The biggest problem with buildings is water damage. This can be from rain, rising damp or burst pipes. To prevent unnecessary damage to your church building, we recommend that you carry out regular inspections, some of these being monthly and others on an annual basis. A good time to carry out the annual inspection is the start of autumn and we would recommend that you look at the following:
Roofs – Checking for slipped, broken and missing tiles or slates, cracks in sheeting, ponding (where water is lying on a flat roof), blocked outlets and missing/damaged flashing. It is also worth checking the roof verges that they are well pointed, to stop water and wind getting in, and also that the ridge tiles on a roof are well pointed/bedded.
Gutters and downpipes – Not only checking that these are in place, but also that there are no gaps in the guttering, sagging or twisted gutters, cracks in the downpipes and blockages in hoppers and gulleys. Water overflowing from gutters and downpipes can quickly cause major damage to the structure of the property.
Walls – Checking for any signs of damp, for soil or other materials building up and bridging the damp-proof course around the outside of the building, for poor pointing on walls that will allow water to soak into the wall and that the seals around the windows and doors are stopping water from getting in.
Paths – Where there has been a build up of moss and other vegetation, paths can become slippery and need to be cleared and scrubbed regularly.
Pipework – Having boilers serviced annually, visually checking the pipes for central heating systems, to ensure that they are not corroding or leaking, and checking basins and WCs that they are also not overflowing or leaking, will cut down the risk of water damage internally. Making sure that any exposed pipes in walls or roof spaces are properly insulated will also reduce the risk of frost damage and burst pipes over the winter.
Baptistry – It is worth lifting the cover to your baptistry to check that there are no leaks which are allowing water to come into the baptistry and create a damp environment.
With the drought conditions experienced recently, it is difficult to imagine lots of rain and other water problems, but it is worth preparing for the winter ahead. More details on all of the above points and recommendations on how to look after your church building can be found in our briefing paper on that subject. This also includes checklists on items to review monthly and annually. To find the briefing paper click here.