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Act 31, 1988 (XXXI) – Act anent Maintenance of Buildings. 27th May 1988

The General Assembly, desiring that the fabric of churches, halls and manses be preserved from decay, that the cost of repairs be lessened by constant attention to the condition of buildings, and that the church be not burdened by the upkeep of buildings no longer fully utilised, enact that;

(1) the Deacons’ Court of each congregation shall give regular attention to, and promptly see to the making good of, defects in all congregational property;

(2) the Committee on Buildings Maintenance shall prepare, and revise as necessary, an appropriate Buildings Return to be filled in by the Deacons’ Court at the time of each quinquennial visitation; this Return shall give details of the properties held by the congregation, of the Buildings Certificate required in (4) below, and of major repairs carried out since the last such return;

(3) at least three months before the date on which the Presbytery shall resolve to conduct a quinquennial visitation, the Presbytery Clerk shall send to the Clerk of the Deacons’ Court a copy of the Buildings Return specified in (2) above so that it may be timeously filled in and returned before the visitation takes place;

(4) the Deacons’ Court shall prior to each quinquennial visitation of the congregation by the Presbytery provide the Presbytery with a Buildings Certificate dated in the previous three months and under the hand of a qualified person, such a Certificate attesting that the fabric of all congregational property is in a good state of repair, subject to such defects (if any) as exist and are specified; the Deacons’ Court shall also complete the Buildings Return;

(5) the Presbytery shall consider the particulars of the above-mentioned Buildings Certificate and Return, and shall transmit a copy of the Buildings Return to the Clerk to the Buildings Committee, with their comments thereon. In particular the Presbytery shall formulate a view, conjointly with the congregation, as to whether sufficient use is being made of each property as to warrant its continued upkeep;

(6) the Committee on Buildings Maintenance shall not approve of applications for buildings grants and loans on property for which a duly completed Buildings Return has not been provided during the previous five years;

(7) if a congregation does not have a Deacons’ Court, the Finance Committee shall assume the functions and responsibilities allocated above to the Deacons’ Court:

(8) Acts V, 1939 and VIII, 1948 are hereby repealed.