links can be found here

A list of issues that could be considered in an environmental audit (by no means an exhaustive list):   Yes  No Intend to do within the next  12 months

1.0 Carbon footprint
 
Have you worked out your carbon footprint?

It can be an interesting exercise to work out your own ‘carbon footprint’, ie the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) you emit into the atmosphere annually (carbon dioxide being the primary problem in global warming). 
 
Full details including calculations can be found on www.carbonfootprint.com.  Although this calculator is intended for you as an individual, rather than your church, you may find it helpful.
 
The UK government aspires to reduce CO2 emissions by 34% by 2020 – something in which we all need to play a part. 80% of CO2 emissions are from industrialised countries.
 
Are you trying to reduce the amount of your ‘footprint’?

     

2.2 Investigate use of renewable energy (see information leaflet on renewable energy):

Solar collectors to provide water heating (probably the best option) 

Micro-generation (whereby electricity generated from renewable sources is fed back into the national grid, and you are reimbursed accordingly by the electricity company)?

Photovoltaic panels – see the Technical Guidance sheet for specific requirements – planning, lease documentation etc.

     

2.3 Lighting

Have you fitted energy-efficient lighting units where possible and explored the latest options?

  • Energy-efficient lighting units are more expensive but last up to 8 times longer; use much less electricity (as little as 20% compared to traditional bulbs) and are available in a variety of designs.

Do you ensure unnecessary lighting is switched off?

  • Use ‘please switch off the lights’ labels 
  • Use time-delay switches, or movement sensitive sensors for lighting
     

2.4 Heating

Have you:

  • Ensured that room thermostats are properly adjusted and are in suitable locations?
  • Replaced outdated boilers (many older gas boilers are only 50% efficient or less; new condensing boilers are 80% - 90% efficient)?
  • Fitted thermostatic radiator valves to all radiators? 
  • Installed different heating zones to ensure that only parts of the church (eg a meeting room) need to be heated rather than the whole building  
  • Installed more sophisticated heating controls, eg seven-day programmers and electronic programmers which are accurate to the minute (older programmers are sometimes accurate to only a couple of hours)  
  • Ensured that your annual service contract includes comment/discussion about energy issues
     

2.5 Insulation

Have you: 

  • Insulated all loft spaces, above accessible ceilings etc, with up to 200mm of insulation (take care: obtain advice from an architect or surveyor to ensure adequate ventilation to prevent condensation, check that electricity cables are suitable protected, etc) 
  • Insulated hot and cold water pipes, where passing through unheated spaces 
  • Fitted draught seals around all external doors and windows, also between heated and unheated rooms (ensure that seals do not make it difficult for elderly people and children to open doors) 
  • Provided draught lobbies to entrance doors which are likely to be opened on a regular basis during the use of the building (to minimise heat loss) 
  • Added insulation below suspended floors (but ensure adequate ventilation) 
  • Installed cavity wall insulation; solid walls (generally those built before 1930) can have insulation added to the inside face, but this must be carefully designed to avoid condensation occurring (in housing, about 35% of the heat loss is through walls)
     

2.6 Double glazing

If you are considering double glazing, please having regard to the following: 

Unless your church is used for several hours every day, double-glazing is unlikely to be cost effective. 

Double-glazing will reduce draughts, but is unlikely to save any appreciable energy. 

UPVC is not an environmentally suitable material (see below-timber is better). 

Most double-glazing frames need very careful design to be visually suitable for churches.

Most double-glazing units last only 15 to 20 years, after which expensive renewal will probably be required.

     
2.7 Bulk Energy Purchase
 
Have you considered negotiating bulk energy purchase, which can result in considerable savings? 
     

3.0  Building Work  (the building industry is responsible for around 40% of total UK CO2 emissions)

Check with your architect or surveyor: 

  • To ensure that the design brief includes for an energy and environmental audit 
  • To ensure that materials are from a sustainable source where possible: several products – eg timber – are now marked with approved schemes 
  • To use materials from a local source, and which support local industry 
  • To avoid materials that require energy-intensive industrial production, eg aluminium and steel 
  • To try and avoid situations where the use of sustainable materials (eg timber) involves the consumption of energy by having to be transported over long distances). 
  • To use recycled materials where possible 
  • To use water-based paints (now usually also suitable for external use) 
  • To try and avoid chemical treatments for woodworm, dry rot and damp-proof courses (alternative solutions are often now available). 

 

     

4.0 Fair-trade products

Do you use fairly traded food and other products? (The Fairtrade Foundation, Traidcraft and Tearcraft often have local reps who can come and talk to a local church) 
 

     

5.0 Cleaning materials

Many cleaning materials contain dangerous chemicals – do you try and use ‘green’ products? 
 

     

7.0 Waste and Recycling

Do you: 

  • Recycle as much glass, paper and plastic as possible? 
  • Use recycled paper? 
  • Use electronic communication (eg emails) rather than letters and envelopes?
  • Reuse plastic bags when possible – avoid being given new ones while shopping? 
  • Avoid disposable cups and plates etc (for ensure they are recycled)?
  • Try to compost vegetable waste?
  • Avoid care journeys to recycling sites? 
  • Use rainwater from downpipes for watering soft landscaping; avoiding mains water where possible?
  • Use rainwater harvesting for flushing WCs?
  • Remember that water from wash basins etc can sometimes be recycled and used as ‘grey’ water for flushing WCs.
     
     
     

8.0 External areas (churchyards etc)

Do you have an ecological policy for these areas, eg: 

  • No use of pesticides 
  • Encourage wildlife, etc 
  • Have a compost area (see also ‘waste’ section earlier)
     

9.0 Communication and PR

Many people are now concerned about climate change and environmental issues –

  • Do you publicise what you do to help the environment?
  • Do you put information in your church magazine, discuss issues in junior church, and contact the local newspaper?
     

10.0 Transport

This is one of the most difficult areas to tackle, particularly for older people and in rural areas.  Do you try to: 

  • Avoid the use of cars – or share car journeys? 
  • Travel by public transport or cycle – even better, walk?
  • Avoid or rearrange meetings where people have to travel by car from a wide area?

Transport is the only sector of the UK economy where CO2 emissions have risen over the last 15 years; the average emission per car per year is nearly 2 tonnes of CO2.

     


 
 Resources and references

Methodist Church:  www.methodist.org.uk/our-work/our-work-in-britain/public-issues/environment-and-climate-change

Church of England:  www.churchcare.co.uk/shrinking-the-footprint

Operation Noah website:  https://operationnoah.org

Eco-church:  https://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk
 
 Low Carbon Buildings grant programme: tel helpline: 0800 915 7722
 www.lowcarbonbuildings.org.uk
 

Electrical - Inspections and Checking

Everyone should be aware that electrical installations need to be checked from time to time to ensure that they are safe. The following comments are intended to help Managing Trustees understand the position – but, as always, please remember that it is essential that trustees keep abreast of changes and obtain independent professional advice whenever necessary (the architect or surveyor who carries out your quinquennial inspections should be able to advise you further).  The legal and technical information should always be consulted for full details.

It is important to remember the distinction between the electrical installation (Item 1 below), and portable electrical appliances (Item 2), which are covered by different regulations.

From January 2005, electrical work in manses (i.e. domestic property) has been subject to Building Regulations consent – Approved Document P (Electrical Safety).  The current addition was published in 2010 and revised in 2013 and can be found here.

1. Electrical installations 

The Institute of Electrical Engineers Wiring Regulations, which have been adopted as a British Standard, require that all fixed installations be tested for safety at least once every 5 years (unless they fall into the categories below).  Although this is not a mandatory document, it is normally a requirement of insurance policies and Health & Safety risk assessments that recommendations in this document are followed. 

Installations should also be tested and examined after major rewiring or alterations to the installation. 

A competent person registered with an electrical self-certification scheme authorised by the Secretary of State should carry out these tests. The professional bodies which currently authorises who are registered electricians for domestic electrical work are: 

They will provide:

  • A written report Periodic Inspection Report for an Electrical Installation. 
  • The certificate, test results schedule and inspection report, as applicable, should all be kept with the log-book.
  • State when the electrical installation should next be tested and examined. 

The table below provides guidance on the frequency of formal inspections of electrical installations as well as routine checks.

Type of installation  Routine check Maximum period
between inspections and testing

Reference
(see notes below)

Manses

Change of occupancy / yearly 5 years 1

Church installations

1 year 5 years (Quinquennially) 2

Village halls /
Community centres

1 year 5 years 1,2

Emergency lighting

Daily / monthly 3 years 2,3,4

Fire alarms

 Daily / weekly / monthly 1 year 2,4,5



Reference key

  1. Particular attention must be taken to comply with the Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations 2002 (S.I. 2002/2665). 
  2. S1 1988 N0 635 The Electricity at Work Regulations. 
  3. See BS5266: Part 1: 1988 Code of practice for the emergency lighting. 
  4. Other intervals are recommended for testing operation of batteries and generators. 
  5. See BS 5839 Part 1: 2013 Fire detection and fire alarm systems for buildings and Code of practice for design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of systems in non-domestic premises

Please note: 
After testing the above installations the competent person may determine the maximum period between inspections should be less than those stated.

The ‘routine check’ should be carried out by someone who is competent to understand the electrical system, but need not be electrically skilled. The check should look for any wear and deterioration, missing parts, correct labelling, security of enclosures and operation of test buttons etc.  Notes about this ‘routine check’ should be included in the log book.
 
2. Portable electrical equipment

The following guidance has been prepared by the Health and safety Executive (http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg107.htm) in order to help employers and the self employed comply with the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989:

What is Portable Electrical Equipment? 

Generally any piece of electrical equipment which has a plug fitted, e.g. kettles, heaters, computers, photocopiers, extension leads. 

What does the law require me to do? 

The law requires portable electrical equipment to be operated and maintained in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions. This includes adhering to the guidance on testing and examination. Further information can be found in the following Health and Safety Executive document: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pUbns/priced/hsg107.pdf 

Do I need to have every piece of electrical equipment electrically tested? 

Not every piece of equipment requires testing. A simple and inexpensive system for looking for visual signs of damage or faults will control most of the electrical risks. However, some appliances (refer to practical guidance) may require more thorough testing such as earth bond, continuity, insulation, earth leakage and flash testing. 

