- Running Your Church
- Church Buildings
- Quinquennial Inspections
The Quinquennial Inspection Report is one of the key
documents which assist the PCC in the care and repair of a church building for
which it is legally responsible. It gives a snapshot of the repair needs of the
building, and lists the repairs required according to their priority.
The Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction and Care of Churches Measure 2018 requires each
Diocese to have a scheme for the inspection by suitably qualified and experienced professional advisers of the
parish churches in the diocese (and other buildings that have been consecrated
or are licensed for public worship).
Appointment of a Quinquennial Inspector
From 1st September 2020 the appointment of a Quinquennial Inspector is to be made by each PCC:
(1) in accordance with the CBC Guidance which can be found here
(2) having sought and taken heed of the DAC's advice as to the suitability or otherwise of the chosen Inspector for that particular church. Each proposed appointment will be discussed by the DAC at their next available Committee meeting and the Inspector will not be able to carry out a QI unless and until his/her appointment has been considered by the DAC and the DAC's advice been considered by the parish.
The appointment is always of an
individual, not a firm. The appointment is for one inspection and report in the first place, though the DAC takes the view that a long-term relationship with an Inspector who can monitor the building's condition over time is often beneficial.
It is important that a Quinquennial Inspector's training, accreditation (where
necessary) and experience in building conservation
is commensurate with the complexity and significance of the church building in
question, especially those listed Grade I or Grade II*
The DAC no longer maintains a list of "approved" Quinquennial Inspectors but does have a register of Inspectors who carry out
QIs in this diocese (see list below).
The fee for the inspection
is set each year by the DAC and is the same for
every church no matter its size, age or significance (with the exception of a few designated 'Major Churches'). The fee set for 2021 is £800 plus VAT. It is paid direct to the Inspector by the PCC and so it is wise to plan ahead by putting aside money
each year to cover it. The Inspector may charge reasonable travelling expenses for inspection visits.
Before the Inspection
The Inspector may need to see the inventory, log book, and
any other paperwork relevant to the building so make sure these are to hand. It
would also be sensible for the following tests to be done before the inspection
so the results can be included in the Inspector’s report:
• Electrics – should be tested every 5 years by an electrician
who is a member of an accredited certification scheme (such as NAPIT, NICEIC or ECA) and certified to full competence.
• Lightning conductor – should be tested by a suitable
• Arboricultural report – may be sensible if you have trees
in your churchyard.
It is the PCC's responsibility
to see that the Inspection is carried out. An Inspection now includes a first
visit by your Inspector, a written Quinquennial Inspection Report by him or her
and a subsequent visit to discuss the report with either the PCC or Fabric
1. First Visit – Inspection
You should arrange a convenient
day with your Inspector. He or she will need to be met on arrival, but will not
require to be escorted throughout the inspection. All keys need to be available
and a safe, light-weight ladder should be provided. Arrange for somebody to be
reasonably near at hand in case any assistance is necessary and in order to
take back the keys. The inspection will probably take several hours. The Inspector will need to inspect all
spaces including towers, vestries and boiler-houses. Bells should be down on the
day of inspection.
The survey carried out by your Inspector will include:
· maintenance of the building
· safety of the structure
2. The Report
The quinquennial system assumes that the Inspector will
access all parts of the building, internal and external, where it is reasonably
possible and sensible to do so. The report will state any limitations of the
survey, such as areas where it was not possible to gain access, and make
recommendations for any further investigation needed, including any specialist
reports. Copies will be sent to the incumbent, PCC secretary, Archdeacon and
When the report is received, it is important for the
incumbent, churchwardens and PCC to read the report and understand its
recommendations. It is designed to be a thorough and complete assessment of the
condition of the building and can therefore be a lengthy document. It is useful
for the PCC to walk round the building going through the recommendations. Each
part of the building is described and an assessment given of the repair needs.
Where action is needed, the report gives this on a scale from 1 to 5 according
to the urgency of the repair, and indicates routine items of maintenance and
those areas which require further investigation or observation:
1 - Urgent, requiring immediate attention
2 - Requires attention within 12 months
3 - Requires attention within the next 18 - 24 months
4 - Requires attention within the quinquennial period
5 - A desirable improvement with no timescale (as agreed with the PCC)
Items designated level 1 on the scale indicate urgent repair needs of the building or the
safety of its users. The Inspector is likely to mention these at the time of
the inspection and give guidance on how the problems can be addressed. The
report is not a specification of work, and most repair items will
require professional advice either from the Inspector, or an architect/surveyor/professional adviser of comparable experience (though it is usual and sensible to invite the Inspector who has carried out the
inspection also to supervise and specify the work that you subsequently decide
Any items of maintenance or minor repairs within the above timescales may fall under Schedule 1 of
the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2015 (as amended), i.e. under List A or B, and the Inspector must
indicate if he/she considers this to be the case. All other matters will require faculty permission.
Good quality photographs of items requiring attention will be included in the report and broad indicative costs for all such
works will be given, to enable the PCC to understand the level of funding which is likely to be
3. The Second Visit – Discussions
When you have digested the
Report it is your responsibility to arrange a meeting of the Inspector and the
PCC or Fabric committee within 3 months. The purpose of this visit is to assess
how the recommendations of the Report may be carried out and to try to organize
a timed programme of repairs and other works.
Once the PCC is able to put the works in hand it is normal
practice to instruct the Inspector, through a separate contract, to prepare a
specification and seek tenders from builders of suitable experience.
The implementation of all items within the report will
require a faculty, unless they are items included on List A (no consultation
required) or List B (matters that can be carried out with the Archdeacon’s
approval); the DAC Secretary will be able to advise on this. No work may commence until
proper authority has been given.
Using your Inspector
Parishes sometimes have an
understandable reluctance to incur professional fees. The following guidelines
about whether to invite your Inspector to be involved at any stage might be
1. Day to day maintenance such as clearing gutters, replacing
the odd roof tile, removing vegetation, minor glazing or leadwork repairs to
plain glazed windows and such-like do not normally require the supervision of
an Inspector, although there may be conditions attached to carrying them out
2. Any job which needs a
Specification of Repairs or Schedule of Works requires an Inspector or other professional adviser
3. If you are in any doubt, please discuss it with your Inspector informally
4. Any grant towards your repairs will be difficult to obtain unless
you involve a professional adviser
5. Quinquennial Inspectors should be selected for their familiarity with work
on historic buildings and their experience. It is unwise to assume that local
builders or contractors will be better informed than professional advisers.