Churches in Ireland retain a considerable significance, they are often the most prominent buildings in their locality and possess architectural, historical and social significance.
Many churches have become neglected or abandoned. And many have suffered from incorrect repairs that were done most of the times with the best of intentions.
How many churches are falling down we don’t know but we know what can be done to avoid further damage:
- Do use experts. When it comes to repairing a church building getting the right advice is very important. Churches can be amongst the most complex of historic building types and the nature of their conservation often requires specialist advice. It is a false economy not to get proper advice before carrying out work. Bad repair works can be difficult and expensive to undo and can damage a building in the long-term.
- Do repair the parts of the building that need it. Remember, an aim of good conservation works is to do as much as necessary, yet as little as possible.
- Do make sure appropriate materials and repair techniques are used.
- Do make sure all interventions are reversible and where appropriate visually identifiable.
- Do identify and understand the reason for failure before undertaking repairs.
- Don’t over do it. Remember, minimal intervention should be the aim.
- Do engage tradespeople with skills in traditional building methods or experienced conservation professionals.
The primary aim of conservation is to prolong the life of something of value. Churches provide unique evidence of our past, they are witnesses to centuries of worship, architectural skill and community history. Let’s do what we can to avoid seeing churches falling down.
Isabel Barros is a RIAI registered Architect accredited in Conservation at Grade 3, please contact us today if you need assistance with your Church project. We can also help in the procurement of grant funding to assist with repair and/or maintenance works.
Recommended reading: Old Buildings: Why Things Go Wrong