Church buildings reports and survey reports

We draw up reports on the heritage interest of churches where closure is being considered to help dioceses make informed decisions about their future.

We also write similar reports for churches facing major challenges but where closure is not being discussed.

In both types of report, we look at the scope for change to the building that might help secure its future as a place of worship.

Interior view of St Mary's church Fairford

What is a church buildings report?

A church buildings report is an assessment of the significance of a church building, its furnishings and its churchyard. It covers the architecture of the building and its place in the landscape, the archaeology of the church and churchyard, the work of craftsmen and artists, the history of the church and its people and the natural environment interest of the place. We use the guidelines for assessing significance set out in our guidance on Statements of Significance and Statements of Needs and on Conservation Management Plans.

It also assesses the potential for change to the building that might help it thrive if the decision is made to keep it open. This is considered in a wide sense in line with our policy to promote open and sustainable churches [Link]. It might involve additional uses that support mission or alternative uses that could sit alongside worship and mission and provide an income. The report helps the diocese in their discussion about the future of the building. It will be considered alongside pastoral and financial factors in the context of the diocesan strategy. It is part of the formal process set out in the Mission and Pastoral Measure 2011, which a diocese follows when it is thinking about closing a consecrated church (or part of it).

How to request a church buildings report

Requests should come from the diocese, normally the Pastoral Secretary. We recommend that you ask for the report as early as possible before there is any formal petition for closure.

To request a church buildings report:

1. Download our form

2. Fill it in and make sure it is endorsed on page 2 by the diocese’s Pastoral Secretary

3. Send it to us by email with your supporting documents (see instructions and contact information in the downloadable form)

What happens after we receive your request for a church buildings report?

We do some research and arrange a site visit with the local contact.

Once a draft report is ready, it needs to be approved by the Church Buildings Council.

We send the final report to the Diocesan Pastoral Secretary for circulation. We also send a copy to the incumbent and the Church Commissioners.

What is a survey report?

A survey report is similar in content to a Church Buildings Report. It has an assessment of the significance of a church building, its furnishings and its churchyard and looks at the scope for change.

It helps churches or groups of churches facing particular challenges, but where there is no active discussion for closure.

The survey report offers an early opportunity to think about the potential of a particular church and to explore alternatives in addition to worship.

The report is confidential and is only circulated to the people named in the request form.

How to request a survey report

The request should come from the Diocesan Pastoral Secretary or the Archdeacon (or be endorsed by them).

To request a survey report:

1. Download our form

2. Fill it in and make sure it is endorsed on page 2 by the Pastoral Secretary or the Archdeacon

3. Send it to us by email with your supporting documents (see instructions and contact information in the downloadable form)

What happens after we receive your request for a survey report?

We do some research and arrange a site visit with the local contact.

Once a draft report is ready, it needs to be approved by the Church Buildings Council.

We send the final report only to the people named in the request form.

Next steps

For Church Buildings Reports and Survey Reports, the CBC will recommend the level of our future involvement:

Also of interest

Think outside the box

Make wider, more imaginative use of your church building

Develop a community project

Let us help you through all the project steps

Request an archived church buildings report

We give access to groups with a formal interest in historic churhes

Diocesan strategic reviews

Integrated thinking about church buildings with mission and ministry