Repair and maintenance work is carried out by private contractors and all work is supervised and monitored by the Property Department in the Diocesan Office. The department manages the budget it is allocated by the Diocese, and its work is monitored by the Benefice Buildings Committee (BBC), which also sets the policies and standards for such work. The cost of all agreed repair work is paid for indirectly by parishes through Parish Share.
The department is committed to serving the clergy and parishes and the underpinning principles are:-
- Good stewardship
- Improving pastoral care of clergy families
- The structure and exterior of the building
- The installations for space heating, water heating and sanitation, and supply of water, gas and electricity.
- Payment of council tax, water rates and insurance of the structure
- Anything belonging with the house, i.e. fixtures and fittings
- Quinquennial inspection of the house
The guidelines apply solely to all benefice houses and team vicarages. Due to the nature of property owned/purchased/leased for curates and others, there maybe some variation to the guide. Any clarification can be sought from the Property Department.
The following pages, although not an exhaustive list, aims to clarify responsibility of the key housing elements/issues.
DBF = Diocesan Board of Finance
BBC = Benefice Buildings Committee
DS = Diocesan Surveyor
In the words of the Measure, your responsibility as occupier (or as a resident living in accommodation provided as part of your terms of service) is equivalent to that of a tenant. You are responsible for organising:-
- Anything that belongs to those living in the house and appropriate house contents insurance.
- Fuses, battery smoke detectors, tap washers, clearing (or paying the charge for clearing) negligently blocked waste pipes, gullies, manholes and drains. This is to ensure free flow of the storm water.
- Minor DIY items of repair to the building and services. Examples of items the Board will not pay for include tap washers, door bells, plug chains, etc.
- Internal decorations are the responsibility of the PCC/Occupier. The Diocese operates a saving scheme with annual bonuses for further details see IDS Policy. You should not leave the house decorated in colours which will make it difficult for your successor to redecorate, in other words please use neutral colours where possible and not brightly-coloured gloss work.
- Repairs due to misuse, neglect or damage by you, your family, your visitors and by any domestic pets.
- Keeping the garden neat and tidy, grass mown and trees pruned. You should look after any sheds (including those provided by the DBF), greenhouses, all shrubs and plants (including ivy/creeper types), hedges (to a maximum height of 2 metres), ponds, garden ornaments, and clothes posts/rotary dryers. Any essential major work to ornamental or fruit trees will be carried out as part of the works when you first arrive, after which they will be your responsibility.
- Paying all gas/oil, electricity and telephone bills, etc.
- Keeping the house in a good and clean condition during your occupancy (fair wear and tear excepted), and then removing all your personal property and rubbish from the house and grounds upon vacation.
- Allowing the diocesan surveyor or other experts to inspect the house at all reasonable times by prior arrangement.
- If you have oil-fired central heating - not letting the supply run too low before the next delivery, thus avoiding silting up the boiler system.
- Bathroom cabinet
- Bedroom shelving
- Clothes line, rotary clothes dryer
- Electric light bulbs
- Extension leads
- Extractor fans (except kitchens, bathrooms, utility rooms, shower rooms & cloakrooms).
- Cupboards/units (except kitchen units)
- Floor coverings (except wet areas & study carpet)
- Fluorescent tubes
- Garden furniture
- Garden ornaments
- Garden ponds
- Garden shed *
- IT equipment
- Lamp shades
- Ornamental and fruit trees
- Radiant heaters/lamps
- Satellite dish
- Shelving (except study shelves)
- Shower curtain and pole
- Telephone handsets
- Venetian & roller blinds, curtains
- Wall mirrors
- Water Filter
* Maintained by DBF only if there is no garage.
The following works are not normally carried out or reimbursed:-
- Toilet seats - supply or repair
- Cleaning of extractor fans
- Light bulbs replacement
- Cooker extract filter replacement
- Extension in height to existing boundary fences (unless recommended by a local Crime Officers report).
- Internal decorations
- Television aerials, Sky dishes
- Floor coverings, sanding/sealing/staining of floors
- Curtains and blinds
- Movement of radiators to accommodate furniture
- Repairs caused by negligence on the part of the occupier.
- The supply and erection of garden sheds, greenhouses, conservatories and maintenance of same.
- Damage to property from pets
- Works undertaken for cosmetic reasons
- Your name, address and telephone number (where you can be contacted during the day).
- What the problem is and where it is
- Access details or times during the week when a contractor or a member of staff can inspect or carry out the repair.
- Any other information you think will be useful
However, when a repair is required to the central heating system you should directly call our heating contractors Integral on 0333 234 1772 or 0333 234 1554.
The surveyor at the Diocesan Office will confirm your request (when the work is of a substantial nature), when agreed, by email. The form you receive contains details of:
- The repair order
- The contractor who is to carry out the work
- The date it was requested
- The access details you gave
- The repair priority
We are committed to dealing with repairs as soon as possible. Given the range and number of repairs we receive, we have divided them into categories of urgency. Repair orders are regularly monitored by us in terms of response times and the priority rating. The following is a guide indicating how quickly we should respond to your repairs.
Priority 1 Emergency: aim to respond within 24 hours
Includes only work that is required to prevent danger to life and limb or extensive damage to property, e.g. gas leaks, burst main water storage tank, no electricity (not a power cut), repair or renew front/back door lock, security issue, Health & Safety issue.
Priority 2 Urgent: aim to respond within 7 days
Includes work to prevent acute discomfort or serious inconvenience to the occupier, potential health risks or serious damage to the property e.g. defective central heating, no hot water, blocked drainage.
Priority 3 Other: aim to respond within agreed timescale
Includes work which is not urgent but if left untreated would cause inconvenience to the residents or long term damage to the property e.g. repairs to gutters and down pipes, repairs to chimneys, fencing, repair work to driveways, long-term structural defects.
Priority 4 Planned Work aim to respond inside 6 months
Includes work from Quinquennial work and Ingoing work to put right long-term defects, repair or renewal of boundary fences, boundary walls, outbuildings and garages, and cyclical work.
The following advice or information may be useful in an emergency:-
If you smell gas take immediate action:-
- Put out any naked flames and cigarettes
- Open windows
- Turn off all gas appliances
- Turn off the gas supply at your gas meter
- Contact National Grid 24-hour free service
DO NOT use any electrical appliances including lights, or operate electrical switches.
- Inform the Property Department immediately
What to do in case of fire:-
- Get everyone out of the building
- Call the Fire Service immediately on 999
- If possible, as you leave the building close all doors and windows (to prevent fire spreading). Do not allow people to re-enter the building.
- If possible switch off gas and electricity supplies
- Do not use water to douse a fire where it involves an electrical supply, fat, oil or spirit. You must inform the Property Department as soon as possible after any fire has occurred in your home.
If you do not already know where stop valves (formerly stop cocks) are located you should find out, and check them regularly.
Burst Water pipes:
You should either turn off the water supply to an appliance or to the whole house. If you have central heating, turn off the gas and any electrical controls as well. In all cases report the problem immediately to the Property Department.
For repairs ring the Property Department on:-
Produced by the Property Department
Approved by the Benefice Buildings Committee
We look forward to working closely with you so that your home may feel secure and comfortable for you and your family, and be an asset / aid to the ministry exercised in your Parish.
Revised wef 06/03/18.