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How valuable is maintenance of church buildings?

In 2019, Historic England commissioned research into the economic value of maintenance and repair on a sample of 30 listed church buildings across England. The research aimed to:

  • Estimate the current repair cost for capital works to these buildings;
  • Estimate the cost for maintenance and minor repair when issues had been first identified in
    the fabric reports;
  • Establish whether prompt attention to minor repair and maintenance would have slowed the
    development of major repair needs.


The report drew out four main findings, which broadly confirm the views Historic England and many others have held for some time.

  1. Poor maintenance results in increased cost liability, prone to rapid escalation
  2. Delaying repair results in significant costs associated with consequential damage
  3. Roofs and rainwater goods are the primary causes of defects and consequential decay
  4. Buildings of different ages experience broadly the same issues


The research found that the total cost incurred if all defects had been rectified when first identified is approximately £6,950,000. The total estimated cost associated with delaying repair is £1,200,000, increasing the total cost of repair to £8,150,000. Additionally, the report calculated the cost of consequential damage, where an initial defect causes further issues elsewhere in the building, at £1,800,000. This is an additional 25% of the cost of repairing defects when first identified.

Read the full report here.

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