What can I do? 
The appliance should be switched off before looking for signs of:

  • damage, e.g. cuts or abrasion to cable leads 
  • damage to the plug (e.g. casing cracks or bent pins) 
  • on-standard joints e.g. twisted taped joints or leads badly extended 
  • the outer covering (sheath of cable not being gripped where it enters the plug or the equipment, i.e. where the internal wires are showing) 
  • damage to the outer cover of the equipment, loose or missing parts. Any damaged or suspected faulty equipment should be taken out of service until it has been suitably repaired or replaced. 

Who can carry out the testing? 

Any qualified electrician can carry out these tests – e.g. an approved contractor from the electrical self-certification scheme (see (1) above). 

How would I be able to demonstrate to the Environment Directorate that I have complied with the law? 

Your copies of test certificates and records would verify this, and may prove crucial in the event of an inspection or litigation. 

Practical guidance: suggested initial intervals

Equipment/environment  User checks Formal visual inspections Combined inspection and testing
Battery operated: (less than 20 Volts No No No
Extra low voltage: (less than 50 volts AC e.g. telephone, low voltage desk lights No No No
Information technology, e.g. desktop computers, VDU screens. No Yes, 2-4 years No, if double insulated otherwise up to 5 years
Photocopiers, fax machines, rarely moved No Yes, 2 - 4 years No, if double insulated otherwise up to 5 years
Double insulated equipment: NOT hand held. Moved occasionally, e.g. fans, table lamps, projectors No Yes, 2 - 4 years No
Double insulated equipment: HAND-HELD e.g. some floor cleaners Yes Yes, 6 months to 1 year No
Earthed equipment (Class 1): e.g. electric kettles, toasters Yes Yes, 6 months to 1 year Yes, 1 - 2 years
Cables (leads) and plugs connected to the above. Extension leads (mains voltage) Yes Yes, 6 months to 4 years depending on the type of equipment it is connected Yes, 1 - 5 years depending on the type of equipment it is connected

 

You should also check any requirements in your insurance policy, Methodist Insurance produce several guidance notes – tel: 0161 833 9698. 

Electrical Services - General

The Legal Position

All places of worship are covered by the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. They state that any installation that complies with the IEE Wiring Regulations, BS7671, will be deemed to comply with the Electricity at Work Regulations. These are basic guidelines intended for trustees to make available to specifiers and electrical contractors to help in the preparation of tenders, specifications and proposals for new electrical installations, alterations, routine maintenance or minor works to churches. 
 
Contractors 

Only registered approved members of NICEIC, ECA, or NAPIT should be employed to carry out new installations, alterations, maintenance, and minor works. Only the highest standard of workmanship should be allowed. Operatives should be skilled tradesmen, who are aware of the community, historic and architectural importance of our buildings.  They should be particularly made aware of any uses that are outside the ‘norm’ for a church.  Such uses would include, and this is not an exhaustive list, any overnight accommodation, use as schools, especially those that cater for pre-school children, any water based activities and use by the elderly, especially those suffering dementia.

Existing Electrical Installations 

The electrical installation should be fully tested and inspected every five years in accordance with BS7671 (IEE regulations guidance Note No 3) by a registered NICEIC, ECA, or NAPIT contractor. The inspection certificate/report should be held in the church log book.

  • Code 1 defects -  (definition - ‘adversely affects the safety level of the installation’) arising from the inspection, MUST RECEIVE IMMEDIATE ATTENTION.
  • Code 2 defects (definition - ‘requires improvement’) should be attended to as soon as possible. 

Installations over five years old should also be subject to annual routine checks. 
 
New Installation Works 

1. General

New installations or alterations require a project through the consents website and the relevant approvals. Minor maintenance or replacement work may be permitted under CPD 930. All work must be carried out in accordance with BS7671 (IEE regulations latest edition including amendments).

It is advisable for the church architect to be involved at an early stage, so that any installation undertaken involves minimal disturbance of the fabric of the building and is aesthetically appropriate.

Any work on a listed building or building in a conservation area will require consent and advice should be taken at an early stage from the Conservation Officer based in Manchester.
 
2. Lighting Installation

A lighting system should be designed to provide: 

  • Sufficient general lighting to enable users of the building to read and follow the Service, as well as move about without health and safety risks. 
  • Feature lighting to enhance the architecture.
  • Good flexibility of control to match the activity or mood to the visual environment. It is also essential, when planning an installation, to consider the prospective use of the building, the possible wider community use, and to have efficiency, maintenance, and energy conservation firmly in mind.
  • Discharge lamps (metal halide or high pressure sodium) are highly energy efficient and reliable over long periods of time. They provide an excellent spread of light, therefore suitable for providing general illumination, from fewer fittings compared to any other lighting source. 
  • Halogen based lamps are available in a variety of types which can be used for many different applications, and would be suitable for spot lighting, or providing contrasting emphasis. 
  • LED (light emitting diodes) lamp technology has progressed, making this very compact, durable, lighting source suitable for discreet feature lighting, with extremely low energy consumption. 
  • The secret of a good lighting system is to be able to control it. Dimmer control can have dramatic effect and save energy. Not all discharge lighting can be dimmer controlled, it is therefore essential to have good flexibility of switching with no more than two lamp units per switch. Consideration should also be given to the ‘glare factor’ and attachment louvers are available for most light fittings. 
  • Lighting for a concert or stage area can be successfully achieved by including suitably rated power points, for the use of portable stage lighting rigs. 
  • Ideally light fittings should be positioned to allow easy access for lamp changing. This is not always possible. However, with the present long life span of lamps (particularly discharge lamps) it would be advantageous to plan ahead and budget for a complete periodic lamp change, carried out professionally, without health and safety risks.   

3.  Emergency Lighting 

There is currently no statutory requirement for churches to provide emergency lighting. It is however, the duty of the trustees to carry out a risk assessment, as required under the Health and Safety Regulations. NB: This is not the case for church halls that are available for public hire. 

  • If the assessment results in a decision to provide emergency lighting, it should be installed in accordance with BS5266.
  • An emergency lighting log book, with the record of regular testing must be kept up to date.  Without regular testing and maintenance, emergency lighting will soon become ineffective. 
  • The emergency light fittings should be non-maintained units (i.e. to activate only on power failure). For aesthetic reasons it would be preferable to incorporate the emergency unit within a general lighting fitting if possible. 
  • If infrequent provision only, is required, illuminated exit signs and emergency lighting can be provided by portable ‘plug in’ units, with the provision of a discreet socket and bracket in the appropriate positions. When not in use, the emergency lighting units could be kept energised, adjacent to the electricity mains supply position. This would also help to ensure that the lighting units are in working order prior to use. 

4. External Floodlighting 

There are many things to consider before deciding to floodlight the exterior of the church: 

  • Light pollution, particularly in rural churches. 
  • The Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) - English Nature. 
  • Archaeological advice in respect of sunken lamps and cable routes, especially through burial grounds. 
  • Energy consumption - use of low energy fittings - time control to prevent unnecessary illumination. 
  • Choice of appropriate lamp colour rendering, for the particular stonework. 
  • If the building is listed or in a conservation area.
  • If the floodlighting would increase the security of the building, or, conversely, cause attraction from those with a less than Christian intent.  Consideration may be given to external PIR motion sensor switches, especially on roofs and climbing points.

5. Electrical Heating 

Space heating a church, other than a very small church, by electricity, would not be recommended. The sustained input of heat, required to overcome the heat losses of the building, and raise the temperature to an acceptable level, using electricity, would be substantial, and even if affordable, it would be an extravagant use of energy. 

The choice of a new heating system will vary according to the circumstances. If the circuit is contemplating a wider use of the church, keeping the building constantly warm would be an obvious advantage. Hot water heating systems would be more suited to this. In many churches it is a matter of providing warmth for a small congregation in a large building, for a few services each month, at an affordable running cost. This means putting heat where the people are, rather than attempting to heat the whole space. Electrical heating can be used efficiently to achieve this objective. 

  • Under pew heating 
    If it is possible for under pew heating to be successfully accommodated, it can be an effective and economical method of providing heat where it is required. The heaters are low level ‘skirting type’ convector units. They are unobtrusive, and the wiring to them can usually be concealed within the pew platforms. These heaters are available in various lengths (output from 500 -750 watts per metre) with integral overheat thermal safety cutout protection, and can be linked together if necessary. The heaters should be floor mounted on brackets, NOT fixed to pews, and assurance should be obtained from the manufacturer that the heaters used in this type of application conform to current Health and Safety Regulations. Good flexible switching is advisable, ideally a switch concealed under each pew, with contactor/time control at the distribution board to enable the system to be energised for a short pre-heat period prior to the services, and also prevent the heaters from being left on unnecessarily. If considering such heaters, thought needs to be given to whether there will still be room for kneeling, without any risk to the congregation.
  • Off/peak fan assisted storage heating 
    This can be used to provide a low level background temperature in small churches, provided there is space, and they are able to be located relatively unobtrusively. This heating could be used to supplement under pew heating, and would also benefit the fabric.
  • Radiant / quartz heating 
    It is generally accepted that quartz heaters are not pleasing in appearance. They also produce a bright light, which can be visually intrusive. These should only be considered where there is no feasible alternative. 

6. Wiring systems

The following, are the types of wiring considered to be acceptable for use in church buildings: 

  • MICV (mineral insulated copper covered with polymeric sheath). This is a very durable cable which is available with LSF (low smoke and fume) sheath which comes in various colours to blend with the surrounding surfaces. Brass termination glands are the compression type and come complete with shrouds to match the sheath colour. This cable should be fixed with wrap around clips (colour to match the cable sheath) and screws. 
  • FP200 (fire resistant cable). This type of cable was first used for fire alarm installations. It is now considered a quality cable suited to many applications. It also has LSF (low smoke and fume) covering. Like MICV cable it retains its shape (good for dressing around stonework). The TRS termination glands prevent the ingress of dampness and also come complete with shrouds. The added advantage of this cable is the economy of installation costs, being far less labour intensive to install than mineral insulated cable. This cable should be fixed with wrap around clips and screws. FP200 cable comes with white or red covering. However it can be successfully painted to blend with the surrounding surfaces. The paint used must be approved by the cable manufacturers. 
  • MICC (mineral insulated copper covered). This cable is the same as MICV cable without a sheath covering over the copper. If this cable is used on damp surfaces, particularly with lime based mortar, it will quickly discolour and corrode. This cable should be fixed with wrap-around copper clips and brass screws. 
  • Steel Conduit (with PVC cables). Steel conduit has been used in many churches in the past and can be re-used for rewiring an installation if found to be in good order with no signs of corrosion. If conduits are re-used the conduit should not be used as a CPC (circuit protective conductor). A separate earth conductor should be used throughout. Where existing conduit is re-used, it does prevent disturbing the fabric. However it is highly unlikely that steel conduit would be considered for a new installation, because of the higher labour cost and the aesthetic impact. 
  • High Impact Plastic Conduit (with PVC cables). This conduit is much more economical to install. There are applications where this could be preferred, such as towers and boiler rooms. 
  • SWA cable (steel wire armoured). This cable should be used for all external buried cable runs. It is also ideal for sub-mains, under floors or in ducts. Where this cable is used, the wire sheath should not be relied on as the CPC (circuit protection conductor), allowance should be made for a separate earth conductor core. 

