property Projects

When a parish is planning a property project, they will work with the property team at the St Philip Howard Centre in Crawley, who can suggest contractors, provide guidance and advice and assist the parish in obtaining the necessary permissions from the Diocesan Finance Committee (DFC). Permission is needed for any expenditure over £7,500. The following form should be submitted to E:

It is important that Initial permission is sought before beginning the design, tender, contract, and construction process. Permission should also be sought for any feasibility studies. The DFC may ask to agree the specification of a project. Comparative quotes must be obtained though a full tendering process is not required below £20,000. You can download the DFC Approval Overview document here:

Projects over £20,000

Building works at this level must be instructed under JCT (Joint Contracts Tribunal) contract (usually minor works). Professional contract administration (architect or quantity surveyor) is therefore required.

Projects smaller than £50,000 will be considered by the sub-committee to the Diocesan Finance Committee (DFC). Sub-committee decisions are noted and ratified by the full DFC. All larger projects will be referred to the full DFC.  The Diocesan trustees have the final sanction on any project, although projects have to receive DFC approval first. Occasionally, for exceptional projects, the DFC will pass the decision on approval straight to the Trustees.

Major projects over £100,000

A large project must have the support of the parish. The DFC must be satisfied that this is the case before initial agreement in approving the project. The Propety Team should be consulted on land matters, planning and technical details and the appointment of consultants.

The parish priest should form a parish project committee to help and advise him on all aspects of the proposed scheme. The parish priest and his committee will be responsible for the project from inception through to completion and final clearance of any overdraft.

The Diocesan Art & Architecture Committee must be consulted at an early stage when any alteration is planned to an existing church. However small the change within the church there will be an effect on its liturgical and structural integrity. The Art & Architecture Committee must also be consulted when a new church is planned. No permission will be given by the DFC without this approval being obtained beforehand.

The Historic Churches Committee (HCC) must be consulted before any repairs or alterations are proposed for listed or listable churches or churches in conservation areas. The HCC will only approve a project after permission has been granted by both the Diocesan Art & Architecture Committee and the DFC. Contact E:

Up-to-date quinquennial surveys of all parish buildings must have been prepared. This ensures that there is no other unexpected expenditure in addition to the project, it will also be expected that the parish is up to date on Health and Safety tasks in their SafetyToolbox database. You can access the large projects flow chart below:

Funding the project

The approval process for the project will include a detailed discussion of the plans for funding it. The template below should be submitted to demonstrate that the parish can fund the project within a maximum of ten years.

Construction Design and Management Regulations

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations control health, safety and welfare on all projects which involve construction work, construction skills or construction materials. The regulations apply regardless of the size, duration or cost of the project. This means that most building, refurbishment and some maintenance projects carried out on Diocesan premises, including domestic premises, will fall within the scope of these regulations.  

The regulations require the appointment of Principal Designer and Principal Contractor where more than one contractor is involved on the project. Anyone appointed to act in the capacity of a CDM duty holder must have the appropriate skills, knowledge and experience to carry out their role competently.

Further information including guides and checklists to help you manage your project are available on our online health and safety management system SafetyToolbox Online.

VAT on projects

The following construction work can be zero rated for VAT:
 New freestanding buildings
 An "annexe" to an existing building
 Wheelchair access and disabled person toilets
 Hearing loop systems

The construction work for freestanding buildings or annexes can be apportioned between standard and zero rated for VAT. The building professional must contact the property team for the appropriate HMRC certificate for the builder.

The following construction work is always standard rated for VAT:
 Repairs
 Alterations
 Extensions
 Fees of building professionals
 Loose contents, carpets, curtains, landscaping

Large projects with free standing buildings or annexes

The Diocese has formed a building company, the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton (Building Services) Limited. The creation of the company allows the Diocese to use current financial legislation to avoid paying VAT on the fees of design professionals. The Diocese, as a registered charity, can obtain zero rating for VAT on the construction of new freestanding buildings or annexes. Use of the Building Services company as the main contractor, with the design professionals as subcontractors, enables the Diocese to extend the zero rating to professional fees. The company can only be used for projects costing in excess of £300,000.

Repairs on Listed Churches – VAT recovery

Listed churches can receive grants to offset VAT on repairs, these are administered by the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme. The application form can be found by clicking the application form button below. This needs to be signed by a Diocesan trustee so should be completed and scanned to E: with receipts for countersigning and submission.

Contract Works Insurance

Works costing more than £250,000 require Contract Works insurance, which can be arranged through the Diocesan broker by contacting E: