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.


Legal framework

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

https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2020-07/Quinquennial_Inspection_CBC_guidance_2020%2C%20v2.pdf

and

(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).


Inspection fee

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 specialist.

• Arboricultural report – may be sensible if you have trees in your churchyard.


The Inspection

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 Committee.

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

· repairs needed

· safety of the structure

· access

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 DAC Secretary.

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 to do).

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 necessary.

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.

Repairs

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 helpful:

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.