7. The Fabric 

Cable runs should be carefully planned so that they are unobtrusive and do not cause damage or disturb the fabric. Vertical cable runs should be kept to the corners or cross sections, and horizontal runs should be at wall plate level or at low level.

Cable fixings should be drilled into the mortar joints (not stonework) wherever possible, and should be appropriately spaced in order that the cables lie flat on the surface.

Trunking should only be used for multiples of three or more cables, in which case it should be painted to blend with the surrounding surface. No chasing of plaster, drilling through walls or exposed timber should be carried out without prior approval through the consent’s system. 
 
8. Sockets and Portable appliances 

Sockets should be the metal clad type and should be protected by a 30ma RCD. Sockets in wet situations, such as bell chambers, should be at least IP54 rated. All portable appliances should be tested by a competent person in accordance with the Health and Safety regulations, and a log of regular tests for each appliance be provided. 
 
9. Organs 

The organ can be a risk area. The electric blower motor is often overlooked and can be tucked away gathering dust. It should be examined at regular intervals to prevent it becoming a fire risk, particularly if left inadvertently turned on after use. Consider having an indicator light on the organ control switch. 
 
10. Lightning Strike

There is no way to predict or prevent lightning strikes.  A single bolt of lightning can contain up to one billion volts of electricity which can cause considerable structural damage if the bolt strikes a building. Lightning damage comes in two forms:  

  • Structural damage to the fabric of the church, which is usually minor but can result in fires or falling masonry.  
  • Indirect damage to electrical systems and equipment.  The resultant voltage surge can cause malfunctions and shutdowns and burn out wiring. Telephones, computers, electric organs and alarm systems are all at risk. Approximately 60% of insurance claims for lightning damage are for electrical wiring and equipment rather than structural damage. 

Recent estimates suggest that around 80% of churches have some form of lightning protection installed. Perhaps counter-intuitively, churches with lightning conductors are actually more likely to be struck, but the energy is directed harmlessly away from the building and into the ground. Churches without protection are five times more likely to suffer structural damage as the result of a strike. 

The traditional defence for most churches has been a lightning conductor, a single Franklin rod leading from the top of the spire or tower to an earth stake in the ground. A modern approach to protection would be a Faraday Cage system, a mesh of conductors laid at intervals over the roof and down the walls of the church, and connected to the ground by earth electrodes. 

A record of the visual checks and inspections should be held in the church log book. 

To view advice from Methodist Insurance on lightning, click here.  

11. Surge protection 

Surge protection should be considered as part of the risk assessment particularly with the increase in the use of electronic equipment in churches, e.g. sound systems, organ controls, computers, projectors, dimmers etc. Surge protection can be included within the mains distribution gear.  
 
12. Record keeping

Drawings, in plan and elevation, with clear photographs showing the exact positions of all new fittings. Photos should show where fittings are to be located within the context of the church as a whole. 

  • Details of cable routes. 
  • Illustrations of proposed light fittings, heaters, etc. (from catalogue etc.)

Trustees are advised to obtain two or three quotations to ensure they are getting value for money. Only the quotation from the chosen contractor need be submitted to the DAC. If more than one quotation is submitted to the DAC then it should be stated clearly which the preferred quote is. 
 

13. Certification 

The following certificates appropriate to the works carried out should be provided with originals held in the church log book: 

  • New electrical installation work - NICEIC Electrical installation certificate (EIC) 
  • Minor electrical works - NICEIC Minor works certificate (MEW) 
  • Periodical Inspection - NICEIC Periodic inspection report (PIR) 
  • Portable appliance testing - HSE log test sheet 
  • Emergency lighting testing - NICEIC BS5266 log test sheet (ELT) 
  • Lightning conductor testing - BS6651 log test sheet
Fire Extinguishers

The Fire Extinguisher Service contract for churches operated by Chubb Fire Limited - National Accounts Division Manchester, has been extended until July 2020. 

Any new premises wishing to participate in this agreement must apply through the below address, via post, telephone,  or email.  Contact details as follows:
Mrs Joanne White 
National Accounts Division
PO Box 16 Manchester
M24 4JY
Tel -  0161 654 2256
Email – joanne.white@chubb.co.uk
 
If the following details could be provided to enable them to add your premises to the Churches contract:

  • The full name and address with postcode for the invoice
  • The name and telephone number of the contact to arrange access to site
  • The name and address of the site that is to be serviced
  • The due month in which the service is required

On receipt of this correspondence they will arrange to visit your premises.  Subsequent to each annual service carried out, any recommendations for replacement or additional extinguishers will be forwarded to you for your approval.         

  • £6.25 each - Service Inspection of all portable fire extinguishers in accordance with BS5306 Part 3 including the provision of all parts, refilling at the time of service, discharge testing and recharging. 
  • £0.50p - Inspection of fire blankets (if carried out whilst on site servicing the extinguishers)     
  • £1.50  - Service Attendance Fee
  • £12.00  - Minimum invoice value per location for servicing   

The £6.25 inspection charge should be considered over a five year period to include the discharge tests and re-charges as per the British Standard recommendations. The above service price excludes Nu-Swift spare parts, refilling and extinguisher bodies.
 
Emergency Call Outs
£6.25 per extinguisher 
£5.00 Call Out Attendance Fee
£12.00 Minimum invoice charge
 
Supplying of Equipment
Supplied fit for purpose with a wall bracket and inclusive of delivery charges

Type of Extinguisher:        
6 litre Foam Extinguisher       £44.62
2 kg CO2 (Carbon Dioxide)   £56.04
1.2m x 1.2m Fire Blanket        £16.53
Every Extinguisher supplied is subject to initial inspection charge    £6.25
Fixing of the extinguisher to the wall, if requested    £2.76
 
When an extinguisher is removed from site, due to being surplus to requirement or being replaced with new one, there will be a charge of £3.00 per extinguisher to allow for the transportation & safe disposal of the contents due to environmental regulations.   
 
All prices quoted are nett and exclusive of VAT. Value Added Tax will be charged at the current standard rate.  This proposal is based on Chubb Fire & Security Ltd. standard terms and conditions a copy of which is available on request from their offices.
 
Churches should ensure that when dealing with Chubb they are on the National Account Contract as agreements with Chubb’s local offices can be more expensive. Further information on fire risks generally can be found on the Methodist Insurance webpages here: https://www.methodistinsurance.co.uk/risk-management/fire-safety-advice/index.aspx 
 

Gas - Inspection and Testing

Inspection and testing

Gas must be treated with respect.  It can escape and silently poison or even cause catastrophic explosions, so it must be carefully managed.  Meeting the legislation and standards for gas safety is not easy but duty holders must make sure they understand them.
 
The Law
 Gas safety legislation stems from the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Added to this act are specific regulations: Pipelines Safety Regulations 1996, Gas Safety (Management)
 
Regulations 1996, Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and five more.
 
Other legislation for gas includes: the Gas Acts 1986 and 1995, Gas Appliance (Safety) Regulations 1995 and Building Regulations and Building Standards (Scotland) Regulations.
 
Codes and standards

In addition to the above, there are ACOPs (Approved Codes of Practice) for gas that support the legislation, plus the relevant British Standards totalling 72, which cover flues, valves, meters and regulators, tubing and appliances.
 
Knowing, understanding and following these 72 separate standards is an onerous task, yet this is what is required for compliance. As it states in the Gas Safety Regulations 1998: the code has special legal status. If you are prosecuted for breach of health and safety law, and it is proved that you did not follow the relevant provisions of the code, you will need to show that you have complied with the law in some other way or a court will find you at fault.
 
Legislation

The essential phrase to consider is in Part F of Regulation 35:
 
It shall be the duty of every employer or self-employed person to ensure that any gas appliance, installation pipework or flue installed at any place of work under his control is maintained in a safe condition so as to prevent risk of injury to any person.
 
Regulation 4 qualifies that this means taking reasonable steps to ensure that the person undertaking the work is, or is employed by, a ‘class of persons’ approved by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). In other words the person undertaking the work must be registered with Gas Safe and qualified to the appropriate ACOPs for the specific job in hand.

In 2009, the Corgi gas registration scheme was replaced in the UK by the Gas Safe Register: the official body for gas safety in UK, Isle of Man and Guernsey, run by Capita Gas Registration and Ancillary Services.

 The sole focus of the register is on improving and maintaining gas safety to the highest standards. Gas Safe holds the only official list of 120,000 gas engineers legally able to perform gas work on boilers, hobs, ovens, fires and all other gas appliances. Anyone carrying out gas work must have a Gas Safe Register ID card. If not, they – and you – are breaking the law.
 
Compliance

The route to legislative compliance begins with risk assessment, as recommended by the HSE, to establish hazards and necessary precautions. That assessment should inform what is subsequently done in terms of a test regime and maintenance schedule. It should be conducted according to that assessment and in line with regulations and ACOPs.
 
For gas this means ANNUAL inspection and test of gas appliances, pipework and flues in every type of property, other than private domestic, but including manses which, for the purposes of the legislation, are deemed to be occupied by ‘tenants’ with the circuit as ‘landlord’.
 
Test and inspection is not often where compliance is completed; it’s where the process starts. For gas, that’s easier said than done because of the complex Corgi legacy: there are many, many ACOPs for gas and it is essential to establish that the engineer conducting the assessment is qualified for the specific item or situation.
 
For example, an engineer qualified to inspect domestic gas appliances may not be suitably qualified for commercial appliances, while an engineer qualified to assess one grade of pipework may not be qualified to assess other grades.  In fact, there is training and qualifications for every one of the 72 ACOPs.
 
It is extremely complicated and requires both awareness and diligence on the part of the duty holder. If an accident were to occur and the HSE to investigate, one of the first things they would scrutinise would be the specific qualifications of the gas engineer.  So it is advisable to check the engineer’s registration card before allowing access and verifying the details on the Gas Safe online register to establish that the individual’s specific qualifications match every aspect of your site’s specific requirement.
 
