If you are a member of your church council then you are a managing trustee of your church. Please take note of this terminology because the Consents system is built around and refers frequently to managing trustees. As you may already be aware, it is one of your main responsibilities to manage and maintain property belonging to your church, including how it is used and by whom.
You are also responsible for identifying when improvement work needs doing, though it is appreciated that some problems can be more obvious than others and professional advice may be required. For example, a leaking roof or heating problems can be easily identified and rectified but a wall showing signs of subsidence may need a professional survey before you decide whether immediate rectification work is necessary.
Your role is not only to put things right when they go wrong with your property but also to think of ways it can be improved (or even replaced) in line with your Mission and that of our Church. For example, your chapel may be small with limited facilities but you may learn that a more suitable building has become available nearby, or you may wish to add an extension in order to provide facilities for groups in your community.
Think of your role not only as a "fire fighter", who puts things right when they go wrong, but also in a proactive, creative and mission-focused capacity.
Once you have identified a need for property works in your church, you should check with your Consent Giving Body whether permission is needed before starting work. If consent is required you must create a new project and ensure that proposals are recorded in details on the project.
Some projects will require that you liaise with or have your project approved by the Connexional Team (Listed buildings, conversation areas and sharing agreements) who will provide support and guidance on your obligations in completing the project.
Final consent and permission to proceed will be given by the Consent Giving Body, provided that funds are in place, your project is viable and that it conforms to your church, circuit and district Mission.
If your building is listed or in a conservation area, the project must be approved by the Connexional Conservation Officer before final consent is given. Please note that if you start work without this approval then you may face legal and financial penalties.
After consent is granted and, provided that your project requires no additional approval (any contracts, including sale and purchase documents, leases, easements and ecumenical sharing agreements must still be checked by a Legal Officer in Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes (TMCP)), you can proceed with your project.
Please note that if changes are made to your work plans after consent, these must be agreed with the Consent Giving Body before you continue.