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Church Building Maintenance Checklist
Regular checks of various parts of the building and prompt maintenance can pay dividends in preventing potentially more serious and costly repairs. The following checklist is not intended to be definitive or fully comprehensive, but is intended to be a simple, easy to follow maintenance guide.
- Check roof slopes and coverings, for example tiles and slates, for slipped, cracked or badly damaged items, especially after severe weather conditions.
- Ensure cement pointing at roof edges is kept in good condition.
- Remove lichen and other moss growth from tiles/slates. Care is required, as old clay tiles can be damaged by shaling.
- Flat roofs, normally covered in felt or metal, are prone to defects. Felt in particular has a limited life. Check for cracks, splits and distortions. Wherever possible, avoid walking or standing ladders on flat roofs, as the covering can be easily damaged.
- Make sure that the chippings on flat roofs remain evenly spread. Clear away any heavy moss or lichen growth, as this can retain moisture.
- Check flashings and valley gutters or hidden gutters for blockages and leaks. Valley gutters are particularly prone to defects and should be cleaned out at regular intervals.
- Gutters often become blocked with leaves, weeds or debris and should be cleaned out on a regular basis. Replace or repair any missing or defective sections immediately in order to protect the property.
- Keep chimney pots and cowls in good order and ensure that the brickwork cement joints are in good condition.
Loft / Tower
- Check for bird ingress and wasp nests. In very rare cases where bats are found, remember that they are a protected species. Obtain specialist advice.
- Check condition of water storage tanks and pipework and ensure they are properly covered and lagged.
- Dampness can penetrate through defective mortar or hairline cracks in the rendering. Although very fine surface cracks may appear insignificant, it is always sensible to fill them to be on the safe side.
- Ensure that the cement mortar around the waste pipes is in good condition.
- Use a pliable waterproof mastic sealant to close up any gaps around the window or door frames.
- Never bridge a damp course by building up external paving levels or garden borders. A sensible guide is to keep external levels at two brick courses below damp course level, or inside floor level.
- Never render walls down to external ground level as this is likely to bridge any damp-proof course. Always finish the rendering in a properly formed bell cast.
- Water may get behind poor rendering which could lead to dampness. Any cracked or loose areas or rendering should be repaired or replaced.
- Remove ivy or other climbing plants in particular from walls and gutters. Such plants can damage stone/brickwork and retain moisture in the wall.
- Do not allow any sub-ground floor air bricks to become blocked. Failure to do so will prevent adequate air flow and could lead to decay.
- Check water downpipes for splits or leaky joints and treat any rust found on metal pipes and fixings. Fix any loose or missing brackets.
- Paint/re-stain fascia, soffits, window frames, doors and other joinery at regular intervals.
- Periodically check window and door frames and repair any timbers affected by wet rot. Regular painting will help avoid the timber becoming rot affected.
- Replace broken or damaged sash cords or window latches.
- Renew cracked or broken panes of glass and replace missing or loose putties before redecoration. Treat rusting window guards, which are unsightly and can damage surrounding stone or brickwork, and repair or replace damaged guards, which will be ineffective.
- Check all flooring and repair or replace rotten, split or damaged boards, tiles or floor coverings. Check for trip hazards, such as mats, frayed carpets or lifting sheet flooring.
Electrics, Heating and Plumbing
- The electrical installation should be checked by a qualified NICEIC electrician at least every five years as the system can deteriorate with age and regulations are being constantly updated.
- Take qualified advice before making any alteration to the electrical wiring system.
- Locate external and internal stop clocks in the event of an emergency.
- Check the plumbing pipework and waste pipes for joint leaks and from time to time clean out the bath, sink and wash basin taps. Reseal joints around shower bases and other appliances.
- Clean through overflow pipes from water tanks or cisterns.
- Arrange for central heating boilers, water heaters and heating appliances to be regularly serviced to maximise efficiency. For gas appliances: must be a Gas Safe registered contractor.
- Check for blocked soakaways or gulleys, lifting manhole covers where necessary. Blockages in a drainage system may be cleared by rodding or pressure hosing. Replace any missing or damaged grates.
- All fire extinguishers should be tested annually by a specialist contractor.
- All smoke detectors should be tested at least twice annually.
- All portable appliances should be tested annually by a qualified tester.
In the garden
- Shrubs and trees can be damaging to the fabric of the property and so their growth needs to be restricted. Keep soil, trees and shrubs away from outside walls wherever possible.
- Cut back any wall climbing plants as they can damage walls and can encourage damp penetration.
- Sheds and fences should be treated with timber preservative every three to four years.
- Check for damaged or uneven paths and walkways. Cracked or lifting paving stones can easily become a trip hazard. Remove weeds from paths and regularly trim back vegetation from alongside all walkways.
- The thermal efficiency of your property can often be improved at a relatively modest cost. These measures can often result in an improved internal environment, reduced carbon dioxide emissions and lower fuel bills. Such measure include:
- Draught exclusion to windows and external doors.
- Proper insulation of hot water cylinders and lagging of water pipes.
- Check the loft insulation is thick enough, but make sure that gaps are left at the eaves to allow sufficient ventilation at the roof space and remove from below water storage tanks.
- Ensure the heating controls are effective, e.g. consider the use of automatic time clock controls, thermostatic radiator valves, thermostatic cylinder controls, etc.
- Double or secondary glazing of windows. Under latest Building Regulations (April 2002), replacement windows (domestic and commercial) are controlled either by the local authority Building Regulation Department, or under the FENSA scheme as a Replacement Window Registered Member