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Measure twice, before the DAC

15 July 2016

Before submitting reordering plans to the DAC, make sure that you are in agreement with all the content. You will not be able to make sub­stantive changes afterwards without a resubmission, which will cause delay. Do not be afraid to question apparent errors and omissions. The tender documents (drawings and specifications) should also be stud­ied and questioned. Once errors or omissions are in them, it is difficult (because of delay and expense) in getting them changed. If you want to reclaim items, such as pews and tiles or stones, during any demo­lition, include these here, and not at a later stage. Some of these lessons our church has learned the hard way.


ALWAYS check details before proceeding. I have often quoted the saying: “Measure twice, cut once.”

While the PCC is subject to all kinds of permission, from DAC to planning and listed-building con­sent, it is where the buck stops when anything happens to, or is planned for, the church building.

This responsibility can be arduous, especially on big projects where the specifications and draw­ings may fill more than one lever-arch file. But it is negligent to authorise works to go ahead without checking that everything is in order, in line with agreements and con­trols. After all, you will be paying the bills, and any mistakes will also have to be paid for.

Before sending project materials to the DAC — they may be sent by the architect, but in the church’s name — sit down with the architect and go through every aspect of the works that are being commissioned. Look through the drawings and accompanying documents, get as good a grasp as you can, and query any issues you spot. I assume that the overall project will have been agreed already.

Once you receive the faculty, this will cover exactly what is covered in the submitted documents, and any variation made by you subsequently is not possible without going back through the faculty system. Ensure that you have small groups in place as works proceed so that you can check that any minor variations in the works do not go outside the faculty agreement.

When it comes to checking what goes out to tender, your professional design team will be immensely helpful. If you have a quantity sur­veyor and an architect on board, you know that they will have gone through the details. The documents will include drawings, and a fat document that details every aspect of the work and the materials to be used. Even the type, size, and material for nails, screws, glue, and mortar will be listed in detail. This is to ensure that inferior materials are not used, and that the perhaps more expensive, good-quality screws are properly priced in building up the tender price.

When the tender documents are returned, the right-hand column on these pages will be filled in detail with costings that build up to the overall bid from the builder. Your quantity surveyor will read through every page, ensuring that realistic figures, neither too high nor too low, are included, and that all addition is correct.

If there is something included in this document which you did not want, or, more possibly, something you forgot, such as keeping the tiles or pews, changing this would affect the builder’s price and delay the contract and the project. So expect to find in the document information on what happens with the builder if there is a weekday wedding or funeral that interrupts their work; all these items will affect the price, and could result in the church’s having to pay out more money at
a later stage if they are not ad­­dressed.

It goes without saying that it never pays to change your mind on a building project after the measur­ing stages: that is to say, your “measuring twice” involves check­ing all the details with extreme care.


Send your issues and questions to maggiedurran@virginmedia.com.

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