St James' House has launched a user-friendly guide to help parishes maintain regular checks on their buildings. The building MOT Test offers an easy way for parishes to carry out those routine checks on roofs, walls, doors and windows inside and out. We spoke to Tom Beesley (pictured right), Buildings Adviser, on the importance of these regular checks.
Tom is concerned to make sure that parishes don’t rely on the Quinquennial inspections to keep our buildings in good order. But he recognises that many feel they don’t have the time or expertise to carry out this work. That’s where the MOT test comes in.
Tom said: “The MOT test is a simple document to help those who don’t feel they have the skills and expertise to carry out the checks needed to keep any church building in good condition”
explains Tom “while a number of parishes have members who have excellent building knowledge a number don’t know where to start. The MOT Checklist can help.”
Simple to use, the checklist gives a list of what to look for, where to look and what action to take if you find something wrong. Tom explains, “we wrote this so that anyone could use it – without technical knowledge. It’s about spotting any problems, seeing if there is anything that needs to be done and then keeping an eye on things so that a small problem doesn’t turn into a massive, expensive calamity”.
The MOT test doesn’t cover everything and can’t prevent the freak occurrence. What it does do is give every church a chance to properly assess the state of all the buildings they own and manage.
But Tom admits that checking the building is only one part of the solution. “Spotting what’s needed is one thing but doing something about it can present other challenges” he said “some churches are blessed with people who can do minor repairs very easily but others may struggle. I would urge people to work with their Quinquennial Architect to see what needs to be done. And I am always here to help”.
Across our diocese we own and manage a wide range of beautiful, historic buildings and we are very aware that this rich legacy can present many challenges. But every building needs care and attention. We want our buildings to be spaces for worship and places for mission. Spending an afternoon checking they are in good order can be a real benefit for you and your parish.
Contact Tom: firstname.lastname@example.org