 Compliance on a budget
 
Get competitive, comparative quotes or tenders. Don’t be fooled by cut price testing where charges are loaded on remedial repairs. 
 
Use flexibility to your advantage; plan in advance and build all the timing and site access flexibility in that you can to claim competitive pricing. 
 
Negotiate a longer contract for testing that will span three, four or five years. You are sure to get preferential pricing. 
 
Link the buying of your gas safety requirements to electrical testing and other services to maximise your buying power. 
 
Source a supplier with multi-skilled engineers; it could mean less time on your site and hence reductions in cost to you. 
 
Useful sources
 
Official register of qualified gas engineers - www.gassaferegister.co.uk
 
 Health and Safety Executive  (a source of advice and legal information about health and safety in the workplace)  - www.hse.gov.uk
 
This guidance is intended to give an overview of some of the main pieces of legislation that cover many workplaces.
 
Further information can be obtained from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE); in particular: www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg285.pdf (for landlords’ (circuits’) duties) www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/cais23.pdf (for gas safety in catering and hospitality) www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/cais10.pdf (for ventilation of kitchens for catering)
 
You should also check any requirements in your insurance policy (Methodist Insurance produce several guidance notes (www.methodistinsurance.co.uk/resources).
 
 
 
** see also Guidance Note T8 for Electrical services: Inspection and Testing

Health and Safety during Construction

On 6th April 2015, the CDM 2007 was revoked and replaced by the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015).   CDM 2015 is subject to certain transitional arrangements, for construction projects that began before  6th April 2015 and continue beyond that date.  
 
Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015): Transitional arrangements CDM 2015 recognises that there will be construction projects that start before the Regulations come into force on 6 April 2015 and continue beyond that date.   For these projects, the following transitional arrangements apply. 
 
Where there is, or is expected to be, more than one contractor on a project:  where the construction phase has not yet started and the client has not yet appointed a CDM co-ordinator, the client must appoint a principal designer as soon as practicable  if the CDM co-ordinator has already been appointed and the construction phase has started, the client must appoint a principal designer to replace the CDM co-ordinator before 6 October 2015, unless the project comes to an end before then  in the period it takes to appoint the principal designer, the appointed CDM co-ordinator should comply with the duties contained in Schedule 4 of CDM 2015.  These reflect the duties placed on CDM co-ordinators under CDM 2007 rather than requiring CDM co-ordinators to act as principal designers, a role for which they may not be equipped
 
Other transitional arrangements are:  pre-construction information, construction phase plans or health and safety files provided under CDM 2007 are recognised as meeting the equivalent requirements in CDM 2015  any project notified under CDM 2007 is recognised as a notification under CDM 2015  a principal contractor appointed under CDM 2007 will be considered to be a principal contractor under CDM 2015
 
In all other circumstances, the requirements of CDM 2015 apply in full from  6 April 2015.
 
The CDM 2007 pages are therefore being retained until the end of the transitional period, 6th October 2015 and pages giving guidance on CDM 2015 will be published shortly.

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM 2007)
 Everyone controlling site work has health and safety responsibilities. Checking that working conditions are healthy and safe before work begins (and ensuring that the proposed work is not going to put others at risk) requires planning and organisation. This applies whatever the size of the site.
 
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM) can help you to:
 • improve health and safety in your industry 
 • have the right people for the right job at the right time to manage the risks on site, and 
 • focus on effective planning and manage the risk - not the paperwork. 
 
The regulations come under the overall legislation of the 1974 Health & Safety at Work Act.
 
Please also see our information sheets on risk assessment.
 
The Health & Safety Commission has published a useful Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) which is essential reading in order to understand the regulations (see references at end).
 
As always, the regulations need to be consulted for full details, but the main points to be considered are as follows:
 • The only construction work excluded from these regulations is ‘domestic work’. No construction work handled by Methodist Managing Trustees can be defined as ‘domestic work’. 
 • All construction work must have a package of Health & Safety (H&S) information (for the definition of ‘construction work’, see ACOP clause 13). 
 • Construction work, even when undertaken by volunteers, still comes within the regulations. Managing Trustees are responsible for ensuring that all volunteers have sufficient training and competence. 
 • Managing Trustees are responsible for checking the competence and responsibilities of designers and contractors etc. 
  All construction work lasting more than 30 working days, or involving more than 500 person days, must be notified to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE). 
 
A CDM coordinator must be appointed for all notifiable projects.

The CDM coordinator replaces the 1994 CDM regulations ‘planning supervisor’, and has very similar duties, including:
 
 providing the Managing Trustees with advice relating to H&S risk management 
 
 ensuring that all designers and contractors are competent 
 
 coordinating H&S information 
 
 notifying HSE where applicable, and 
 
 the preparation of the H&S file. 
 
The CDM coordinator should be appointed as early as possible in the project. Where this person has not been appointed, the Managing Trustees are legally the CDM coordinator.
 
All construction professionals should be familiar with the CDM regulations, and we recommend that you consult a suitable professional for advice whenever you are contemplating a building project. The designer (ie the architect or surveyor) also has considerable duties (see ACOP clause 109 to 145; the principal contractor’s duties are set out in Clauses 146-192).
 
The HSE has stressed that one of the main objectives of the revised regulations is that it is important to minimise paperwork and bureaucracy. One of the main complaints about the 1994 CDM regulations was that they produced a ‘paperchase’, including lengthy H&S documents, which were sometimes of little use.
 
We appreciate that the new regulations may be considered to impose some additional responsibility on Managing Trustees, but it is worth bearing in mind that these responsibilities are little different to those already applicable under the 1994 CDM regulations. The main difference is that what was implicit in the old regulations, is now made more explicit, particularly in the requirement to ensure that the professional advisors and building contractors are competent and suitably resourced. For instance, any proposed timescale for building work must be reasonable.
 
Managing Trustees who appoint anyone who they have not assessed to be competent are in breach of the regulations, and we therefore always recommend that a suitable professional is appointed to offer at least some advice, even if a ‘full service’ is not considered necessary.
 
However, the formal appointment of a CDM coordinator is only required for projects that have to be notified to the HSE (see above).

If Managing Trustees do not need to appoint a CDM coordinator, and also do not appoint a suitable professional (eg an architect or surveyor) to advise them as a ‘competent person’ as defined in the regulations, then the Managing Trustees themselves become the competent person, which may be inadvisable. In these circumstances, they should discuss the position with their insurance company to ensure they have adequate insurance cover.
 
Competence: a definition is given in the ACOP appendix 4.
 
Construction work is very widely defined, and includes repair and redecoration, site investigation and preparation, demolition, and work to services (see APOC clause 13).
 
The Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992 are complementary regulations which set out requirements covering, for instance, sanitary provision; eating, drinking, rest and changing facilities; and cleanliness of working spaces during construction activity (including when volunteers are involved).
 
References
 Managing Health & Safety in Construction: Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2007- Approved Code of Practice (L144), HSE Books 2007. books.hse.gov.uk/hse/public/home.jsf
 Technical Information leaflet T9 – Property Risk Assessment.
 Management of Health & Safety at Work - Approved Code of Practice & Guidance, HSE Books 2007
 The Essentials of Health & Safety at Work: HSE books (revised edition 2006) Health & Safety at Work etc Act, 1974.
 Management of Health & Safety at Work Act
1999 Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare)
Regulations 1992
 
Health & Safety Executive (HSE) publications: tel: 01787 881165, www.hse.gov.uk Health & Safety Executive (HSE) infoline: tel: 0845 345 0055
 
  

Joint Contract Tribunal (JCT) Contracts
Choosing the contractor

It is the responsibility of the architect acting for the Managing Trustees to ensure that contractors being considered for tendering are experienced, competent and suitable to carry out the proposed works.
Managing Trustees should note that parties to building contracts are now more litigiously minded – and that contractors, in the event of a disagreement, will look for loopholes in any documentation signed.
This has resulted in a great responsibility being placed on the architect in respect of the building contract.
It should be emphasised that litigation is not likely but when it does occur it can be very expensive.
 
The Support Services office advises that local and known contractors if considered suitable by the architect and Managing Trustees for the work to be undertaken should be placed on the tender list.
 
The architects should, as normal practice, make a status enquiry and take up references of potential contractors. The option of a performance bond should be considered with the architect to cover the event of a failure by the contractor to perform the contract. The architect could also advise at this point as to whether or not such a bond would be useful in the particular circumstances. The Support Services office advises that Managing Trustees should ask the architect to try to ascertain the claims record of contractors although it is appreciated that this may be difficult.
 
Managing Trustees should note there is a Code of Procedure for selective competitive tendering (issued by the National Joint Consultative Committee for Building) and this code anticipates that the lowest tender will normally be accepted. Managing Trustees should have a good reason for not accepting a tender from a contractor who has previously been accepted on to the tender list. Ultimately the decision as to with whom a contract should be made is one for the Managing Trustees.
 
It is imperative that Managing Trustees should choose architects and surveyors who carry full professional indemnity insurance.

 In all cases a reputable architect in the field of church building or refurbishment work must be selected. The engagement of an architect is a most important decision for the Managing Trustees.
 
The Support Services office points out that the insurance position of the architect to do the work should be clarified. It is possible for chartered architects to practise without insurance and insurance must also be in place at the date of any claim.
Pre-contract considerations

Prior to going to tender, the Support Services office recommends that:

 • the project has been logged onto the Consents website 
 • consultation (if required) has been held with the district officers and formal consent has been given. 

 The Managing Trustees’ architect can then proceed to obtain all necessary planning permissions and building regulations approvals, and to attend to any fire or health and safety matters required.
Any structural matters requiring attention should also be attended to. The Support Services office recommends that until the requisite documentation is available then no further works should be carried out until the architect is in a position to proceed and has all the relevant documentation required and in place.
 
The JCT form of contract

The use of the JCT forms of contract is encouraged by the Connexion and TMCP and those forms of contract are recommended.  Templates can be found on the JCT website - www.jctltd.co.uk.  
However, the clause which automatically refers any dispute to arbitration in that contract should be deleted.
 
