It is recommended that PCCs should consult the following Church of England guidance on quinquennial inspection (QI) surveys and reports, including the appointment of a quinquennial inspector:
That guidance includes advice on the qualifications and experience a person needs to carry out inspections – see particularly the boxed section (on p. 2) called 'Criteria for appointing a suitable person to the role of inspector', which is reproduced below for ease of reference:
Criteria for appointing a suitable person to the role of inspector
- Competent to inspect Major Churches (as defined by the Church Buildings Council), which includes what used to be Greater Churches: proven experience of working with such large and/or highly significant and complex church buildings is recommended, at least at a junior level under a more experienced professional; and experience of working on Grade I or II* church buildings in a sole capacity. Relevant accreditation would normally be required, and always for professionals undertaking their first inspector role.
- Competent to inspect Grade I or II* churches: proven experience of work in a sole capacity with listed buildings; proven experience of work with such highly designated church buildings at least at a junior level under a more experienced professional; preferably experience in sole capacity. Relevant accreditation would normally be required, and always for professionals undertaking their first inspector role.
- Competent to inspect Grade II churches: proven experience of work in a sole capacity with listed buildings; preferably experience of working with listed church buildings at least at a junior level under a more experienced professional. Relevant accreditation would normally be recommended, and always for professionals undertaking their first inspector role.
- Competent to inspect unlisted churches: no specific prior experience expected, but evidence of supervision from an experienced professional with experience of church buildings is recommended. For certain buildings, evidence of experience of working with traditional materials may be required.
- Given the recent call by General Synod for all parts of the Church to achieve year-on-year reductions in emissions, it would be valuable for the inspector to have proven experience of how heritage buildings can be made more environmentally sustainable. This might include suitable ways to reduce heat loss, different approaches to church heating, and the possibility of renewable energy generation.
It is important that a quinquennial inspector's training, accreditation (where necessary – see box above), and experience in building conservation is commensurate with the complexity and significance of the church building in question.
There are several conservation accreditation schemes, some of which have different levels. Please see the Historic England guidance for further information on accreditation, noting that some grant funders require projects (including repairs) on listed buildings to be overseen by a conservation-accredited professional.
Re-appointment and retirement
Where a PCC wishes to re-appoint its current inspector, such as having previously been appointed from the 'approved list' of names administered by the Lichfield DAC, then it does not need to seek DAC advice on that renewal (but it is welcome to do so). However, both the PCC and re-appointed inspector are required to operate under the new diocesan procedures (e.g. QI report format and timings).
Where a PCC's inspector has retired, the following points should be noted:
- The PCC will not currently have a 'retained' quinquennial inspector, or recourse to advice from that individual as the PCC's professional adviser
- The firm where the inspector was employed does not become the inspector, nor automatically any other practitioner within it
- Instead, a suitably qualified and experienced professional within the same firm, or a different firm, can be approached by the PCC for appointment as the new inspector, but the PCC must request DAC advice on the appointment (see below)
DAC register of inspectors
The Lichfield Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) now maintains a register (rather than an 'approved list') with details of inspectors currently working in the diocese, from which the PCC can draw, or the PCC may wish to consider a new applicant not on that register:
An inspector, whether on the register or not, can only be appointed by the PCC following consultation with the DAC. As each application for DAC advice constitutes a particular combination of inspector and church building, advice is accordingly given on a case-by-case basis.
Please note that the appointment of a quinquennial inspector is:
- always of an individual, not a firm
- for one inspection and report in the first place
It is always an individual who is appointed as they need to fulfil the criteria of the Church of England guidance (see box above) in being suitable for the church building in question. As such, the appointed person should not delegate the work to someone else in the practice, who may not have the same experience.
An application for statutory DAC advice on the selected (i.e. preferred) quinquennial inspector, proposed to be appointed by the PCC, will be considered under the DAC delegated authority procedure, not requiring it to go to a DAC meeting.
Applications are administered on a rolling programme rather than through the meeting schedule. The DAC officer will obtain the written advice, through consultation, of a DAC architect member, prior to issuing the resultant advice to the applicant.
A church officer or PCC member authorised by the PCC should download and complete the following application form:
The completed form should be:
- sent by email to Giles Standing, DAC Secretary: email@example.com
Once selected for appointment, the quinquennial inspector should confirm the details of their appointment (including fees) with the PCC in writing. It is recommended that the inspector completes the 'Draft letter of appointment' from Appendix 1 (p. 8) of the Church of England guidance. This has been extracted for ease of access, and can be downloaded as an editable template:
Both the PCC and appointed inspector are required to operate under the new diocesan procedures (e.g. QI report format and timings).
If you have any queries regarding the application process for DAC advice, please contact:
Giles Standing, DAC Secretary
01543 221152 firstname.lastname@example.org