Faculty Application Process

It can be very helpful to discuss a proposed faculty application with the DAC Secretary before the application is submitted. The applicants can then make sure that all of the information which the DAC is likely to require is submitted with the application, and this will help to minimize any delays in dealing with the proposals. This information should include the material required by section 4.2 of the new Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2015 (“FJR 2015”) .

As well as consulting the DAC Secretary, the PCC is recommended to consult an architect at an early stage if any works are proposed to the fabric of the church. This may be the architect appointed to undertake the quinquennial inspection of the church (who must be on the DAC’s list of architects who are approved to undertake such inspections) or it may be any other architect – the PCC is not limited to using only an architect who is on the approved list for new projects. However, there may be some merit in taking advice from the architect who carried out the most recent quinquennial inspection of the building, as they should be familiar with the building and any structural or other particular issues which may be relevant to the project. Taking advice early on in the project can save much trouble and expense later on.

All faculty applications should initially be submitted to the DAC with a completed Standard Information Form (Form 1A). Applications should be accompanied by the necessary supporting information. If in doubt about what information may be needed, consult first with the DAC Secretary. The information required is likely to include the following, as well as the information listed at section 4.2 of the FJR 2015:

  • The PCC resolution and architect’s advice in writing.
  • For Building Repairs or Additions  the architect’s specification and drawings. These should be professionally prepared, to scale, and give a clear indication of the extent and likely effect of the works proposed
  • For Heating, Plumbing and/or Electrical works the architect’s or contractor’s specification and drawings and/or annotated photographs which show the effect of the work. The route of any new pipes or cabling and the manner in which these will be affixed should be clearly shown.
  • If the work involves alterations or repairs to specific parts of the fabric or furnishings, such as bells, woodwork, windows or glazing, textiles and so on, guidance should be sought from the DAC Secretary on whether a specialist report should be submitted with the application.
  • For Organs  details of the history and specification of the existing organ, of any replacement or work to be done.
  • For Memorials  a scale drawing, precise wording and a sample of lettering, together with a history of the person/s to be remembered in the memorial. (If the proposal is for an internal memorial the application may be in the form of an informal enquiry in the first instance).
  • For churchyard alterations a list and plan of the gravestones affected.
  • For disposal of articles by sale  good quality photographs of the item(s), details of their provenance and a professional valuation.
  • For any major proposal or proposals affecting buildings or items of particular significance, the comments of relevant consultees. These will include the Amenity Societies, and possibly the local Planning Authority. It is important that this consultation should take place before the DAC considers the proposals, so that the DAC can consider all the relevant advice from the consultees, and so that an agreed proposal can go forward from the DAC taking into account these views. If consultation is left until a later stage, it may be too late to incorporate the consultees’ views into the decision making process easily, leading to frustration and delay for the parish. Under Schedule 2, FJR 2015 it is now a requirement for many applications that these comments should be obtained and submitted to the DAC at the outset, and these consultations should not be left until after the DAC has reviewed the application.
  • For Heritage Lottery Fund grant aided work a copy of the contract and the relevant architect’s report.
  • The church insurers’ approval in writing.

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Once the DAC has considered a faculty application, a Notification of the DAC’s Advice will be issued to the applicants, and the papers will be sent by the DAC Secretary to the Diocesan Registrar. The DAC’s Advice will state one of the following:

(a)   that the DAC recommends the works or proposals for approval by the court;
(b)   that the DAC does not recommend the works or proposals for approval by the court; or
(c)   that the DAC does not object to the works or proposals being approved by the court.

Applicants should note that this Advice does not constitute formal approval to proceed with any works. It is intended to provide advice to the Chancellor or the relevant Archdeacon when they in turn consider the formal faculty petition.

The Registrar will forward a formal Petition to the applicants (see Form 3A below), together with some public notices (see Form 4A below), inviting the applicants to return the Petition to the Registry for formal consideration by the Chancellor or the Archdeacon after the notices have been displayed for at least 28 days. The applicants are invited to display public notices of the proposed Petition inside and outside the parish church, and when the Petition is sent in to the Registry it should be accompanied by a certificate confirming that these notices have been displayed for the required period (see Form 4A below). This requirement allows third parties the opportunity to comment on proposals.

Notice of many applications must also be given on the diocesan website, and the timing of this notification will need to be synchronised with that of the public notices displayed at the church.

Any comments arising from the public notification of the faculty application are submitted to the Diocesan Registrar, who then forwards them, with the petition and the supporting papers from the DAC, to the Chancellor for a decision to be made. The faculty can then be issued, subject to the Chancellor’s views, and the works can be undertaken. When the works have been completed, a certificate to confirm completion is returned to the Registrar’s office (see Form 8 below).

Useful Forms

The following commonly used forms may be useful to parishes in the faculty process

Form 3A Petition – Parish
Form 4A – Public Notice – Normal
Form 8 – Certificate of Practical Completion

Note that these forms are blank templates, and of course the relevant details will need to be completed in each case. These forms apply to ordinary faculty applications; different forms may be required for applications involving works to trees, or for private applications, e.g. for reservation of a grave space. If in doubt, please consult the Registrar’s office for guidance.