Managing Trustees should be aware that arbitration is another form of legal proceedings and not an escape from a hearing. If the arbitration clause is excluded any litigation under the contract could go to a judge known as the Official Referee (that is a judge experienced in dealing with building disputes).
One of the difficulties that has been experienced with arbitration is that this usually has been brought by the builder against the Managing Trustees. Managing Trustees may feel that a claim should be made against one of their advisers and not themselves but they could not join that other party into the proceedings under the arbitration procedure. They are able to do so in normal court proceedings.
It is possible that if the claim is against a professional then that professional would inform the insurance company who insure their negligence claim
The insurance company may then effectively take over the running of the entire case. If such a circumstance should arise, Managing Trustees should note that the insurers act for the professional (eg the architect or surveyor) – not for the Managing Trustees.
 
As mentioned above in court proceedings it is possible to commission an allegedly negligent professional as a third party. If this development should occur then Managing Trustees need to be aware that such an adviser would become hostile to the Managing Trustees and their case. Managing Trustees need to be aware that in the event of litigation it is important to obtain relevant papers from professional advisers (eg architects etc) at an early stage.
 
The consent of the Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes and the Methodist Council is required before proceedings can be commenced, and, if they are being defended, for them to continue to be defended. Early contact with the TMCP in Manchester is advisable.
 
Scrutiny
 
Any claim by the contractors for works done under the JCT contract will be scrutinised by the quantity surveyor who will advise the architect as each claim is made.
The architect can be asked to report any areas in dispute between the parties when each claim is made so this could be used as an early warning procedure for the Managing Trustees. They may then consider bringing in any other necessary experts before difficulties escalate.
 
If a dispute should arise, TMCP in Manchester might be able to assist in suggesting methods of resolution. However, they will require sight of the reports which have been obtained from the contractor, architect and quantity surveyor.
 
TMCP repeats that in its experience Managing Trustees should not anticipate any major difficulties when entering into building contracts. The guidance set out above is an attempt, in the light of experience, to reduce the risk of potential conflict and ensure that any disputes are satisfactorily resolved even if, in the last resort, recourse has to be made to the courts.
 
Log Book

Templates for a log book can be downloaded here.  

Suggested list of items for inclusion in the logbook:  
 
Churches & Chapels:

  • Land Registry documentation (Original deeds to be retained as per SO 903 of CPD Care and Custody of Deeds).  TMCP can assist.   
  • Details of the Annual Return or web page on the consents site where this may be found 
  • Links addresses to Consents web site - https://online.methodist.org.uk/login/login
  • Link to Property pages on Methodist website - www.methodist.org.uk/property 
  • Quinquennial inspection reports 
  • Details of any building work carried out, eg:
    • original enquiry, 
    • architects/surveyors letters etc
    • quotations/tenders
    • invoices/certificates etc o planning/building regulations consents
    • consent under Sec 98 CPD (Listed Building Works), if required
    • practical completion certificate & final certificate 
  • Electrical inspection reports 
  • Maintenance agreements, eg:
    • annual roof maintenance/clearing of gutters
    • heating 
    • gas installation
    • fire alarms
    • fire extinguishers
    • lightning conductors 
  • Details of quinquennial inspector 
  • Plans of the church and other drawings 
  • Drainage layouts 
  • Photographs of building 
  • Risk assessments 
  • Fire risk assessment (as required by 2005 fire safety regs) 
  • Asbestos report (2nd copy may need to be kept elsewhere, as this may be required by fire brigade in event of fire) 
  • Disabled access reports (the ‘Access Audit’) 
  • Insurance documents 
  • Old insurance cover notes (which legally have to be kept for 40 years) 
  • Legal agreements (eg licences, party wall agreements, easements etc) 
  • Public Entertainment licences (or letter confirming one is not necessary)

Length of time for keeping records The Methodist Church publication Guidance of Best Practice in Retaining Records is available on the Methodist website - http://www.methodist.org.uk/for-ministers-and-office-holders/office-holders/archivists
 
Manses

Although there is legally no landlord/tenant relationship, manses should be treated as accommodation to be “rented” to the incumbent by the Circuit as “landlord” and some of the Landlord and Tenant Act requirements will apply. 

Members of the public have access (albeit by invitation) and Part M of the Building Regulations (access and use of buildings) will apply for any alteration and improvement work to the Ground Floor together with access drives and pathways. 

  • Land Registry documentation (Original deeds to be retained as per SO 903 of CPD Care and Custody of Deeds).  TMCP can assist with providing a copy.  
  • Details of the Annual Return or web page on the consents site where this may be found 
  • Trustees are recommended to ensure suitable provision for disabled access wherever possible 
  • Risk assessments are recommended good practice  
  • An asbestos and a legionella risk assessments are recommended 
  • An annual manse stewards’ report is required 
  • Other requirements as listed for churches – electrical, gas, fire etc

Property rented out

Trustees should be aware that there may be additional obligations, required by the Landlord and Tenant Act and other legislation.

Methodist Insurance

All documents link to and are hosted by Methodist Insurance unless otherwise indicated. Last checked and updated: Jun 2018

Methodist Insurance - General Information (Connexional Team PDF)

Methodist Insurance - About Us

 

Risk assessments

Church Risk Planner - How to look after your church throughout the year

Fire Risk Assessment Form (PDF)

Four Risk Assessment Stages for Methodist Churches

Risk Assessment in Manses

 

Inspections and security

Church Security (protection against vandalism; storage of valuable items)

Lead / Metal on Church buildings (metal theft; SmartWater)

Services Inspection and Testing (electrical equipment)

 

Health and Safety (see also the Health and Safety page)

Bad Weather Advice (keeping your church safe)

Church Health and Safety Guidance Notes (for asbestos, see the Technical Information page

Community work (event planning)

Fire Safety (prevention)

Health and Safety Tips and Advice (guidance and forms)

Party Wall Act

There have recently been a number of churches who have received formal notice (as adjoining owners) from their neighbours who were planning constructional work on or near the party wall to the church. Unsure of procedure, and having received this formal notification, they have passed the notice to either TMCP or the Property Team for attention.
 
Under the 1996 Party Wall Act, where a neighbour is intending to carry out work on, or adjacent to, a boundary, they are required to agree a ‘party wall award’ with you. You are entitled to appoint an architect or surveyor to represent your interests and their fees will be paid for by the neighbour (known under the Act as the ‘building owner’) so there will be no financial outlay for you.
 
We strongly recommend that you appoint an architect or surveyor to represent the Trustees’ interests – perhaps the professional who carries out your quinquennial inspections, as they will already be familiar with your building.  Recommendations for a surveyor can be found on the Surveyor's Panel.   
 
Under usual circumstances, the neighbour will have shared with the church members their intentions and, in the majority of cases, the church are content for their neighbours to implement the work.
 
Under the Act, however, this formal notice of intention to carry out the work has to be issued, ONE MONTH before the commencement of the work and should include a drawing showing the location and extent of the work.

If the Church Council, as Managing Trustees, is content for their neighbour’s work to proceed, it should sign the notice and return it WITHIN 14 DAYS.

If the Managing Trustees do not (and even if they agree to the work being undertaken), a dispute is deemed to have occurred. In this case, an independent party wall surveyor has to be appointed to resolve the ‘dispute’ (even if one has not occurred) and his costs will have to be met.
 
In summary, it is the Church Council as Managing Trustees who should action the matter. Obviously, if they are unhappy with the proposals, then contact with the District Property Secretary (details in the District Directory), or TMCP is suggested.
 
For further information, and some useful explanatory diagrams showing typical situations, please refer to the government’s website - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/party-wall-etc-act-1996-guidance

 

Photography

The guidance regarding church photography is on page 88 of the Safeguarding Policy:

https://www.methodist.org.uk/media/11827/methodist-church-safeguarding-policy-procedures-and-guidance-april-2019-word.pdf

Advice is also available from Organising Events Guidance Pack, which includes a consent form on page 17

A new permission form in relation to the photography and videoing of children and young people is currently in development.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

Professional advisors and professional indemnity insurance cover
 
When a building scheme is proposed, the normal recommendation to Church Councils from Support Services in Manchester is that independent professional advisors be appointed who have professional indemnity insurance (PII) cover. We also require the professional to provide the Church Council with a copy of their insurer’s certificate of PII cover.
 
There are substantial benefits for Managing Trustees in using a professional who has PII cover. Managing Trustees could, if so advised, be obliged to sue a professional advisor for negligence. In the absence of PII cover, the likelihood of the Managing Trustees being able to recover that money from the professional would be very remote indeed, and might even result in bankrupting the individual. This is why we advise Managing Trustees only to appoint professionals who carry PII so that in those cases where there is a claim, there are resources there to settle the claim.
 
We advise the appointment of independent professional advisors rather than professionals who are church or circuit members, ie ‘in-house’. The purpose of this is to ensure that there is a totally impartial professional relationship between the Managing Trustees and their professional advisors. There can be a strong temptation to accept the offer of services from in-house professionals who are either retired, or an employee of a large organisation but working privately and, in either case, without PII cover. The temptation is partly because of possible saving on fee costs, and partly because there is a potential embarrassment if the offer is declined. However, any potential embarrassment is nothing compared to the embarrassment which may take place in due course should, for any reason, the scheme go awry and the professional be in any way implicated.
 
 Our advice where there is an in-house professional is that they could best provide their services by acting on the church’s behalf in the church’s relationship with a properly appointed independent professional. Hopefully, this avoids the in-house professional feeling in any way snubbed, but also avoids the longer-term possibility of the church having to sue a member.
 
The question is sometimes raised of a Church Council buying PII cover for an inhouse professional. However, our understanding is that, under contract and under tort, the professional has legal liability for six years after practical completion of a project, and thereafter there is liability under tort for a period of up to fifteen years after practical completion so long as an action is brought within three years of the defect becoming known. This means that, for a church to be adequately covered under PII, their professional needs to have PII cover for at least fifteen years after practical completion of a scheme

Property Consents

GENERAL

The property consents site can be accessed via the Online Suite of Applications. It allows you to create and progress the following types of property projects (please note that you need to have managing trustee permissions to do so):

  • Repairs and alterations including extensions and demolitions
  • Lettings / sales / purchases / easements
  • Sharing Agreements

HELP & GUIDANCE / FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The Help & Guidance pages for the consents site have been revised and updated in March 2019 and can be accessed here: https://propertyconsent.methodist.org.uk/guide

The Guide consists of the following main sections:

  • Basic Principles, which explains how to use the site;
  • Roles & Responsibilities, which shows the differences between user levels and permissions;
  • User Profiles & Permissions, which enables new users to get started;
  • Project Types, which goes through each tab that needs to be completed depending on the project type (such as sale or purchase);
  • Creating Projects, which is especially useful for those who are new to the site;
  • Progressing Projects, which helps users to see how to reach the next stage of a project;
  • Funding & Payments, which lists the fund types and various funding sources, including replacement projects;
  • Reporting & Alerts, which clarifies when alerts are sent and how to create and print reports;
  • Properties, which deals with the property section of the consents site;
  • Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas, which refers to legal requirements and procedures.

