A service that helps churches, chapels and historic buildings access quality building maintenance services at a good price from approved suppliers is to be rolled out across the whole of the UK following a successful pilot project in Yorkshire.
MaintenanceBooker was formed as the result of a partnership between the National Churches Trust, the UK’s church buildings support charity, and Bridgend-based 2buy2, a professional procurement company that helps organisations secure better value for money. The Yorkshire pilot was part funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Accessed via a website http://www.maintenancebooker.org.uk, the service only uses accredited contractors with experience in church maintenance and historic buildings.
The success of the scheme in Yorkshire where 150 churches have registered and are actively using the scheme has prompted the stakeholders to roll the scheme out across the UK – and add a number of products and services. The roll out is being supported by Ecclesiastical Insurance, the UK’s leading church insurer.
MaintenanceBooker will be rolled out on a regional basis starting with Wales, the North East, North West and Midlands of England in Spring 2018. The rest of England will be able to access the service between July and September 2018. Scotland and Northern Ireland will come online by 2020.
Services available from MaintenanceBooker include gutter clearance, lightening protection, tree surveys and tree maintenance with asbestos surveys, asbestos removal and gutter repairs available by June 2018. Stonework, lime mortaring and scaffolding will be added in the second half of 2018 with bat surveys, and groundworks, grounds maintenance and graveyard maintenance in the pipeline.
The scheme is targeting getting between 1500 and 2500 churches or historic buildings using the scheme by the end of 2018.
Though the original proposition was formed with churches as its main target, 2buy2 is also exploring the possibility of rolling it out to any form of historic building including those managed by other national organisations.
Rob Kissick, founder and CEO of 2buy2, said:
“The scheme has been a huge success in Yorkshire and we have had very positive feedback from everyone using it. Churches are often run on a very tight budget and so enabling them to achieve good value for money is critical in ensuring that their buildings are well maintained. Putting off maintenance can result in expensive repair bills, which is often paid for by national grant bodies so it is in their interests to get individual churches using this scheme. MaintenanceBooker will save money, prevent more costly repairs and also ensure that work is carried out by qualified individuals.
“We screen every company registered on the site to ensure they have the appropriate qualifications, which is critical when dealing with historical buildings. We now look forward to rolling out the service nationally in partnership with the National Churches Trust and making a difference over a much wider geographic area with an even wider range of products.”
Michael Murray, Director of Church Support for the National Churches Trust said:
“Tackling essential maintenance tasks sooner rather than later can significantly reduce longer term costs and be an investment in the church’s future.
Although regular maintenance can seem costly, neglecting simple maintenance tasks could soon result in significant repair costs. Churches could be faced with expensive repair bills for stonework or the roof as a result of unattended leaking or blocked gutters. Using MaintenanceBooker can help avoid this.
“Churches, chapels and meeting houses are at the heart of communities and are a treasure trove of architecture, history and faith. MaintenanceBooker website will help them continue to play a vital role in the life and wellbeing of local communities for many, many years to come.”