Advice to parishes and clergy on how they can help to ensure minimum delay in the processing of their faculty application.
The main reason for delays in processing faculty applications is that parishes don't provide sufficient clarity to their proposals or they fail to undertake the necessary consultations in good time. Detailed guidance on suitable supporting information and consultation is available on the DAC web pages. If you don't adhere to this published guidance then your application is likely to be queried by the DAC and hence delayed. Guidance on avoiding the most comon pitfalls is provided below.
Before you submit your application:
- Discuss any significant works with your architect. This will normally save time and money in the long run, as well as getting the best possible result. It's normally best to use your Quinquennial Inspection architect given their knowledge of the building and its usage, but you can use any suitable architect.
- For large schemes (e.g. re-orderings or extensions), you may find it helpful to seek informal advice from the DAC at an early stage. This may avoid your having to change elements after you submit your formal application and allows you to benefit from the DAC's experience of successful schemes elsewhere.
- You may need local planning consent and/or building regulations approval - if so, start this process before submitting your faculty application. Your architect can advise further.
- If you are working to a tight target deadline for completing the works, decide which of the DAC's monthly submission deadlines will be appropriate for your application and build this into your project plan. Make the DAC Office aware of your target deadline - they can prioritise your application if appropriate. Also build in to your project at least 2 months from the relevant DAC meeting before you receive your faculty in order to allow for the statutory 28-day notice period and further administrative time for the DAC Office and Registry. Allow significantly longer if complaints are likely to arise from the public notices, particularly if your scheme is contentious.
- For works which might alter the character of a historic building, you are required by law to obtain the views of statutory consultees. You should allow two months for them to respond to your referral. The DAC cannot make its formal recommendation until you provide written confirmation of the views of these consultees, so you need to include their responses with your faculty application.
- Works which may be judged to alter the character of a historic building - or a significant part of its fabric - may also need to be considered by the Church Buildings Council (CBC). Parishes should discuss at an early stage with the DAC office whether such a referral will be necessary in any particular case, as the parish may need to allow 2 months or longer to allow for CBC review and feedback. All conservation cases involving very sensitive items (e.g. conservation of historic murals) requiring CBC referral must be accompanied by a Conservation Report produced by the parish’s conservator – guidelines for such reports are available here.
When you submit your application:
- Explain what you are proposing clearly with all the necessary supporting information. If you don't explain the proposal and its context clearly (supported by photographs), the DAC will only have to ask you for more information which could delay your application by a month or more.
- Complete all the relevant input fields on the online faculty system.
- Be succinct - avoid unnecessary background paperwork or different versions of the same document.
- Make sure any scanned documents are clearly legible.
- Make sure you include a good selection of photographs showing the detail and context of your proposal. Use logical, clear file names to indicate what the photographs are. You may wish to annotate a plan drawing to show with arrows the line of sight for each photograph.