The Frequently Asked Questions have also been updated and structured to match the main guidance and include queries such as how to add a project, why a sale or lease project requires a cost to be entered, why some funding sources do not appear on the Payments tab, or how to upload documents. A list of all FAQs can be accessed directly via: https://propertyconsent.methodist.org.uk/guide-faq

CONTACTS 

For any website-related queries, contact the Web Applications Team: consents@methodistchurch.org.uk

For District-related queries, contact your District Property Secretary or your local Consents Enabler.

More information on and for Consents Enablers can be found here.

Property Projects

If you are considering a bigger project, then please refer to the Starting a Property Project Page.  

Property Risk Assessments

General points
 
The law on this issue is complex, and what follows is our understanding, which may be subject to a different interpretation, particularly in the light of an individual situation or further case law. It is not authoritative and is given for information only. Managing Trustees are advised to engage their own professionals to ensure the law is being complied with.
 
The law is regularly being modified and enlarged - it is essential for Managing Trustees to update themselves on this topic.
 
A complementary package of information (including Health & Safety notes) and a useful checklist is available from Methodist Insurance, as part of their ‘Church Shield’ policy (Tel: 0161 833 9696).
 
Local authorities often produce guidance notes on this topic, and it may be worth contacting them to discuss the position.
 
The regulations apply to all church premises, including manses if they are visited by church members or the public.
 
Connexional information is largely based on the booklet Management of Health & Safety at Work (MHSW) –approved code of practice & guidance, published by HSE Books. This booklet gives both the regulations and guidance notes on how to comply with the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSW). Those wishing for more detailed information will need to buy the booklet from the Health & Safety Executive (Tel 01787 881165) - also available from many bookshops. MHSW also overlaps with other legislation, particularly those relating to fire precautions, and others such as the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations.
 
Fire Risk Assessments are dealt with in the Fire Risk assessment Guidance notes available on the Methodist website www.methodist.org.uk
 
Principles of risk assessment
 
The government has stated that the general principle behind risk assessment is that all users of the building should examine their work activities (whether paid or voluntary) to identify any risks to health and safety. Any distinctions between employer, employee, self-employed, or volunteer are to be disregarded, and it is also essential to consult with other groups that use the premises.

The MHSW regulations are not intended to be prescriptive - that is, they do not lay down detailed requirements; the intention is that everyone is expected to help himself/herself to identify and reduce risks, where reasonable, and to keep themselves up to date with relevant information.
 
Compliance with the MHSW is deemed to be sufficient to comply with the law, although alternative procedures are also acceptable. In the event of any prosecution, the Managing Trustees will need to show how they have complied with the law.
 
Strictly speaking, where there are fewer than five employees, the risk assessment does not have to be in writing, but our view is that it is always preferable for the assessment to be written down and recorded in the log book or relevant minute book.
 
Local authorities have the legal right to inspect church premises, and to require work to be carried out if considered necessary - this is why we suggest that a previously agreed, written and recorded risk assessment is so useful.
 
Responsibility cannot be passed on to a third party (eg by stating that a builder is to be entirely responsible for health and safely matters during building works).
 
If there is any doubt about who is responsible for health and safety matters, this must be clarified.
 
What is a ‘risk assessment’?
 
A risk assessment should be a “systematic general examination of the effect of their undertaking, their work activities and the condition of the premises” (MHSW, page 5, point 9) and should cover the following points:
 
 identify how risks arise - identify hazards 
 
 how they impact on those affected 
 
 how risks are managed so that decisions are made in an “informed, rational and structured manner”. 
 
A ‘hazard’ is something with the potential to cause harm; a ‘risk’ is the likelihood of potential harm from that hazard.
 
The assessment should be regularly reviewed to ensure that it is still current and covers any change in risk. It needs only to include what it is reasonably expected should be known, and is not expected to include unforeseeable risks. Managing Trustees should appoint a competent person to assist in preparing the risk assessment and other health and safety matters (regulation 7). A ‘competent person’ is someone who has sufficient training and experience or knowledge to undertake the necessary duties. Managing Trustees may wish to obtain further
 advice from their architect or surveyor who carries out their quinquennial inspections, or from their insurance company.
 
The regulations stress that the level of detail in a risk assessment should be proportionate to the risk; for many people using modern church premises, the level of risk should be low. The risk will rise where particular equipment is used, for instance in kitchens, or where electrical or heating equipment is handled. For older buildings, more specific risks may need to be identified, for instance, long flights of stairs, uneven surfaces etc. Particular care will need to be taken in connection with towers, ladders and access to roofs and similar possible hazards. Other aspects that may need particular attention are those involving young people, pregnant women and old people.
 
MHSW page 8, items 15 and 18 state: “There are no fixed rules about how a risk assessment should be carried out”. However, a risk assessment should:
 
 ensure significant risks are addressed 
 
 ensure all risks of the work activity are reviewed (including homeworkers and those visiting the public in their own homes) 
 
 take account of non-routine activities (eg maintenance and emergencies) 

be systematic and structured. 
 
Managing Trustees should also consider providing health and safety training for stewards and others, particularly in relation to fire drills and other emergencies. Occasional use of the premises by large groups may need particular 
 

Quinquinnial Inspection Report

Click here to view the guidance on Quinquennial Inspections.  

Scotland's Church Trust

www.scotlandschurchestrust.org.uk
 
Scotland’s Churches Trust aims to advance the preservation, promotion and understanding of Scotland’s rich architectural heritage represented in its churches and places of worship of all denominations. Its purposes are:

  • to advance heritage and religion by the preservation and upkeep of churches and other places of worship, including churchyards; 
  • to encourage churches and other places of worship to open to welcome visitors, tourists and pilgrims; 
  • to advance education and promote understanding of the public about the history, art, architecture and traditions of churches and other places of worship and their position as a focal point in the community; and 
  • to provide grants or donations to other charitable or religious individuals, bodies or organisations with aims analogous to the foregoing purposes or, more generally, with the common purpose of maintaining churches and other places of worship. 

The Trust has been formed as a Scottish Charitable Trust (SCIO number: SC043105) following the merger of Scotland’s Churches Scheme and the Scottish Churches Architectural Heritage Trust. It is based at 15 North Bank St, Edinburgh EH1 2LP.
 
Scotland possesses a surprising and delightful diversity of buildings designed for worship, deriving in part from its complicated and rich church history.
 
The Trust incorporates the former Scotland’s Churches Scheme which was established in 1994. In 2012, the Scheme merged with Scottish Architectural Heritage Trust which had been formed in 1978 to assist congregations in the preservation and upkeep of their buildings. The present
 
Scotland’s Churches Trust has more than 1300 churches in membership operating an ‘open doors’ policy.
 
These churches are spread across Scotland and across all the religious denominations. They contain a significant part of the nation’s heritage with the major proportion being ‘listed’ buildings, many being Category A.
 
Scotland’s Churches Trust successfully promotes access to the nation’s ecclesiastical heritage, with many of our buildings - large and small, urban and rural - in membership. The success to date, over a relatively short period, is hugely encouraging and has the potential of further raising awareness of our spiritual heritage and making it more accessible to a wider audience.

Maintain your Church
 
The Church Buildings Maintenance in Scotland project is designed to provide learning modules, toolkit modules and resources that will enable you to increase your knowledge of how to maintain your church.
 
The Maintenance Articles section on the Scotland’s Churches Trust website contains articles for study. The site also provides answers to problems generally experienced in maintaining a church and information about the architectural features found in Scottish churches.
 
There is further guidance in the downloadable materials, and you also have the opportunity to take part in discussion with other people involved in maintaining churches. In addition, you can jump-start your search by looking at the site’s FAQs. 

www.scotlandschurchestrust.org.uk 

Scotland: The Church Buildings Renewal Trust

www.cbrt.org.uk
 
The Church Buildings Renewal Trust (CBRT) is a registered charity and company limited by guarantee. It was set up in Glasgow “to promote, for the public benefit, the conservation of church buildings of architectural merit or historic interest which have ceased to be used for religious purposes”.
 
(CBRT Memorandum of Association (1994))
 
The Church Buildings Renewal Trust has been at the forefront of conserving Glasgow’s ecclesiastical heritage since 1994. In its role as an ‘influencing trust’ it has played a key part in advocating the renewal of all church buildings throughout Scotland to prevent redundancy regardless of denomination.
 
The CBRT is not funded by any organisation; its income is derived from funds raised through events and gifts. Trustees meet bi-monthly and voluntarily. The principal aim of the CBRT, as outlined in the Memorandum of Association (1994), is to promote the conservation of (Glasgow’s) ecclesiastical fabric and help identify solutions to bring redundant church buildings back into community life. The CBRT aims to stimulate discussion and publicise the issue of redundant churches; the focus is on bringing groups together to talk.
 
In this capacity, the CBRT has organised conferences and exhibitions in partnership with a number of other charitable trusts, coordinated Church Open Days and undertaken research into Glasgow’s churches in conjunction with the Mackintosh School of Architecture. The Trust advises on a range of issues, including effective maintenance and repair; appropriate adaptation and extension; and practicable alternative uses of redundant church buildings.
 
CBRT’s main aims
 
The main aims of the Church Buildings Renewal Trust are:

  • to promote, for the public benefit, the conservation of church buildings of architectural merit or historic interest which have ceased to be used for religious purposes 
  • to advance education and, in particular, to increase public knowledge and awareness of the architectural value of church buildings, the alternative uses to which such buildings may be put and the most effective means by which the maintenance, repair and/or adaptation of such buildings may be progressed.

Contact CBRT  info@cbrt.org.uk

The Church Buildings Renewal Trust 
c/o Saint Andrews in the Square
1 St Andrews Square 
Glasgow G1 5PP 
Tel: 0141 559 5902 
Fax: 0141 548 6029

 
General links
 
Building Conservation www.buildingconservation.com
Historic Religious Buildings Alliance: www.hrballiance.org.uk
The Historic Religious Buildings Alliance was set up in 2008 and brings together those working for a secure future for historic religious buildings. 
 
