General advice on churches and civil or drainage works

We have considerable experience in Civil design to support the development of new Churches, Church centre extensions and general external works at Churches and Cathedrals. This can include the design of new roads, footpaths and drainage within Churchyards.

Many DAC's consider that getting water away from buildings is one of the key elements in maintaining the historic fabric. Many churchyards, after centuries of use, are now higher than the floor levels inside the church, or slope such that surface run-off is led towards or even trapped against walls rather than drained away. This can cause damp walls often leading to flaking plaster and ultimately risks more expensive structural problems.

Design of soakaways and other systems involves considerable experience in hydrogeology and sustainable drainage systems. The design needs to be based on experience and calculations. We have often come across systems specified as "1m3 hole" only for the soakaway to be worse than useless in the very storms they needed to protect the building from.

DACs usually advise that such work should only be carried out by professional civil engineers with experience of works around historic structures, not building Architects, Builders or Surveyors.

To obtain a faculty the PCC will typically require an engineering investigation and report setting out the problems and options prior to agreeing the work. Techniques in Sustainable Drainage are often particularly useful as they often limit the depth of construction works needed in churchyards. We are able to provide such specialist assistance.

Many rural churches wish to provide toilet and kitchen facilities inside their building which can be problematic as they often have no foul drainage in the vicinity. Again these are all situations we have come across and can advise on.