A Quinquennial Inspection (QI) is a detailed, professionally-compiled report of a church which must be carried out at least once every five years (Quin = five (Latin)). Its provisions form part of the Inspection of Churches Measure 1955 (as revised 1991) which has the same force as a statute.
The Church of England has pioneered the regular inspection of church buildings with the aim that houses of worship should be kept in good order architecturally, structurally and, generally in an acceptable state of repair. Under the Measure, every diocesan synod must provide for the inspection and subsequent report on the parish churches in the diocese, as well as any other consecrated buildings which are licensed for public worship.
The quinquennial inspector appointed is always a named individual, not a firm, and they should be either an Architects Registration Board (ARB)-registered member or a Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) chartered building surveyor. The inspector is usually appointed by the parochial church council (PCC) – the executive committee of a C of E parish – usually for one inspection and one report. If a parish fails to instigate an inspection, they may be served a notice by the archdeacon to do so which, if ignored, can lead to direct arrangements made by the archdeacon.
The inspector’s training, accreditation and experience in building conservation must be suited to address the complexity and significance of the church in question. Their quinquennial report (QR) will give an overview of the repair needs of the building, and will usually highlight the repairs required according to their priority.
An inspector undertaking a QI may work according to headings which can include:
- Overall condition of the building fabric.
- New repair works carried out since the last inspection.
- Urgent repairs needed and timescale for their completion eg, immediately, ASAP, within 18 months, three years, etc.
- Detailed condition of walls, roof, tower, plumbing, heating, furniture, etc
- Recommendations for future maintenance of building and contents.
- Requirements for further detailed investigations, if needed.
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