Useful links for Scottish churches
 
Scotland’s Churches Trust: www.scotlandschurchestrust.org.uk/ 
 
Scottish Church Heritage Research: www.scottishchurches.org.uk/ 
 
For advice on maintenance of churches: www.scotlandschurchestrust.org.uk/maintain-your-church  
For churches looking to do work with their buildings around climate change: www.ecocongregationscotland.org
Historic Scotland’s technical advice notes can also be very helpful:
Septic Tanks

Legislation & guidance
 
Many rural churches which are situated away from mains drainage and sewer pipelines have to rely on septic tanks for their disposal of waste water etc. There are strict guidelines regarding what types of septic tank systems or packaged treatment plants can be installed and where they can be located.
 
Up until April 2010 a consent to discharge was required by the Environment Agency but this has now been replaced by permit to discharge as part of the Environmental Permitting Programme, second edition (EPP2). Exemption forms are available for sewage treatment plants discharging 5 cubic metres per day or less into surface water (the equivalent of a population of 27) or for septic tanks and packaged treatment plants discharging 2 cubic metres per day or less into groundwater (the equivalent of a population of 11).
 
The requirement to register small domestic sewage discharges from septic tanks and small sewage treatment plants has changed in England, as a result of regulations made in 2010 by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Welsh Government, as part of the implementation of the European Union Water Framework Directive. Registration was considered to provide the lightest touch approach to meet legal obligations.
 
It is important that Church Councils are conversant with the Environment Agency’s Regulatory Position Statement 116 for details of registration and penalties for nonregistration. Registration was required by January 2012.
 
Specialist guidance on the specific requirements and location for the installation are recommended; every site and situation is different and a specialist contractor should visit the site before site specific recommendations are made. Site visits may also be required by the relevant agencies prior to permission being granted for certain installations.
 
General guidelines include:

  • Septic tanks should have a capacity below the level of the inlet of at least 2,700 litres (2.7 cubic metres) for up to 4 users. The size should be increased by 180 litres for each additional user. 
  • All sewage treatment plants now for sale must have been tested and hold the EN 12566-3 2005 certificate
    • Septic tanks should be sited at least seven metres from any buildings, and preferably down slope and downwind.
    • The soakaway must be a minimum of 10 metres from a watercourse,  15 metres from a building and 50 metres from a borehole or spring. 
    • Where they are to be emptied using a tanker, they should be sited within 15 metres of a vehicle access point and at such levels that they can be emptied and cleaned without hazard to the building occupants and without the contents being taken through a dwelling or place of work. 
    • The soakaway must be designed to BS6297: 2007 and all percolation test results must be submitted
    • Soakaway drains must be constructed in the aerobic soil layer, i.e. within 700 mm of ground level.
    • If the discharge is to a soakaway, a sampling chamber must be provided before the soakaway. 
    • Septic tanks may also be constructed in brickwork, concrete, or reinforced concrete, roofed with heavy concrete slabs. Brickwork should be of engineering bricks and be at least 220 mm thick. The mortar should be a mix of 1:3 cement:s and ratio. In-situ concrete should be at least 150 mm thick of C/25/P mix.
    • The inlet and outlet of a septic tank should be designed to prevent disturbance to the surface scum or settled sludge and should incorporate at least two chambers or compartments operating in series. Where the width of the tank does not exceed 1,200 mm the inlet should be via a dip pipe. 
    • To minimise turbulence, provision should be made to limit the flow rate of the incoming foul water. For steeply laid drains up to 150 mm the velocity may be limited by laying the last 12 m of the incoming drain at a gradient of 1 in 50 or flatter. 
    • The inlet and outlet pipes of a septic tank should be provided with access for sampling and inspection 
    • Septic tanks should be provided with access for emptying and cleaning. Access covers should be of durable quality having regard to the corrosive nature of the tank contents. The access should be lockable or otherwise engineered to prevent personnel entry.

It is recommended that Church Councils as Managing Trustees examine the building and drainage regulations and visit the Environment Agency website for further information:  www.gov.uk/permits-you-need-for-septic-tanks.
 
Also of use and with detailed explanation of the requirements are:
www.wte-ltd.co.uk/wastewater_legislation.html www.ukseptictanks.co.uk/septic-tank-regulations 

Standing Orders relating to Property

www.methodist.org.uk/for-ministers-and-office-holders/governance/cpd

CPD Part 9 details the various requirements for property and includes the following sections: 

Sec 90 Introductory and Interpretation 
Sec 91 Administration of Trusts
Sec 92 Use of Methodist premises
Sec 93 Projects
Sec 94 The Local Church
Sec 95  The Circuit
Sec 96 The District Sec
97 Connexional Priority Fund
Sec 98 Listed Building works
Sec 99 Property Development Committee.

For the DPS, Sec 96 is important and contain the following standing orders:

952 Quinquennial Reports 
960 Appropriate District Authority
961 Projects 
962 Development Plan 
963 Advance Funds 
964 Supervision of Circuit Meetings 
965 Manses 
966 District Property 

S.O. 932 Requirements

(1) Before giving consent under Standing Order 930 to any project the appropriate bodies must be satisfied that: (i) the church court which constitutes the managing trustees or is their parent body has adopted a mission policy statement with which the project accords; (ii) the plans take into account any guidance supplied by the Connexional Team or the district officers; (iii) the trustees will have sufficient funds at their disposal to meet the cost of the project as it proceeds and any loans will be repaid in accordance with Standing Order 933 or 934 (2), as the case may be.) 

(1A) Before considering any project requiring its consent and affecting a building on which there is or should be a current quinquennial report the appropriate district or connexional authority may, if it thinks fit, require such a report to be produced to it. For quinquennial reports see S.O. 934(3), 952 and 966(2). 

(2) In considering any project affecting the activities of a Local Church the appropriate bodies shall have regard to the role of the Local Church as a centre of worship and mission and shall make every effort to give effect to proper pastoral concerns. 

 

S.O. 934 Shared Projects

(1) Where a new building, alteration or extension is to be the subject of a sharing agreement under the Sharing of Church Buildings Act 1969 the decision of the appropriate connexional authority upon any application for consent shall have regard to the property regulations and practices of the other participating denominations. All such schemes require the consent of the appropriate connexional authority (S.O. 931). The ‘appropriate connexional authority’ is the Methodist Council or its delegates (S.O. 909). 

(2) In the case of such a shared project all reasonable measures shall be taken to complete it and clear all debt within five years of the date of consent. Any debt beyond that period shall be sanctioned only if proposals for its early liquidation are accepted by the other participating denominations and by the appropriate connexional authority. The ‘appropriate connexional authority’ is the Methodist Council or its delegates (S.O. 909). 

(3) Where, under such a shared project, the property is model trust property responsibility for quinquennial inspections shall fall upon the Circuit Meeting. Where the building is in joint ownership an arrangement shall be made by the joint council whereby the regulations of one of the participating denominations for quinquennial or comparable periodic inspections and reports are complied with and the reports are made to or shared with the Circuit Meeting. Where the property is held on the trusts of another participating denomination that denomination’s regulations shall be complied with and the report shared with the Circuit Meeting. For quinquennial inspections generally see S.O. 952. 

(4) In such shared projects, the Methodist Church Council shall be responsible for making annual returns of local property as required by Standing Order 941(iii) and (vii).

 

S.O. 935 Housing Associations

(ii) consider whether the money to be granted, the property to be disposed of, or any additional proceeds which might be obtained from some other disposition of such property, are likely to be required by the managing trustees for property purposes (and to that end the committee shall be provided with any quinquennial inspection reports, district manse inspection reports and other information which it may deem requisite);

 

S.O. 941 Particular Responsibilities

It shall be the responsibility of the Church Council to ensure that either the council itself or officers or committees appointed for that purpose: 

(i) obtain regular reports on the state of the local property and undertake renovations and repairs as necessary; 

(ii) after every quinquennial inspection consider the findings and recommendations of the inspectors and take any action required in consequence; 

(iii) prepare and consider the annual property schedules, both of accounts and investments and of the state of the property, and take any action required in consequence; 

(iv) consider such matters as the purchase, sale, extension or alteration of the property and take appropriate action; 

(v) appoint or employ a caretaker of the premises, if required, and supervise his or her work;

(vi) open and maintain a log book for retention of the annual schedules of property, quinquennial inspection reports and other relevant material, and periodically examine the log book and ensure that records are up to date; 

(vii) present an annual report on the local property to the Circuit Meeting and after every quinquennial inspection include in that report details of all action taken or to be taken by the Church Council to implement the recommendations of the inspectors. 

For quinquennial inspections see S.O. 952. As to (v), if the caretaker is employed see S.O. 018 and 438A. 

 

S.O. 952 Quinquennial Inspections  

(1) In relation to all local property the Circuit Meeting shall, subject to clause (4) below, arrange for an inspection, which shall include an inspection for timber decay, at least once every five years by professionally qualified persons, who shall report to the Church Council and the Circuit Meeting with recommendations as to any work required. The Circuit Meeting shall ensure that any further investigatory inspections shown to be necessary in the initial inspection report are carried out if the managing trustees have not acted. 

(2) In relation to all circuit property the Circuit Meeting shall, subject to clause (4) below, arrange for an inspection, which shall include an inspection for timber decay, at least once every five years by professionally qualified persons, who shall report to the Circuit Meeting, the circuit stewards and, in the case of manses, the district Manses Committee with recommendations as to any work required. The district Manses Committee shall ensure that any further investigatory inspections shown to be necessary in the initial inspection report are carried out if the managing trustees have not acted. 

(3) The Circuit Meeting shall ensure that every inspector engaged to carry out an inspection under this Standing Order is an architect or building surveyor or has some other appropriate professional qualification and is adequately covered by professional indemnity insurance against any liability arising out of the inspection or report. 

(4) Clauses (1) and (2) above shall not apply to Methodist premises which are no longer required for any purpose within heads (b) to (o) of paragraph 13 of the Model Trusts and are demised on a full repairing lease for a term of 10 years or more.

 

S.O. 953 Local Property

In relation to local property the Circuit Meeting shall also: 

(i) arrange for the annual local property schedules on the state of the property to be examined, especially in relation to work recommended by quinquennial inspections, and obtain a report on the general condition of each property in the Circuit; 

(ii) arrange for the annual local schedules of accounts and returns of investments to be examined and review the enquiries made of each Local Church, satisfying itself that the Church Council has officially accepted, as presented, the schedule relating to its own accounts; 

(iii) send to the district property secretaries such originals, copies or summaries of the above schedules as may be directed by the Connexional Team, together with a report on matters requiring special attention, especially where work recommended by the quinquennial inspections has not been undertaken. Access for registered persons to the relevant schedules is via the Property section of the Methodist Church website. 

