Church Care and Maintenance

Accessibility
It is important that churches, church halls and churchyards are as accessible as possible for people with disabilities. This could be the provision of things like ramps, handrails and toilets for people with physical disabilities, but should also include provision for those with hearing & visual impairments or learning disabilities. It is therefore recommended that parishes undertake an accessibility appraisal or audit to ensure their buildings are as inclusive as possible. The following guides provide information on this subject:
An Access Appraisal of Church Buildings (adapted from Diocese of Chichester)
Getting to Grips with Disability (Diocese of Chichester)
Accessibility & Disabled People (Church of England)

Asbestos
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has extensive information on managing and working with asbestos. Two short guides from the Church in Wales (CiW) and the HSE are available below, as is a link to the HSE Asbestos website:
CiW Guidance on the Management of Asbestos
HSE Managing Asbestos in Buildings: A Brief Guide
Click here to go to the HSE Asbestos Health & Safety Website

Bats
Bats are a protected species and it is illegal to kill them or disturb their roosts. If you need advice about bats, contact Natural Resources Wales on 0300 065 3000 or visit their website (see link below). Further guidance can be found in the Natural England guide Managing Bats in Churches.
Managing Bats in Churches
Natural Resources Wales – Bat Guidance

Cleaning
Cleaning the interior of a place of worship is just as important as looking after its external fabric. Most “off the shelf” cleaning products are not suitable for use on internal fixtures and fittings. The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) has produced a short guide on cleaning tips for the most common materials found in places of worship.The Church of England also has some comprehensive advice on caring for historic furnishings and artwork on it’s ChurchCare website.
SPAB Cleaning Tips
ChurchCare Caring for Your Treasures

Electrics
Every electrical installation (wiring, sockets, light switches, etc), whether in a church, hall or domestic dwelling, deteriorates with use and over time. It is therefore important to get it inspected on a regular basis to ensure that users are not put at risk. This should be done every 5 years in a place of worship and be carried out by a suitably qualified person. Visit the Electrical Safety First (ESF) website for more information:
Periodic Electrical Inspections

It is also important to ensure that all portable electrical appliances in your place of worship are in good condition to protect the people who use them. It is recommended that these items (eg. fan heaters, kettles, etc) are tested on a regular basis. Click on the following link to view the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) guidance on this subject:
HSE Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)

Fire Safety
The Ecclesiastical Insurance Group (EIG) has a range of information on fire in churches on its website. Click on the following link to go to the fire guidance:
EIG Fire in Churches Guidance

Health & Safety
The Ecclesiastical Insurance Group (EIG) has a range of information on church health & safety on its website. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) also produce a wide variety of guides. Click on the links below to go to the websites:
EIG Church Health & Safety
HSE Home Page

Insurance
All Church in Wales churches are covered by the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group (EIG) Parishguard policy. In order to encourage PCCs to look after their places of worship and thus minimise insurance claims and keep premiums as low as possible, EIG produce a comprehensive range of information which is available on their website.
Click here to go to the EIG Insurance website

Ladders, Stepladders and Working at Height
Contrary to popular belief, ladders can still be used for working at height providing this is done in an appropriate and safe way. It is also important that you select the right type of ladder or stepladder for the job and conduct a risk assessment before you start any work. In some cases the use of a ladder or step ladder may not be possible and you will need to consider using another piece of equipment, such as a access platform or cherry picker. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group (EIG) have produced a range of advice on working at height which can be accessed by clicking on the links below:
HSE Guide: Safe Use of Ladders & Stepladders
HSE: Working at Height
EIG: Working at Height

Lightning Protection for Churches
The Ecclesiastical Insurance Group (EIG) has produced a guide to lightning protection for churches which can be downloaded below. There is also more comprehensive information available on their website.
Lightning Protection for Churches
Click here to go to the EIG Insurance website

Risk Management & Assessment
It is good practice to assess and control any risks to people using your place of worship or to those who are involved in its maintenance and upkeep. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) have produced a wide range of guidance on this subject. Click on the link below to go to their website:
HSE Risk Management Website

Routine Maintenance
Carrying out routine maintenance tasks on a regular basis helps to avoid costly repair bills in the future. It is therefore important that you follow a routine maintenance plan to ensure the continuing survival of your place of worship. The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) Faith in Maintenance (FiM) website has some useful information on this topic, including a handy maintenance checklist and calendar.
FiM Managing Maintenance Guidance
FiM Maintenance Checklist
FiM Calendar

VAT
The VAT reclaimable on repairs, maintenance and alterations to listed places of worship has changed several times since the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme (LPWGS) was introduced. At the moment 100% of VAT can be claimed back for these works, although there are many exceptions.Comprehensive information is available from the LPWGS website.
Click here to go to the website