You can’t start building works in your church until you have the right permissions.

Your Diocesan Advisory Committee can tell you which ones you need to apply for.

Download the toolkit

Exterior view of St Edmund church, Rochdale

Always talk to your DAC first

Never start any work before you have permission.

Always talk to your Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) as early as possible because they can tell you what is likely to be approved and what isn’t. And they will tell you what permissions you need and if you have to consult other organisations.

If your church is listed, you might not be able to make all the changes you want. So they can suggest new solutions or tell you if a church is doing something similar nearby.

Find out more about how your DAC can help you

“The secretary is there to help all; from those unfamiliar with Faculty Jurisdiction to those seeking straightforward advice on basic housekeeping and maintenance.”

Stephen Challenger, Property and DAC Secretary, Hereford Diocese

What is the Ecclesiastical Exemption?

The Ecclesiastical Exemption exempts our churches from some parts of the Planning Act.

You do not need to apply for:

  • Listed building consent
  • Conservation area consent

Instead, you apply for faculty.

Find out more about how we manage our buildings

The Faculty Jurisdiction Rules

The faculty jurisdiction is how we manage change to our church buildings, their contents, and our churchyards. It applies to all Anglican parishes. We make sure to reach the right balance between the needs of the worshipping community and the needs of the building.

For most works, you will need a faculty.  

But there are two types of work that do not need faculty:

  • List A: mainly routine maintenance that does not affect fabric or historic material.
  • List B: works that do not change the character of a listed building. You will need your archdeacon’s written permission. Your DAC can help you.

The faculty process does take time. Bear this in mind when planning your project.


You must have it in writing that a faculty is not required.

Other types of permissions you might need

There are some types of works that need extra permissions from other authorities. Your DAC will tell you which one you need to apply for.

Building regulations
Planning permission
Scheduled monument consent
Bat licence
Tree preservation orders (TPO)
Sites of special scientific interests (SSSI)

When to consult with statutory consultees or national amenity societies

Your DAC will tell you if you need to send your project ideas to these organisations for comment:

A good time to contact them is when you’ve drawn up early plans.

It’s good to know what each society thinks is important about your building, because you can adapt your plans accordingly. Leaving this conversation until the end could delay your project and cost you more money.

Find out more about working with amenity societies

Case studies

Next steps

To make your vision become a reality you need to start thinking about:

Wildlife in your churchyard

Make sure your project doesn’t harm local wildlife

Interior view of church

Before applying for permissions

Find out what your diocese will want to know about your project

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