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Quinquennial Inspection Reports

Information about quinquennial inspections and choosing an inspector. 


Under the provisions of the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction and Care of Churches Measure 2018 all parish churches in the Diocese, all other consecrated churches and chapels including licensed places of worship opted in under the Care of Places of Worship Measure 1999, and buildings licensed for public worship, must be inspected at least once in any five-year period.

The Archdeacon can use the powers conferred by Sections 47 and 48 of the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction and Care of Churches Measure 2018 to arrange for an inspection where one has not been carried out and for the inspection to cover extra matters of interest beyond the fabric if necessary.

At the start of the year the Diocese sends a reminder to inspectors about their inspections due that year. However, if you don’t hear from your inspector within a couple of months of the due date you should make contact with them to book the inspection in. Ultimately, responsibility for arranging a QI rests with the parish.

The Diocese of Norwich does not have a list of ‘approved’ inspectors. However, the DAC is legally required to keep a list of the inspectors.  For a copy of this list please contact Eliza Greenwell. 
For many years only architects and building surveyors were eligible to undertake QIs but that has recently changed and the requirement is now for the inspector to be an ‘appropriately qualified professional’. In practice this means that people in roles such as Architectural Technologists or Structural Engineers may undertake the inspection. It is important that a quinquennial inspector’s training, accreditation and experience in building conservation is suitable for the complexity and significance of the church building(s) in question. Further information can be found here. If the individual is not on the list mentioned above, the PCC must seek the advice of the DAC as to their suitability.

All quinquennial inspectors must hold appropriate Professional Indemnity Insurance cover and should provide written evidence of this to the PCC when the appointment is made.

The appointment of Quinquennial Inspector is a personal appointment, even if made through their employing firm. As such, only the appointed inspector may undertake the inspection and produce the subsequent report.

The PCC is free to change its inspector. It will need to inform the current inspector that their services are no longer required and also inform Eliza Greenwell so that the Diocesan records can be updated.

The Diocese of Norwich Board of Finance pays for the inspection.

Before the inspection, it is useful for the PCC to have thought about the following:
  • Provide the Inspector with a copy of the previous quinquennial report as well as copies of all recent specialist reports, including: – a Statement of Significance and/or Conservation Management Plan if such exist. – the relevant pages of the Church Logbook and Inventory updated with any works carried out in the quinquennium. – all recent written test/survey reports on asbestos, heating and electrical installations, stormwater and foul drainage, fire protection and lightning systems. – any arboricultural and ecological reports (e.g., bats or other protected or rare species). – Access audit, if one has been carried out. – Energy Audit, Eco Church Survey, or other environmental report, if applicable.
  • Agree any special access arrangements, including suitably secured and protected ladders for inspecting safely accessible roofs.
  • If the right ladders are not available on site, a builder should be asked to provide them for the inspection day. Provide whatever help the inspector will need with the ladders and ensure these are correctly secured. Use of ladders should follow current safety guidelines.
  • Where the inspection is to be carried out by one Inspector, it is essential for a second person to be available on site throughout the inspection day for safety reasons and to offer assistance with ladders, hatches etc. Agree in advance with your Inspector who will be available for this role.
  • Access to roofs for the inspection also gives a good opportunity for the gutters to be cleaned, but this is not the responsibility of the inspector.
  • Keys should be readily available for all parts of the building normally kept locked.
  • Bells should be down on the day of the inspection. The ringers should be asked to report on any problems with the ring.
  • Keep your inspector up to date with any initiatives in relation to energy saving and other environmental issues.
  • Agree with your Inspector whether they would like the heating system to be on or off, or whether it makes no difference. (If they intend taking pictures with a thermal imaging camera, the heating generally needs to be up to temperature.)
  • Consider the safety of your Inspector. Use of ladders for access for inspection should comply with the Work at Height Regulations 2005. Guidance for this is published by the HSE and includes Safe Use of Ladders and Stepladders and Working at Height: A Brief Guide. This applies not only for the Quinquennial Inspection but also for routine maintenance. For further advice regarding the safety of those involved in routine maintenance of churches, refer to the ChurchCare section of the Church of England website.

Selected key points are included here as follows:

  • It is strongly recommended that nobody – this includes your professional adviser and church wardens – should climb vertical ladders over 3m in height.
  • All ladders must be sound, safe and securely fixed. ‘Footing’ of ladders by a second person is considered a last resort.
  • Hatches should have counterweights.
  • There should be ladder extensions of about 1m or handholds beyond the plane of the hatch to assist in getting on and off the ladder.
  • A bell chamber should only be entered when any full-circle bells are in the ‘down’ position.
  • An indicative plan of the building, annotated and cross referenced to photos as appropriate.
  • General context photos of the building internally and externally.
  • Photos of defects identified.
  • Reference to earlier reports and what works have been completed in the meantime, and what remain outstanding in order of priority.
  • The quinquennial system assumes that the inspector will inspect all parts of the building such as internal and external roofs where these are visible and safely accessible. It will state any limitations of the survey, such as areas where it was not possible to gain access, and make recommendations for any further investigations.
  • The report needs to be understood by people without technical knowledge, so the analysis and language should be as accessible as possible. The report should be logically structured and cover the aspects described above.
  • The report is neither a specification for works nor a costing, although it should give an estimate of likely costs within broad bands. The bands are Cost Band 1 – £0-1,999; 2 – £2,000-9,999; 3 – £10-29,999; 4 – 30,000-£49,999; 5 – £50,000-249,999; 6 – £250,000.

For the list of quinquennial inspectors and further assistance please contact Eliza Greenwell on