Church maintenance checklist: the 7 mandatory steps
A church maintenance checklist is paramount to efficiently perform church maintenance. Find out what’s in it now
We have already mentioned the importance of building facilities management; but what happens when the building in question is a place of worship?
Do we know how to deal with this kind of maintenance? Are there specific church church facility management software allowing us to conserve the built heritage and manage costs and times well at the same time?
Let’s answer these questions together in this article.
What is church building maintenance?
Church building maintenance is, as suggested by the expression, the maintenance of religious buildings.
Instinctively, you might think that the maintenance of a church, or of a religious building more generally, limits to roof repairs, interventions to clean the facades or the recovery and reinforcement of the internal vaults.
However, religious buildings are running buildings and for this reason they continue to use equipment and systems for kitchens, bathrooms, heating, etc. All this requires management and maintenance, both ordinary and extraordinary, and this is what church building maintenance deals with.
As for the maintenance of other structures, there are three possible approaches to maintenance for the management of religious buildings:
- corrective: consists of taking action when the damage is already manifest;
- preventive: it consists of scheduled and periodic maintenance in order to prevent the occurrence of damage, breakage or malfunction;
- predictive: consists of monitoring the structure thanks to specific sensors or devices. On the basis of the data collected through these devices, it is verified whether it is necessary to intervene, at what times and in what manner.
The ultimate goal is to ensure that these precious and fascinating buildings are also functional and safe.
What does a church maintenance checklist contain?
In a a previous article we have seen what a building maintenance checklist is and how it is important to keep the building functional and safe. Clearly, a generic checklist is detailed and divided into different items based on the type of building being maintained. In the case of religious buildings, the checklist to keep the structure efficient throughout its life cycle should contain at least the following 7 points:
as with all buildings, including religious ones, keeping the roof in perfect condition is essential for the health of the entire structure. In the case of older churches and therefore historical heritage buildings, the roofs are often weak building elements, which have already stood still in time. Precisely for this reason, they require careful and timely maintenance in order to keep the entire building protected from infiltration and atmospheric agents. The situation must be assessed on a case-by-case basis, but broadly speaking it will be useful to check:
- elements of the stratigraphy;
- presence of accumulated debris;
- presence of animals or plants;
- corrosion of any metal elements;
- traces of humidity in the beams.
- Gutter and waterspout channels:
gutters and waterspout channels are part of the water loosening system and often you notice problems in their operation only when the damage has already occurred, often even seriously. For this reason, carrying out periodic checks with a given frequency is essential, also according to the period of the year. This will verify regularly that the gutters and the channels are not clogged for a perfect removal of rainwater.
when we are in the presence of churches belonging to the historical architectural heritage, walls are among the less renovated parts of the building. Therefore, they have much to say about the original construction techniques. They often show damage, injury and degradation, and they are also subjected, among other things, to the pushing action of the inner horizontal structures. Maintaining the integrity of these elements is absolutely a priority but the collaboration among various professional figures is often necessary – historians, experts in art history, structural engineers, architects. A multidisciplinary team will be able to maintain both the security and the historical identity of the building.
- Windows and doors:
Again, if we are dealing with historical churches, it is likely that the fixtures are the originals made of wood and decorated glass. This is why careful maintenance means preserving these small architectural treasures over time. It will be useful to check:
- the opening and closing system;
- the possible presence of condensation, infiltration and humidity;
- the wood condition and the possible presence of xylophages;
- the condition of the metal parts;
- the correct functioning of the fire doors.
- Equipment and systems:
Churches are functional buildings and for this reason they also use electrical, plumbing and HVAC equipment and systems. It is essential to perform regular maintenance of all parts of the systems, to keep them safe and functioning.
- External relevance:
Churches are often surrounded by land owned that is necessary to include in the list of points to check. Outdoor space maintenance includes:
- keeping pedestrian paths clean and safe;
- taking care of plants and trees;
- cutting branches that hinder paths;
- checking the correct waterflow;
- checking the conditions of statues;
- keeping any car parks safe.
To keep the church totally functional and safe, it will be useful to add to the checklist also mobile elements inside the church itself. Checking the condition of the benches, for example, and avoiding the presence of wood splinters, could be one of the checkpoints.
Why and how maintain church facilities?
Places of worship are buildings subject to large flows of people and an equally considerable degree of wear. For these reasons, it is very important that their management and maintenance is carried out as accurately as possible. Studying well the times in which to intervene and what parts of the building to monitor is essential. The aim is to maintain the originality, usability and safety of these buildings.
These are often large buildings but above all peculiar constructions, both from an architectural and construction point of view, not to mention the historical point of view. For these reasons, it is necessary that maintenance is managed through a precise maintenance plan that takes into account all the aspects that characterize these precious structures of the built heritage.
Addressing the management and maintenance of religious buildings, often belonging to the Heritage world is fascinating, but also ambitious. For this reason, I recommend relying on a church facility management software that will allow you to plan maintenance, track activities and manage any problems in a single platform.