Advice & Guidance

Annual Inspections

Maintenance is most effective when it is carried out in a timely and methodical manner. You should try to develop the habit of looking critically at your building as often as you can and at the very least, you should aim to inspect all of the essential areas once during the year. In addition, it is always worthwhile carrying out an inspection of vulnerable areas before the winter weather starts and also after heavy rain, wind or snow. Look closely for damage to roof coverings and metal flashings as problems in these areas may provide a route for water penetration into the building. If possible, inspect accessible roof voids for any sign of water ingress after heavy rain too.

The best time to carry out an inspection is during or immediately after heavy rainfall, as this will allow you to see clearly if the rainwater goods are functioning properly. Remember to think about your own safety and the safety of others whilst you are working. You should also make sure that you have the correct equipment. It is generally sensible to wear old clothes and stout footwear. You may also find the following items helpful:

  • A pair of binoculars to help you see problems at high level.
  • A pocket mirror to help you look behind downpipes.
  • A flashlight for looking into voids and to illuminate the underside of ceilings or eaves.
  • A digital camera to allow you to make a photographic record of the building's condition.
  • A screwdriver to probe gently into timber to check its condition. If the timber is very soft, it is possible that decay might be present.

When you carry out an inspection, it is best to begin outside. Many people find it easiest to inspect each elevation in turn, starting by looking up at the roof and working downwards. You can use your binoculars to examine any areas at high level if you cannot otherwise gain access to them safely.

Next, you can turn your attention to the inside. Begin your inspection at the top of the building and work down through each level, finishing in the basement or crypt if you have one. Don't forget to check out of the way places such as cupboards and under stairs. If there are parts of the building that are inaccessible or areas that you do not feel competent to assess yourself you might consider enlisting professional help.

Remember to use a checklist to make sure that you don't miss out any areas and record your observations as you go along so that you can place a copy of your report in your building logbook later. Although the size and complexity of your own building will dictate the length and content of your checklist you might like to use the Faith in Maintenance Checklist as a guide.

The Faith in Maintenance Checklist has been divided into things to look for (check points) and things to do (action points). Small jobs such as removing leaves from gutters can often be tackled quite easily, if access is safe, but other items may need to be referred to your architect or surveyor for further advice and guidance.

You might find that some of the items on our checklist are not relevant to your place of worship or alternatively you might find that there are special features of your own building that you would like to include. Please feel free to adapt our checklist to suit your own requirements.

Once you have completed your inspection you may wish to contact your architect or surveyor for advice if there are matters of concern. Your professional advisor will be able to help you draw up a plan to tackle any problems that have arisen.

© SPAB 2008