June's Property Point
The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP), provides those responsible for the maintenance or repair of non-domestic premises with a legal “duty to manage” any risk from asbestos.
Non-domestic premises include all industrial, commercial or public buildings such as factories, warehouses, offices, shops, hospitals, schools, museums, libraries, leisure centres, churches and other religious buildings.
Although the duty does not apply to domestic premises such as private houses, it does apply to the 'common parts' of multi-occupancy domestic premises, such as purpose-built flats or houses that are converted into flats. Manses are included since the responsibility for maintenance and repair rests with the Circuit Meeting.
What do you need to do?
Have a risk assessment carried out by a specialist to determine whether asbestos is present in your buildings.
If Asbestos is present, there are only two options:
1. High risk - the asbestos must be removed
2. Low risk - it can be sealed and left in position, together with warning notices and possibly minor repair.
The risk assessment should be undertaken by a specialist who will prepare a formal report which should be kept in the church log-book. The assessment will determine whether any asbestos found is high or low risk. It is then the Managing Trustees responsibility as duty holders to manage the ongoing risk by having regular inspections. These can range from 6 months to 1 year depending on the type of asbestos and its location.
More guidance can be found at the following links:
Health and Safety Executive:
Methodist Insurance: https://www.methodistinsurance.co.uk/risk-management/asbestos/
The Methodist Church: https://www.methodist.org.uk/for-churches/property/a-z-property-guidance/
April's Property Point
The last issue of Property Points addressed the broad term of ‘regular inspections’ to group a number of inspections needed for the upkeep of property. More specifically, a quinquennial inspection is one for all local property taken every five years by a suitable, professionally qualified person. The quinquennial inspection and its corresponding quinquennial inspection report is an essential document that assists managing trustees in the care and repair of their property.
Quinquennial inspections are intended to identify problems that have developed since the last inspection and establish priorities for maintenance and repair over the next 5 year period to ensure the preservation of the fabric. It should categorise the urgency of work required from A to E, A being ‘Urgent, requiring immediate attention’ and E being ‘Desirable improvement with no timescale. There is also category M, which is to list routine maintenance work to be carried out.
The Connexion provide advice on selecting the appropriate qualified professional for the inspection (usually a Chartered Surveyor or Chartered Architect); and the format of the report to be submitted by them.
Keep a check on whether any of your properties quinquennial inspections are due soon so you can be ahead of the game. Look out for an email from the District Property Development Officer who will be informing Circuits where they have any overdue quinquennials.
February's Property Point
Regular Inspections / Working Together
The Constitutional Practice and Disciplines (CPD) of the Methodist church set out the particular responsibilities of the local church, and of the Circuit with respect to its property (Standing Order 941, and 954 respectively).
These responsibilities include appointing / employing property caretakers; maintaining an up-to-date log book documenting things concerning the property; and carrying out of cyclical inspections, namely - annual inspections, quinquennial inspections, manse inspections and completing the property section of the Annual Return.
There is much to consider, which makes scheduling an important part of the task. Another aid to the work would be to know who to approach when needing a professional contractor for things such as carrying out the quinquennial inspection. To aid this, the District would like to encourage working together with the assembling of a ‘Trusted Traders’ list. That is, names of traders used by any church/circuit who could be recommended for the work they carried out. If you have experience of employing a recommendable contractor, please contact Kathleen (District Property Officer), with the name and contact details of the contractor plus the work they performed for you. Your contribution could help us all work together better to maintain our properties well.