Advice & Guidance

Making a Plan

The best way to identify maintenance problems is to carry out an annual inspection of the fabric of your place of worship. This should help you to spot potential issues at an early stage and allow you to take action before any problems escalate. 

Blocked drainIt is also wise to check your building for damage after storms or severe weather as roof coverings and protective flashings may become dislodged.

In addition to inspecting your building on a regular basis it is a good idea to plan for the cyclical maintenance activities and minor running repairs that you expect to carry out on a regular basis. 


The following major items are likely to be necessary for most places of worship:

 Item  Frequency
 Cleaning gutters and downpipes etc.    6 monthly
 Building inspection  Annually
 Servicing the boiler  Annually
 Lightning protection system testing  Annually
 Fire extinguisher servicing  Annually
 Fire detection/alarm servicing  Annually
 Tuning the organ  Annually
 Servicing the clock
 Portable appliance testing  Varies
 Electrical testing  Every 5 years
 Inspection of high level areas  Every 5 - 10 years     

You may also wish to include other tasks that are undertaken by volunteers such as grounds maintenance, oiling locks and hinges; spring cleaning; bird-proofing the tower; removing plant growth from the base of the walls; repainting timber or metalwork etc.

Setting out your maintenance plan is a matter of personal choice as you can document it in a number ways depending on what works best for you.  The key point is to find a system that is simple to use but still includes all the necessary information.

Slipped slateSome volunteers use a spreadsheet (example). This may take time to set up but can also be used as a permanent record of what has been done and is easy to update.  Others prefer to use a calendar or a wall planner which can be kept in the church office. This can work quite well as it can be a highly visible reminder. You might also like to refer to the Faith in Maintenance calendar or the Calendar of Care produced by the Church of England.

Further information

Guidance on setting up a maintenance plan is available from a number of organisations.  Some of the most useful sources of advice are set out below but don't forget that you can also ask your professional adviser for assistance.

Lastly, you might find it helpful to think about setting an annual budget for maintenance tasks at the same time as writing your maintenance plan.

© SPAB 2010