Church Building Maintenance

We tend to think of old buildings as being timeless, but we have to accept the fact that they will decay.  All buildings start to decay as soon as they are complete and all buildings need to be looked after.  Lack of maintenance is one of the key reasons why old buildings deteriorate. A lot of problems with buildings are caused by nothing more than not keeping the weather out and allowing plants etc…. to take hold. Although old buildings can stand a fair degree of decay there comes a point where structural problems and collapse become an issue.

It is important to point out that maintenance is different to repair. Repair is work done to put right defects, significant decay or damage. Maintenance on the other hand, is work done to slow down that rate of decay by keeping the fabric of a building in good condition.

Maintenance is not particularly glamourous and it call fall down the list of priorities, but its importance cannot be overstated. Good maintenance reduces the need for larger, more costly repairs, it is the first step in making church buildings more energy efficient, contributes to making buildings feel more welcoming and often involves simple, inexpensive tasks that volunteers can carry out.

A comprehensive Guide to the Maintenance of Historic Church Buildings was produced as part of the 2019 – 2020 ‘A Stitch in Time’ project support by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. It can be downloaded via the link below.  Annual surveys and maintenance plans are explained in this guide, but for quick reference the links are also provided below. There is also an excellent series of short videos on church maintenance.  These have been created by the SPAB and can be viewed via the website on the page Maintenance Matters or direct on YouTube


A Guide to the Maintenance of Historic Church Buildings

SPAB Faith in Maintenance Calendar

SPAB Glossary

SPAB Baseline Survey

Maintenance Plan Template



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Page last updated: 12th May 2021 6:33 PM
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Ely Diocesan Board of Finance is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales with company number 142183, and a charity registered in England and Wales with Charity Number 245456. The registered address is: Diocesan Office, Bishop Woodford House, Barton Road, Ely, Cambridgeshire CB7 4DX. All rights reserved.