Taking Care of Our Properties

Posted in Property services

During this time of not being able to meet in person, it is important we continue to steward our buildings well. We encourage congregations to safely undertake a walk-around of their properties weekly (or at least every 30 days), to ensure they are kept in good condition. While no major projects should be commenced, there may be some minor maintenance matters that need attention, particularly leading into winter. Please consider the following actions when visiting your property:

  • External check
    • have any windows or locks been broken?
    • do any gutters need cleaning, ready for winter storms?
    • are the gardens being maintained appropriately (eg lawns mowed, automatic sprinklers turned off)? Properties which are not maintained have a tendency to attract further problems
    • has any rubbish been dumped on the property?
    • is there an opportunity to leave a written note with a neighbour asking them to contact you if they notice anything unusual about the church property?
    • Is there a current emergency contact number on display?
  • Internal check
    • Are all appliances unplugged and lights turned off?
    • Are all taps turned off and not dripping?
    • Is the refrigerator empty of food and rubbish bins empty?
    • Is there any evidence of any water intrusion into the building?
    • Continue all scheduled maintenance activities by external providers ie  fire services inspections
  • Other Matters
    • Perhaps establish a roster of volunteers to check on the property – this helps share the load, and having ‘fresh eyes’ looking at the property can be beneficial (noting government guidelines for over 70 year olds to remain safe and at home)
    • Make sure that contact details for hirers are up to date
    • Investigate whether future upgrade works which would have disrupted the use of the buildings could be undertaken safely by contractors now. ie painting , replacing floor coverings
    • Do not schedule volunteer working bees while restrictions are in place
    • Please report any damage immediately to insurance services
    • Where a building is unoccupied and not being used for any purpose all utility services to the premises are to be turned off, ie. water, gas/electricity.

When visiting your buildings, consider your personal safety and attend with one other person whenever possible, maintaining physical distancing and good hygiene practices.  If you must attend alone, let someone know when you are going and when you return home.  Please remember to be mindful of what you touch and ensure that any surfaces touched are cleaned and disinfected afterwards.  Those who are over 70 years old or at higher risk from the virus should not attend to these tasks at this time.

If you have any other questions about insurance, please contact Susanne Alley or Tony Phillips in Insurance Services at Turn on Javascript! or the property team at Turn on Javascript!


Comments (0)

  1. Ross Dawkins 19 may 2020, 15:54 Link
    Whilst the above is all well and good, the necessary checking on buildings is a given, however for you to say that people over 70 shouldn't do it then at Angaston and I believe many other chuches around the state then no action would be taken to protect our property as we are, according to your edict, all too old! What a joke this is, dreamt up by people who live and work in glass houses! No reality to the real things going on out in the community, working from home. Has any body been in to your offices to do exactly what you are askig us to do, of course they have as they are paid to do it. We don't have that sort of money in this environment.
    I and others at Angaston wil continue to check our property regularly regardless of your comments above.
    Chairman Angaston Property Committee
    1. Sue Raw 20 may 2020, 12:42 Link
      Dear Ross, thank you for you comments.
      We value the time and efforts of all our volunteers and recognise that for many congregations those over 70 have a signification contribution to make.
      At this particular time, we are aware that those over 70 and other vulnerable persons need to take particular care and we as the Uniting Church do not want to place any in those categories at an increased risk.
      I draw your attention to the most recent communication from the General Secretary advising that those over 80 and other vulnerable categories are still being asked to stay at home, whilst those in the age group 70-80 are being asked to consult with their doctor and families prior to attending Church premises.

      «As we continue to care for older members of our congregations and communities, there has been a growing desire for people in the 70-80 age bracket who are active and well, to be able to participate in ministry and missional activities. If people in this age bracket wish to attend the church for such activities we are strongly encouraging that they seek medical advice to determine if it is safe to do so. If their doctor’s support such activity we are requesting that attendance records indicate that permission has been granted. While some have suggested that this is ‘draconian’ advice, it is designed to keep people safe during this time of transition.

      The full letter from the General Secretary with further information can be found here;
    2. Dorothy Edna Temby 19 may 2020, 16:17 Link
      What a great article, I have been suggesting for some time that we need to look at our buildings with fresh eyes (and not wait for an audit to happen) and if we have a weekly 'walk' with someone different each week/fortnight they will definitely see something that someone else will think okay. In my previous worklife I was an OHS (WHS) rep and would do regular inspections and have someone different with me each time. Things that look 'okay' on the surface are often not and if some money has to be spent to maintain the building, fixtures etc, then it should be, otherwise if the building, fixtures etc become too unsafe then there may not be a building and the expenses to bring it back to useable condition may be huge, it is better to do it now than leave it till later.