Advice & Guidance

Setting a Budget

Six Steps to Budgeting for Maintenance

1. Look through your logbook or maintenance records and identify all the items that you have spent money on during the last ten years. 

Hopper headThis will include items such as cleaning gutters, servicing the boiler, testing the electrical systems, portable appliance testing, lightning conductor testing, repainting timberwork, rodding drains, replacing broken window glass, testing fire extinguishers, replacing light bulbs etc.

2. Draw up a chart or create a spreadsheet with all the maintenance items you have identified listed down the left hand side under the heading ‘tasks'.  Put each of the years i.e. 1999 to 2009 at the top of a separate column working across the sheet.

3. Using the information in your logbook or your accounts write the appropriate cost of each maintenance item under the year in which it occurred.  You might also wish to add items that are not carried out presently but ought to be tackled as part of a regular maintenance programme.  You could either estimate the cost or seek a quotation from a local company.

Money box4. Totalling the figures across the rows will give you the sum of how much you have spent on each item in the ten-year period.  If you then add up all the ten-yearly totals for all of your maintenance items this will give you an estimate of how much your maintenance costs will be in the next ten year period.

5. To estimate how much money you should set aside each year for maintenance, divide the total ten-yearly cost of all the maintenance items by ten. 

As there are always unforeseen events, you might want to add a contingency to this amount - 10% is usually a sensible figure.  The yearly amount plus the contingency is your maintenance budget for the year and should be ring-fenced for this purpose.

6. Don't forget about inflation!  It is good practice to review your chart or spreadsheet each year and increase all your figures by the current rate of inflation (somewhere in the region of 2% at present).  This means that the money set aside will increase a little each year and will hopefully still cover the necessary expenditure.

Porch lightMajor works

You can carry out a similar exercise for major works too.  Repair projects such as recovering the roof, overhauling the rainwater goods, rewiring, replacing the boiler, refitting the kitchen, redecoration etc. can be scheduled in the same way, though you may wish to consider a 50-year cycle for these items.  If you are not sure how often these major projects need to be tackled, you might ask your architect or building surveyor for help. 

They may also be able to give you an estimate of how much each job will cost so that you can put a sensible figure in your chart or spreadsheet. This will allow you to plan for major works and perhaps set an annual target for fundraising towards your fabric repair costs.

© SPAB 2010