2 pipe wrenches working on a steel pipe
Planning for Building Maintenance
Planning for Building Maintenance

"Deferred Maintenance" and "Building Reserves" are terms that are often tossed around when talking about the budget, but what do they mean?

Deferred maintenance is the practice of postponing maintenance in order to save costs, especially in cases where a congregation has a tight budget. This practice can result in higher costs, such as a leaky roof or piping causing water damage, frayed carpeting or peeling paint influencing a visitor's decision whether or not to return, or a broken sidewalk causing a personal injury.

Congregational boards that don't budget for maintenance find themselves in crisis mode when there is a major failure that needs to be addressed, often with a unplanned financial ask of the congregation. And they may never get around to the non-critical updates to the building and grounds that are painfully obvious to newcomers.

Developing a Reserves Plan is a way to understand the cost and potential impact of deferred maintenance and plan for strategic maintenance of your building and grounds. 

This will enable you to add a sensible Building Reserves line item to your budget backed up by the Reserves Plan. This can make the Building Reserves line item more tangible, and can also build trust in the board being good stewards of members' financial gifts.


About the Author

  • Rev. Renee Ruchotzke (ruh-HUT-skee) has served as a Congregational Life Consultant in the Central East Region since September of 2010. She serves congregation in Northeast Ohio and Western New York. She is part of the LeaderLab Design team providing Leadership Development resources and other trainings to congregations.

For more information contact conglife@uua.org.

Like, Share, Print, or Bookmark