Church building works

06 August 2019

When planning extensions or alterations to your church this is described as building works. While these works are in progress, it’s important you have adequate insurance in place.


The terms and clauses in your building contract usually specify who has responsibility to insure the works in progress and materials on site. It is very important that you understand the insurance implications of building works and when you need to contact us.

Church insurance policy cover for building works

Our church insurance automatically covers contract works and site materials where contracts do not exceed £150,000 (including VAT and fees) and the contract is in line with clause 5.4b of the 2005 JCT Agreement for Minor Building Works, or similar. If you have limited cover for your buildings this may not meet your contractual obligations. You should check your schedule for the extent of your cover and discuss this with your architect. 

In all other circumstances, please complete a building works questionnaire. We can then provide a quote for suitable insurance cover based on your circumstances.

Types of building works contracts

There are two main types of contractual arrangements your Methodist church will enter during building works.

Formal contracts

A formal contract will normally be a Joint Contract Tribunal (JCT) contract which covers the arrangements of a building project in detail.

The type of building contract you have entered will determine whether the Church Council is responsible for the insurance. If your church is responsible for insurance, we can provide you with a quote to cover the contract works. Call us on 0345 606 1331.
Non-formal contracts
A non-formal contract may take the form of an informal written agreement based on an exchange of letters, detailing the work in broad terms and the price to be paid.
We do not need to be told about an exchange of letters for minor contract works where the contractor is responsible for loss or damage to the contract works and site materials.
If the contractor is not responsible for the site and materials you will need to provide more information about the work to us on our non-formal contract (exchange of letters) form. 
Non-formal contract form

Hot works

Hot works describe welding, grinding, the use of open flames or the application of heat. Fires during building works can often be attributed to “hot works”. When hot works are present, there are certain procedures that must be followed to maintain a safe environment. We’ll also need your contractor to complete a hot works permit.

Completed building works

If the contract works include capital additions, for example an extension, we may need to update the buildings sums insured on your church insurance. It’s worth asking your architect to advise on an appropriate value based on the work. 

Please let us know if this is the case and one of team will be able to update your policy. We will also endeavour to arrange with our team of surveyors for a resurvey and revaluation of the building following sizeable projects.

Considering contract works at your Methodist church?

If any of the following apply please call us:

  • Works are for over £150,000 
  • Church is closing during the works
  • Scaffolding will be needed
  • Hot works are involved e.g. welding

If you do need to call us, make sure you have ready: 

  • Date of the work  
  • Cost estimate  
  • Type of work  
  • Details of any contract 
We may need to ask you to complete a building works questionnaire
Please contact us for guidance if you are having scaffolding erected as metal theft will not normally be covered unless you can meet certain conditions. 


Building works relates to the actual work being done to your church whereas whereas contract works is the type of insurance you would take out to cover this activity.

Your volunteers may be involved in aspects of the works, such as painting and decorating. As with anyone who uses your premises, you have a responsibility for ensuring that they are kept safe.

Our made simple guide on your responsibility for people on church premises gives you a summary of what your church may need to consider.

We do not normally consider a church undergoing building works as being unoccupied if the works are relatively short term, so there may be no changes to your policy.

If your church will be unoccupied prior to commencement or following completion of the contract works, please contact us on 0345 606 1331 as soon as possible as it may be necessary for us to amend your cover.

If the building works overrun, please contact us immediately. 

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