 

S.O. 954 Circuit Property

In relation to circuit property the Circuit Meeting shall also ensure that either the meeting itself or officers or committees appointed for the purpose: 

(i) appoint visitors to visit and inspect each manse each year, except when the quinquennial inspection or the district Manses Committee visitation has taken place within the last twelve months, the duties of the visitors being to visit at a mutually agreed time, to consult with the occupants (including wife or husband, where appropriate) and to report to the meeting; 

(ii) consider the latest quinquennial inspection report and put in hand such work as needs to be done to the structure of any circuit property and such external painting as

requires attention and (as to manses) decide what internal decoration and refurnishing shall be carried out by the circuit stewards; 

(iii) receive the reports of the district Manses Committee and report back what action the Circuit has taken;

(iv) consider what is the state of the manses, take into account what the reports of the district Manses Committee and quinquennial inspectors recommend and decide what action should be taken; 

(v) prepare a budget of expenditure necessary for each dwelling to be brought up to and maintained at the connexional standard; 

(vi) review at intervals of not more than four years whether the buildings are in the right places, whether they are economic to maintain, whether a new dwelling or dwellings should be obtained and whether a proposed new dwelling or a former manse to be reinstated is suitable; 

(vii) obtain and consider a financial report at least annually; 

(viii) ensure that a record of all decisions and action taken under (ii) or (iii) above is sent to the Superintendent (who shall make it available to the minister or probationer occupying the accommodation), that a copy is sent to the senior circuit steward and that a further copy is preserved in the relevant log book; 

(ix) open and maintain for each circuit property a log book for retention of the annual schedules of property, quinquennial inspection reports, manse visitation reports and other relevant material.

 

S.O. 964 Supervision of Circuit Meetings

(1) The district property secretaries shall satisfy themselves that each Circuit Meeting has been fully notified as to the structural condition of all chapels and ancillary premises and that the quinquennial inspection of property required by Standing Order 952 has been duly carried out. 

(2) The annual property schedules from the Circuits shall be examined in preparation for the district secretaries’ report to the Synod. 

(3) Any case of serious financial deficiency or under-insurance or questions relating to trust investments revealed by the circuit schedules shall be reported to the Connexional Team. 

(4) The district property secretaries shall not only examine the annual property schedules but also enquire what other properties and funds are held for the benefit of any Circuit, Local Church, chapel, manse, school or other organisation or building in the District and shall investigate and where necessary make recommendations as to the oversight given to the investment and management of all such funds, whether or not reported in the annual property schedule. 

 

S.O. 966 District Property

(1) The district trustees for any district property or part or category of such property shall be the persons, being church members and members or eligible to be members of the Synod, annually appointed as such by the Synod. They shall report to the Synod through the district Policy Committee. As to this and the next clause see the definition of ‘district trustees’ in para. 1 of the Model Trusts (Book II, Part 2). Only persons of full age may be managing trustees of model trust property (s. 9(3) of the 1976 Act, Vol. 1, p. 13). In Great Britain as a whole persons of 18 years and over (16 years and over in Scotland) are of full age. 

(2) All district trustees shall, subject to clause (5) below, arrange for an inspection, which shall include an inspection for timber decay, at least once every five years of all district property by professionally qualified persons, who shall report on their inspection to the district trustees, the district property secretaries and Policy Committee and (in the case of manses) the district Manses Committee. The trustees shall ensure that every inspector engaged to carry out an inspection under this clause complies with the requirements set out in Standing Order 952 (3). The district Policy Committee shall ensure that any further investigatory inspections shown to be necessary in the initial inspection report are carried out. All district trustees shall arrange for a log book to be opened and maintained for each district property, in which shall be retained the annual schedules of property, quinquennial inspection reports, manse visitation reports and other relevant material. 

(3) All district trustees shall arrange for a log book to be opened and maintained for each district property, in which shall be retained the annual schedules of property, quinquennial inspection reports, manse visitation reports and other relevant material. 

(4) In relation to any District in which there is for the time being a Methodist International House or other international student hostel which is model trust property the purposes of such a hostel shall be district purposes of that District. Each M.I.H. held on the Model Trusts is therefore district property; see the definitions of ‘district property’ and ‘district purposes’ in para. 1 of the Model Trusts (Book II, Part 2), by virtue of which district manses are also district property. 

(5) Clause (2) above shall not apply to Methodist premises which are no longer required for any purpose within heads (b) to (o) of paragraph 13 of the Model Trusts and are demised on a full repairing lease for a term of 10 years or more.

  

Extracts from Parts 4 and 5 are included for reference. However, it is recommended that the full CPD should be checked after post-Conference publication to ensure relevant updates have been considered.

Part 4 – THE DISTRICTS
 
470 Responsibilities
The Synod shall appoint a secretary or secretaries for property for the matters specified in Standing Orders 472, 473 and 474 and in Section 96. See S.O. 961(2), 964, 966.
 
471 Advisory Panel
The Synod may appoint an advisory panel of persons qualified and experienced in property matters, estate management, town planning, administration or building design, to be consulted as desired.
 
472 Manses
The Synod shall appoint a district Manses Committee  See S.O. 965, 802, 803.
 
473 Archives
The Synod shall appoint a district archivist.
 
474 New Chapels
The district property secretaries shall call for and consider reports on the progress of the work and the state of the structure of those chapels within the District which have been opened … within the previous five years ….
 
475 Scotland 
The General Committee of the Relief and Extension Fund for Methodism in Scotland 
 
 
Part 5 – THE CIRCUITS
 
Section 53 The Circuit Stewards
 
530 Appointment
The Circuit Meeting shall annually appoint as circuit stewards two or more persons who are members in the Circuit or supernumeraries stationed there.
 
531 Responsibilities
The circuit stewards are responsible, with the Superintendent and the ministers and probationers appointed to the Circuit, for the spiritual and material well-being of the Circuit, and for upholding and acting upon the decisions of the Circuit Meeting. (See also SO 532 to 534, 540, 552 and 610). 

532 Circuit Fund
The Circuit stewards are the treasurers of the circuit fund.

 
533 Manses
The circuit stewards shall be responsible for the interior decoration, furnishing and energy efficiency of the manses.  For minimum furnishing requirements see S.O. 803(5).

As to energy efficiency see also the guidance in Book VII A, Parts 1 and 2. The Conference of 2010 directed that Circuits should endeavour to use model trust money to put in place these high standards of energy efficiency. It also directed that Circuits should endeavour to provide smart meter devices to enable ministers to control their electricity use.

Water Charges

Changes to charges in certain areas

Some churches will be aware that certain water and sewerage companies have introduced changes to the way in which they charge for their services and in particular the way in which surface water drainage charges are applied. As a consequence, some churches will have seen significant increases in their water charges – or indeed may have received a bill for the first time.

As this issue affects churches of all denominations the matter has been taken up ecumenically through the Churches Legislation Advisory Service (CLAS), the name of the new body that has replaced the Churches Main Committee.

OFWAT (the government’s independent regulatory body) has met representatives of CLAS and has explained that those water authorities that have introduced new charging arrangements have done so in response to their own recommendations. OFWAT considers this to be a fairer basis, which helps to redress an historic situation whereby some customers benefit from a subsidy, effectively at the expense of others.

England and Wales

By 2009, 4 out of the 10 water and sewerage companies in England and Wales had introduced charges to non-household customers for surface water drainage based upon site area, some on a phased basis, namely:

 Severn Trent - commenced 2000-01
Yorkshire Water - commenced 2001-02
Northumbrian Water - commenced 2006-07
United Utilities - commenced 2008-09

 It will be a matter for the other six water and sewerage companies to decide on when and whether to make similar changes to the way such charges are levied. It would be prudent to check on the current situation via the web links below.
 
Scotland

The situation in Scotland is different as Scottish Water is publicly owned and the Scottish Government have stated that churches and small charities would remain exempt from these charges until 2014.

Basis of water company charges

For clarification, water company bills normally comprise three separate elements:

  1.  Water supply charges will vary depending upon whether the supply is metered or not. 
  2. Foul water drainage charges usually follow those for water supply, whether this is based upon measured volume via a water meter, or for example on a rateable value of the premises. Separate arrangements are likely to apply where foul drainage from the premises is to a septic tank rather than the foul water sewer. 
  3. Surface water drainage – this is where the main changes to water companies’ tariffs based on site area have, or are likely to, impact upon church’s bills.

Site area-based charges

Under site area-based charging, there are likely to be two elements:

  1. To reflect the amount of rainwater which falls upon roofs and non-permeable surfaces and drains to the public surface water sewer. 
  2. Highway drainage which may, for example in United Utilities case, constitute 50% of the total surface water drainage charge. 

In relation to the former, water companies should agree to a rebate for premises which can demonstrate that rainwater within their site falls on permeable ground (eg gardens, graveyards, gravel car parking areas) and/or from roof areas into soakaways. 

It is quite likely that customers will need to apply to the water companies for such rebates setting out the basis for their case. 

General guidance for Managing Trustees

In view of the above the following guidance is offered for Managing Trustees if and when they receive bills from their water company which differ from those they are used to:

  • Carefully check all elements of the bill to establish if they are correct; 
  • Check whether the premises drain to the public sewer or to soakaways; 
  • Check whether the plans used by the water company to calculate the site area charge are accurate and have been applied in accordance with the water company’s information. Then identify any portion of the site which does not drain to the public sewer; 
  • If there are grounds for the calculations to be reviewed, the Managing Trustees should apply to the company for a rebate. It is not recommended that payment is witheld, but if the Managing Trustees are unsure about the accuracy of the bill they should write to state that they do not agree with the Company’s calculation and give notice of their possible intention to appeal. 

 Disputes
 
If the Managing Trustees have a dispute with the way their water company has assessed their site area in the first instance they should raise it direct with the Company. If they have contacted the company and are still not happy, or if they find them to be uncooperative, they should ask their local Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) Committee to investigate. It would also be prudent to copy TMCP in on any formal correspondence concerning disputes.
 
 The Churches Legislation Advisory Service (www.churcheslegislation.org.uk/home) is continuing in its endeavours to take matters up with the appropriate government minister. This information will be updated in the light of further developments.
 
Further information is available on the websites of:

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