Category: Electrical Updates

Modernising Church Spaces: 21st Century Adaptations

Most churches throughout their life spans will be in need of modernising, the question is which 21st Century adaptation is your church in the most need of?

There would have been a time when churches were simple buildings.

Centuries ago, when they were built to be centres of the community, the priorities of the designers and engineers were a little different to what they are today. In the 13th and 14th Centuries when churches were rising from the ground on an almost yearly basis, architects and builders were more concerned with how resilient their new buildings would be to a forceful attack from an invasive army than the wily tricks of an opportunistic burglar.

Today’s churches have to serve multiple functions. Although they’re still very much considered a part of the community, it’s also vital that they have the kind of modern features expected of any other multi-purpose venue. The following 21st Century adaptations might not be crucial additions for every church, but they are fast becoming the standard amongst new builds. How many changes does your church need to make, to keep up with the times?

Integrated PA System

Have you arrived late to a Sunday Service and found that you’re lip-reading the revered for the next hour? High-quality speaker systems have been dropping in price year-on-year for the last decade, making this a great time to invest in one for your church. With a good set of speakers correctly positioned and your reverend fitted with a microphone your sermons will be perfectly audible for the entire congregation to hear.

New Lighting

Although many argue that the dramatic shadows provided by a lack of lighting in churches is part and parcel of the experience, we understand that many older people and those with poor eyesight would beg to differ. Reading, whether it be from a service sheet or a hymn book, is an integral component of attending church so it only follows that you should provide your congregation with the adequate lighting to do so. There are a handful of lighting companies who specialise in providing soft lighting for churches that aim to blend seamlessly with standard church decor.

Security Systems

Many rural churches might think that they don’t have to worry about security, but the sad truth is that it’s better to be safe than sorry. You don’t necessarily need a high-tech security system to protect your church, but it is worth investing in quality locks and ensuring that your access points are all adequately secured. Churches can often be easy targets for opportunistic thieves and whilst you might not have much to lose, the damage caused to the building can often be a hefty toll to pay.

Disabled Access

Finally, regardless of the age of your building it is crucial that your church stands up to the rigorous health and safety regulations that every public building should uphold. Although some listed buildings are often exempt from making structural changes, it’s growing increasingly necessary for churches to fit disabled access features so that people of all abilities can get easy, safe access to their buildings.

If you need a second opinion on what adaptations your church needs to make, you can send us an email using the ‘Reach Out’ page. 

The Problems with Church Kitchens

For many people it’s up to debate if places of worship should offer functioning kitchens within their hallowed grounds.

The concept of a church, for most people, is defined by convention – they are considered to be places of worship, only suitable for pews, an altar and a font.

After all, if traditionalism belongs anywhere, then it belongs in the church, an institution whose roots run deep into the historical fabric of our country. Although it’s hard to believe that such conventions are enforced so regimentally in this day and age it’s important to remember that, for many church goers, the idea of installing a kitchen in the back of a centuries old religious building will be preposterous for some and down-right offensive to others.

As much as a fully-functioning kitchen can aid a church greatly by supporting their community groups and providing catering facilities for event hire – a new kitchen build can also prove to be the cause of many problems in the future:

Decor in line with church

It might seem antecedent to the deep nature of religion, but the dissonance between the aesthetics of a modern kitchen and the original decor can often be enough to blight a church for the rest of its existence. Installing a modern kitchen that fits in with the rest of the building’s architecture can be an expensive endeavour and might well cost much more than most committees have the stomach for.

Cost of ongoing maintenance

Once a kitchen is built it must be maintained. We’ve often found that church kitchens are used much more than domestic kitchens, this inevitably leads to misuse and degradation. Unfortunately, as is often the case with communal spaces, damage can be done over long periods of time which goes unreported, resulting in potentially dangerous hazards developing, not to mention expensive repair bills.

Appliance misuse and failure

The costs of fitting a kitchen do not end when you’ve settled up with the builders. Once it’s been fitted you need to have it kitted out with all the necessary appliances that you’d expect: dishwasher, kettle, microwave. All of these items need to be robust enough to last repeated use and resist damage – usually expensive, catering-standard appliances are the only real option. Buying second hand or on the cheap could cost more in the longer oven and it could be embarrassing should a paying group call to report the Lamona oven not heating up.

Irrevocable change to building

The main problem builders and designers have with fitting kitchens is getting the permission to make the changes in the first place. Older churches are usually listed which essentially means reels of red tape that block all manner of development. Simply put: trying to get a functional, modern kitchen installed in an old church can be next to impossible unless you have smart (usually expensive) designs and the connections with the council to get it approved.

Should you still want to get your kitchen built or you need help maintaining your existing one, you can contact us here for some further advice. 

Electrical Warning Signs That You Should Pay Attention To

There are many things that can go wrong with a church over time…

…the electrics are usually the main offenders in 20th Century builds.

It can be easy to overlook the deteriorating state of your church’s electrical infrastructure. After all, unless there are obvious risk like loose wires or flickering lights, you might not be aware that you even have a problem. Unfortunately, there are plenty of examples of religious buildings that are simply shut down after failing a basic electrical inspection.

There are a whole range of different risks that faulty or aged electrical wiring can cause your building. Just the smallest error made by the original electricians, decades ago, could potentially put your congregation and other church users at risk. Of course, the level of degradation of your wiring depends on when your church was built – if you’re in any doubt as to the state of your church electrics then you should consider calling a registered electrician in to fully test and asses your church.

Here are just a few of the warning signs you should look out for that could suggest that your church’s electrics need inspecting:

Constantly tripping circuit board

Is power constantly being cut in your church? Do you find that your priest is constantly running to the back to reset the circuit breaker? If so, there could be a chance that you have a serious problem with your church’s electrics. It might well be that you simply have too many appliances running though the circuit at one point, however it could also indicate that you have a short circuit somewhere in the building – if in doubt, get it checked.

Sparking sockets/breakers

Electricity is a powerful element that can cause serious harm, if you see a spark then you should contact an electrician immediately. There are many reasons why sparks could be coming from your sockets or breakers, it could be that an ac to dc power supply needs to be installed to control the flow of electricity from the National Grid. It could also suggest that your appliances are broken or in need of replacement, get everything checked out if in doubt.

Burning smells or smoke

If you ever detect an acrid burning smell or see white smoke appear when you turn on a light or an appliance, then you should immediately turn off/unplug the offending light or appliance at the mains. Electrical fires can often start without any kind of warning, so it’s important to act quickly and call an electrician to inspect the entire place.

Wiring hidden in walls or under floor boards can can slowly heat and degrade over time which can lead to a serious fire risk – this is why it’s important to check your electrics on an annual basis.

Failing to get your church’s electrics tested regularly is a negligent action which could potentially harm your congregation.

Never take a risk – always err on the side of caution.