This aims to provide a short guide to the faculty procedure for busy people who would rather be doing something else. A full explanation can be found here.
What on earth is a faculty?
Put simply, it’s an official permission to make a physical alteration to your church.
And why do we need official permission?
The faculty process seeks to protect the heritage of the church for future generations whilst at the same time trying to balance the needs of Christian mission in the 21st century. The DAC and the Chancellor aim to act objectively on behalf of the church as a whole.
The National Assembly for Wales gives the church what’s called “the Ecclesiastical Exemption” which means that the church doesn’t have to go through the secular Listed Building Consent procedure when making alterations to churches. This freedom comes at a price though – we have to comply with a strict set of guidelines set out by government. This is the Faculty procedure. If we are seen to be avoiding or failing to implement this procedure then the church could lose the Exemption. This would not be good for a number of reasons but as this is the short guide we won’t go into it here.
Many church buildings are listed as being of special architectural or historic interest and changes to those buildings are controlled by CADW, on behalf of the National Assembly. CADW, the local authority and the appropriate National Amenity Societies (eg the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) must be consulted before a faculty can be granted.
Someone I spoke to about faculties from another parish told me not to bother because it takes too long
It’s a common misconception that the faculty process is very slow and long-winded. In fact the majority of applications go through the committee process without a hitch. Unless the matter is controversial or complicated and if you provide sufficient information for the committee then there shouldn’t be a problem. So here are two reasons to get on and apply:
- The DAC members are there to help and encourage involvement at an early stage and can provide advice on your proposals. The Local Authority, CADW and the Amenity Societies will also need to be consulted in certain cases and their advice will also have to be taken into account. In the long run this might save both time and money.
- Incumbents and churchwardens are under a legal duty to comply with the statutory procedure so you may leave yourself open to paying the costs of any remedial work or court proceedings if you don’t apply.
So what’s the first step?
We suggest a conversation with the DAC Secretary or the Archdeacon who will be able to advise on the most effective way to proceed with your particular case. If may be necessary to complete a Statement of Need and Significance if the proposal requires.
Then you’ll need to submit:
- A Faculty application form which can be obtained from the Diocesan Office
- A copy of the completed Form 2 (this is the notice at the end of the Faculty form that must be displayed outside the church or in the church porch for 28 days)
- A copy of the PCC resolution agreeing to apply for a faculty or a signed declaration from the incumbent that s/he has seen the appropriate minute
- Digital photographs of the church context, and of anything proposed to be installed
- The architect’s and/or contractor’s specifications, schedules of work, plans, elevations and quotations as appropriate. Please note that a quinquennial inspection report is not sufficient and cannot be used.
Please note that if Form 1 is completed incorrectly and the relevant documentation is incomplete, the Parish will be advised of the missing information and the application will not be considered until this is received.
It is the Chancellor alone who may grant a faculty – the DAC may only recommend a proposal