Building and property resources

Property register

The property register used by congregational Fabric Conveners for annual inspection and return to Presbytery has been substantially amended. The new format is designed to make inspections and returns at the appropriate times significantly easier. The amended register, which should be used for church and hall buildings only, can be completed on-line, saved as a document and e-mailed as an attachment to Presbytery. Alternatively, the register can be printed off and completed by hand. The amended Manse Condition Schedule should be utilised when making annual inspections and returns for manses. Fabric Conveners should read the introductory and guidance notes for both the Property Register and the Manse Condition Schedule before completing the documents.

The Letting it Happen document is a very useful aid to Fabric Conveners covering areas such as buildings and ground maintenance, accessibility issues, upgrading, fire protection and security systems. For more information please contact us.

Energy conservation

The Church of Scotland has taken a leading role in the energy conservation field and the General Trustees offer subsidies to encourage congregations to obtain a survey from their heating consultant. The trustees have also negotiated arrangements in consultation with their energy consultant, Argyle Energy, which in many instances have resulted in substantial savings in costs to congregations for gas and electricity supplies. For further information, email Robert Lindores at rlindores@churchofscotland.org.uk or gentrustees@churchofscotland.org.uk.

The Eco-Congregation Programme

This environmental programme offers free resources and support to congregations wishing to incorporate environmental care more widely into their church life and mission. The resources support existing activities such as worship, teaching, children's and youthwork, maintaining buildings and grounds and engaging with the wider community. Visit their website at www.ecocongregation.org/scotland .

Better Heating Scheme

Under the Better Heating Scheme, which is administered by the Church of Scotland General Trustees, congregations can obtain, for a modest fee, skilled advice on how to save money on heating bills and improving the standard of comfort in buildings. You can download these guides for more information on this service, including costs, subsidies and points to note, and heating tips for property conveners.

Advice on church lighting

For advice on lighting, please contact the General Trustees department at gentrustees@churchofscotland.org.uk.

Sound system consultant

At the moment the General Trustees do not have a consultant and initial contact should be made with local consultants. If the congregation then chooses an installation which is of interest to them, direct contact should be made with the Committee on Church and Architecture to discuss the proposal before installation takes place.

Church Buildings Maintenance in Scotland

The Church Buildings Maintenance in Scotland project is supported by the Church of Scotland, Bishops' Conference of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church and Historic Scotland. Its website provides a range of modules and resources for people involved in maintaining church buildings, including learning modules on types and fabric. It can be found here.

Insurance

It is essential that all buildings used by congregations such as churches, halls and manses and the like are adequately insured as this is an aspect of good stewardship and is something which all charity trustees would be expected to have in place.

The 2013 General Assembly instructed all Financial Boards and Courts of congregations to insure all ecclesiastical buildings for which they are responsible (irrespective of who owns the buildings) and to take up the covers for public liability, employers' liability, breach of duty and trustee indemnity and for contents through the Scheme offered by the Church of Scotland Insurance Services Ltd

The Scheme offers a comprehensive package-type cover incorporating a wide range of automatic insurance provisions sufficient to meet the usual ecclesiastical activities of congregations in respect of buildings and liabilities. Also included are covers for church and hall contents, loss of revenue, money, personal accident and other risks. Optional covers such as Engineering are available and the Scheme can allow the standard package limits to be extended upon request.

For further information and for answers to insurance enquiries, please contact: The Church of Scotland Insurance Services Ltd, 121 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 4YN, Telephone: 0131 220 4119 or visit the Church of Scotland Insurance Services Ltd website.

Glebes

Fabric and Finance

Forms are available in Word and PDF format. The new General Application Form replaces the old Forms A and C and is designed to accept a combination of applications including alterations to buildings and applications for financial assistance from the Central Fabric Fund

Manses

Manse Condition Schedule

The manse condition schedule, along with guidelines and regulations for manses, is intended to assist congregations in keeping up to date with the maintenance and repair of manses.

Residential Letting of Manses and Other Domestic Properties

When a manse or other residential property such as a church officer's house becomes vacant, a Financial Board should consider whether to let it. Properties usually benefit from being occupied and rent can provide a useful revenue stream for the congregation for fabric purposes.

To be valid, residential leases of properties owned by the General Trustees must run in their name as landlords. In view of the administrative burdens associated with the letting of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) the Trustees will not approve lets to more than two unconnected persons.

The following notes are designed to give an overview of the matters which need to be considered.

General papers