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Here we give a short explanation of the key issues you need to consider to help to protect your church buildings and their contents.

What issues affect church property?

The top issues that can lead to damage at churches and advice on some of the things you can do to help protect your church are explained below.

  • Storm damage

     

    You can’t change the weather, but good building maintenance will help to minimise the damage storms can cause.


    Here are some things you can do:


    • Sign up for severe weather warnings at metoffice.gov.uk

    • Keep up-to-date with the latest weather news using local TV or radio stations

    • Maintain trees properly based on regular tree surveys by a suitably competent contractor

    • Secure doors and any loose objects to prevent problems in high winds.


    Find out more

  • Flood

     

    It’s impossible to flood-proof your church properties completely but there are some simple actions you can take to reduce the damage a flood may cause.


    You can find out if you’re at risk of flooding using an online postcode search on:


    • The Environment Agency (EA – England and Wales)

    • Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)

    • Put together a flood plan to make your church more resilient

    • Form barriers against flood water getting into your church or other properties e.g. sandbags.


    Find out more

  • Theft of metal

     

    While metal theft has declined since it peaked a few years ago, it remains a serious issue. To reduce the chance of metal theft happening at your church:


    • Contact your local Crime Reduction Officer to visit you and give advice

    • Ask neighbours to report any suspicious activity to the police.


    To help protect churches, we make it a condition of your theft of metal cover to apply SmartWater. Remember you need to:


    • Apply the forensic marker

    • Register your kit

    • Display your warning signage prominently.


    For churches with larger areas to protect, we recommend a roof alarm. Find out more

  • Fire

     

    Fire can happen for a number of reasons including faulty electrical wiring, heating systems and risks caused when repairs and restorations take place. Here are some precautions you can take to reduce the chance of a fire:


    • Always use candles safely

    • Check fire extinguishers are suitable and regularly serviced and ensure people are trained in its use

    • Make sure there are evacuation procedures in place.


    Every church must have a fire risk assessment. Find out more

  • Electrical wiring

     

    Numerous church fires can be attributed to faulty electric wiring or apparatus. A programme of regular inspection, testing and maintenance of the following electrical systems should be in place in order to prevent danger:


    • Wiring

    • Switchgear

    • Any fixed machinery

    • Portable electrical appliances.


    Electrical wiring needs to be inspected, tested and updated to ensure it is safe every five years.


    Only electrical contractors with full scope registration or membership to work on commercial installations with:


    • The National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC)

    • The Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) or

    • The National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers (NAPIT) should be employed.


    Portable appliance testing


    Any electrical equipment connected to the mains by a lead and a plug is a portable appliance. You should conduct regular examinations of portable appliances for signs such as:


    • Frayed wires

    • Scorch marks

    • Broken plugs.


    We suggest you engage a competent person to carry out inspection and testing annually, keeping records as you go. Find out more

  • Security

     

    Theft


    The following can to help minimise the risks of theft from your church:


    • Make sure you lock the church building when it is not in use

    • Remove valuables from sight when the church is open

    • Fit strong locks, intruder alarms and good external lighting

    • Security mark valuable items.


    Malicious damage


    Malicious damage is basically vandalism. Attacks are usually opportunist in nature and churches are particularly vulnerable whilst unoccupied. The following security measures should be introduced to reduce the opportunity for attack:


    • Maintain any existing perimeter walls and railings

    • Consider introducing security lighting

    • Ensure doors to church buildings are secured

    • Restrict vehicular access using gates or security bollards

    • Secure outbuildings which may contain valuable tools/equipment.


    If intruders manage to gain entry to the building, an effective intruder alarm system will raise an alert and help mitigate damage and theft losses from inside the church. Find out more

  • Lightning

     

    With up to one million volts of electricity in a single bolt, lightning has the power to destroy masonry, start fires and burn out electrical systems.


    Tall buildings, such as churches, can attract lightning and a well-maintained lightning conductor is a strong defence. This should be checked regularly by a lightning engineer.


    Find out more

  • Slips and trips

     

    Many accidents can be prevented by implementing the following:


    • Fixing down the edges of carpets, rugs and doormats or using an edge strip

    • Sweeping up leaves and removing snow and ice on footpaths

    • Displaying warning signs where appropriate.


    We have produced a handy checklist highlighting some of the most common hazards and suggesting measures to put in place which could reduce or eliminate the risk altogether. Find out more

What should I consider if we carry out contract works or repairs?

Where the PCC have agreed a contract making them responsible for insuring any loss or damage to the works or unfixed materials then we automatically include cover up to £150,000.

church singingIf any of the following apply please call us:

tick image Works are for over £150,000
tick image Church is closing during the works
tick image Scaffolding will be needed
tick image Hot works are involved e.g. welding

If you do need to call us make sure you have ready

tick image Date of the work
tick image Cost estimate
tick image Type of work
tick image Details of any contract

We may need to ask you to complete a Building Works Questionnaire.

Please contact us for guidance if you are having scaffolding erected as metal theft will not normally be covered unless you can meet certain conditions. Find out more .

Your responsibility for church property guide  
Ecclesiastical Insurance Group plc (EIG) Reg No 1718196. Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc (EIO) Reg No 24869. Ecclesiastical Life Ltd (ELL) Reg No 243111. Ecclesiastical Financial Advisory Services Ltd (EFAS) Reg No 2046087. Ecclesiastical Underwriting Management Ltd (EUML) Reg No 2368571. E.I.O. Trustees Ltd Reg No 941199. EdenTree Investment Management Ltd (EIM) Reg No 2519319. All companies are registered in England at Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester GL1 1JZ. EIO and ELL are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Firm Reference Number 113848 (EIO) and 110318 (ELL). EFAS and EIM are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Firm Reference Number 126123 (EFAS) and 527473 (EIM). EUML is an appointed representative of EIO who is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Firm Reference Number 402228.