Your responsibility when planning church building works

14 April 2022

An overview of what you need to consider when planning building works at your church. It is very important that you understand the insurance implications of building works and when you should contact Ecclesiastical.

Stonemason in hi-vis jacket, crouched down working on a church restoration

The difference between building and contract works

Building works relate to the actual work being carried out at your church whereas contract works relate to the insurance policy.

Cover for building works

Your policy provides automatic cover for contract works and site materials for contracts not exceeding £150,000 (including VAT and fees). If you have limited cover for your buildings this may not meet your contractual obligations. You should check your schedule for the extent of your cover and discuss this with your architect.

In all other circumstances we will need you to complete a building works questionnaire so we can quote for suitable insurance cover for you.

Regardless of the value of the building works or the contract type, if any of the following apply please get in touch:

  • Scaffolding will be required
  • Hot works are involved, for example welding
  • Work involves major alterations, repairs or additions to the premises
Call us on 0345 777 3322.

What is Faculty approval?

A Faculty is permission to carry out work on a church and is given by your local Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC).

Your DAC may ask for a letter from us to confirm that insurance is in place for the works.

Types of building works contracts

Non-formal contracts (exchange of letters)

Many small works are completed under an informal written agreement known as an exchange of letters which details the work in broad terms and the price to be paid.

We do not need to be told about an exchange of letters for minor contract works where the contractor is responsible for loss or damage to the contract works and site materials.

If the contractor is not responsible for the site and materials you will need to provide more information about the work to us on our Non-Formal Contract (exchange of letters) form.

Formal contracts

A formal contract will normally be a JCT contract which covers in detail the arrangements of a building project. Please be aware that the insurance obligations under the 2016 edition of the JCT Minor Works Contract differ from previous editions.

The type of building contract you have entered will determine whether the PCC is responsible for the insurance. If you are, we can provide you with a quote to cover the contract works by calling on 0345 777 3322.


Every year there are numerous fires on construction sites and in buildings undergoing refurbishment, many caused by 'hot works' such as, welding, grinding, the use of open flames or the application of heat.

When hot works are present certain procedures must be followed and we’ll need your contractor to complete a hot works permit.

We have specific requirements before we can provide cover and normally theft of external metal is not covered while scaffolding is erected.

However, in some circumstances, we may be able to provide cover subject to you being able to meet certain security conditions.

Ask your architect to complete our scaffolding checklist. Our theft of metal page has information on how to reduce the risk of metal theft at your church.

Often, for small works such as painting and decorating church volunteers may be helping.
As with any users of your premises you have a responsibility for ensuring that they are kept safe.
Take a look at our responsibility for people on church premises page for a summary of what you need to consider.

We do not consider a church undergoing building works as being unoccupied.

However, if there is a period of un-occupancy prior to commencement or following completion of the contract works, contact us on 0345 777 3322 as soon as possible as it may be necessary for us to amend your cover.

If the works are scheduled to overrun the original anticipated completion date, contact us in case we need to extend your cover on 0345 777 3322.

Depending on the revised anticipated completion date, an additional premium may be required.

Where the contract works include capital additions for example an extension, contact us to review your buildings sum insured.

In the case of church halls, your architect may be able to advise an appropriate adjustment to the buildings sum insured.