The quinquennial inspection (QI) report is one of the key documents which assists the PCC in the care and repair of a church building, for which it is legally responsible. It gives an overview of the repair needs of the building, and lists the repairs required by priority.
New report format
PCCs and quinquennial inspectors should read the details regarding QI reports in the new Lichfield Diocesan Scheme for the Inspection of Churches (Amended 2022), which came into operation within the diocese on 29th June 2022, as these constitute diocesan requirements in addition to the legislation. Please see the following section in the Scheme:
- 'The scope and contents of the report' (page 2)
PCCs and inspectors should also consult the Church of England guidance (2020) on QI surveys and reports. Please see the following sections in that guidance:
- 'The survey and report', 'Follow-up', and 'Procurement and permission for subsequent repair works' (with reference to QI reports) (pages 5–7)
Key new requirements for QI reports, detailed in the amended Scheme and guidance, are:
- The report shall summarise the works needed in set categories (time ranges), now ranked '1' to '5'
- The inspector must indicate if they consider any routine items of maintenance (including repairs), within these timescales, to fall under List A or List B of the Faculty Jurisdiction (Amendment) Rules 2022
- Broad indicative costs within the bands set out in the Church of England guidance for all such works will be given
- The report shall include photographs of the exterior and the interior of the building (at least one looking east, one looking west), and illustrating particular areas of concern, marked up as appropriate
Net zero carbon
In accordance with the Church of England guidance (above) and in the context of the General Synod motion of February 2020, calling on all parts of the Church to make year-on-year reductions in emissions, achieving net zero carbon by 2030, the inspector should use their professional judgement to highlight in the report ways to reduce the energy used in running the church building. This may be by repairing/improving the fabric, by changing the church heating and lighting systems, or by generating electricity through renewables.
In accordance with the joint Church Buildings Council (CBC) and Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association (EASA) sustainability and net zero carbon best practice note (2021) on quinquennial inspection reports, intended for building professionals, the report should incorporate the recommended wording provided for inspectors in that note and include the Church of England's Practical Path to Net Zero Carbon for Churches as an appendix.
Submitting QI reports
In accordance with the amended Diocesan Scheme, the quinquennial inspector shall send, within 3 months of making the inspection, copies of the report in electronic and paper format to the:
- PCC of the parish in which the church is situated
- incumbent or priest in charge
The quinquennial inspector shall also send, within 3 months of making the inspection, a copy of the report in electronic format only to the:
- relevant Archdeacon – via the Archdeacon's Office:
A copy of the QI report is also required to be received by the DAC Secretary, but this will be procured internally from the respective Archdeacon's PA rather than from the inspector direct. As such:
- QI reports should not be sent to the DAC Office
Please note that QI reports sent in electronic format to the Archdeacon's Office:
- should be submitted as a single PDF document and preferably 5 MB or less (file size)
- will be uploaded to the church's entry on the Church of England's Church Heritage Record (CHR) (report not publicly visible) by the Archdeacon's PA
Alternatively, there is an interactive QI report template within each church's entry on the CHR, which allows direct input of text and images by the inspector, although reports submitted in a similar electronic format which is compliant with the Diocesan Scheme and the Church of England guidance will be accepted. The CHR hosts a user manual on the interactive QI report template for inspectors and PCCs.
When the QI report is received by the parish, it is important for the incumbent, churchwardens and PCC to agree and sign off the report, and understand its recommendations. The report is designed to be a thorough and complete assessment of the condition of the building, and can therefore be a lengthy document.
It is very useful for the PCC to walk round the building going through the recommendations. The quinquennial inspector should be willing to meet the PCC to go through the recommendations.
Each part of the building is described and an assessment given of the repair needs. Where action is needed, the report should give this on a scale from 1 to 5 according to the urgency of the repair:
- Urgent, requiring immediate attention
- Requires attention within 12 months
- Requires attention within the next 12–24 months
- Requires attention within the quinquennial period
- A desirable improvement with no timescale
Any items under category 1 are urgent repair needs of the building or necessary for the safety of its users. The inspector is likely to mention these at the time of the inspection and give guidance on how the problems can be addressed.
The report is neither a specification for works nor a costing, although it should give an estimate of likely costs within broad bands: Cost Band 1. £0–1,999; 2. £2,000–9,999; 3. £10,000–29,999; 4. £30,000–49,999; 5. £50,000–249,999; 6. £250,000 or more.
Subsequent repair works
Most repair items within the QI report will require advice either from the quinquennial inspector or a relevant professional of comparable experience, and for larger repair works a quantity surveyor (QS) may need to be consulted.
Once the PCC is able to put the identified works in hand, it is normal practice to instruct the quinquennial inspector or another suitably able professional, through a separate contract, to prepare a specification and seek tenders from contractors of suitable experience.
Any such work may be subject to separate contractual arrangements and fees beyond those agreed for the inspection.
Please note that the diocese does not have a list of approved contractors for church works. Instead, the PCC should consult its quinquennial inspector, as professional adviser, for advice on procuring and appointing suitable contractors.