The QI inspection and report
You are required in law to have your church inspected every five years by an appropriate architect, who will produce a Quinquennial Inspection (QI) report in line with the required contents. This report provides essential guidance to the PCC in managing their building, and also assures the Archdeacon and the DAC that the building is being properly maintained. The Diocese pays the architect’s fee for this work. The QI architect must be from the DAC-approved list of architects, and authorised for the grade listing of your particular church.
The DAC Office will remind you in writing when the inspection is due, and will ask you to confirm your proposed architect. You are at liberty continue using your existing architect. Alternatively, you may wish to have a fresh pair of eyes (particularly if your existing architect has produced three or more successive QI reports) and change architects – if so, the DAC Office will provide, on request, names of five alternative architects operating in your area who are authorised to undertake QI reports for the grade listing of your particular church. You would then interview one or more of these architects and advise your choice to the DAC Office. You must obtain formal DAC endorsement of your choice of architect for your particular church - the DAC Office will write to you and to the architect to confirm the fee payable by the Diocese for the inspection (the fee levels vary depending on the size and nature of the church building in question). You can then arrange with the architect a suitable date for undertaking the inspection visit.
In preparation for the day of the inspection you should check the following:
- Access: The architect will require access to all parts of the church - keys should be readily available for all parts of the building normally kept locked.
- Log Book: The professional adviser will need to see the terrier and inventory, the log book, and any other paperwork relevant to the building.
- Ladders: Ladders are available so that the architect can, where appropriate, access the roof and other areas as appropriate.
- Bells: Bells should be down on the day of the inspection. The ringers should be asked to report on any problems with the ring.
Professional reports: You should have copies of the following (where applicable) available to the architect for inclusion in the QI report:
- Electrical system test certificate (undertaken every five years by an electrician who is a member of the NICEIC or the ECA)
- Lightning conductor test certificate.
- An arboricultural report
- Energy review: this can assist parishes with their carbon management.
The resultant report will set out the significant building issues which the PCC needs to address, with an indication of relative importance and preferable timescales for works.
The QI architect
You can, as outlined above, change your nominated QI architect. Once you have an architect you are happy with, it is in your interest to foster that relationship. One way of doing that it to engage your QI architect (at their normal commercial rate) for all works in the church requiring an architect’s oversight. This compensates for the fact that your architect undertakes the QI report at rather less than a commercial rate (due to their Christian commitment and/or interest in working on historic churches) and often provides parishes with free informal advice. It is in your interest to foster and maintain a good relationship with your QI architect.
If you are applying for funding assistance from English Heritage, they will require the architect overseeing the work (who is normally your QI architect) to have a specific level of formal accreditation before being able to release any funding.