Questions for Retiring Custodians, Janitors and Maintenance Supervisors

Religious buildings are complicated – big boilers, commercial air conditioning systems, stained glass, pipe organs, slate roofs, masonry and artwork.  Inside religious buildings are terrazzo, tile, wood, concrete, and sometimes rubber floors. Add to that the ability of a custodian to deal with various agendas, myths, committee politics, tight budgets, and the mission of the congregation, and we then know it takes a special person to maintain our buildings.

And, then they retire.  What can your congregation do to smooth the transition from an experience maintenance person to someone just starting out? 

We suggest voice recordings, and now digital video recordings, of the retiring person.  Here are some questions to ask.  If you know of others, please share them so we can add to this list?


Where are your records for maintenance?  Can we have them?

Have you kept a list of repairs to parts of the buildings?  Can we have them?

Are there records showing when each major addition, repair, and replacement happened?

Have you kept warranties and guarantees for equipment purchases?  Where are they?

About the physical plant:

Where are the underground pipes and wires located?  Do you have a map of them?

Do we have grease traps?  How do you maintain them?

Where are the heating zones in our building?

Where are the main electric, gas and water meters located?

Where are the main water and natural gas valves in case of an emergency?

Do the local police, fire, and emergency responders know where to turn off electric, gas, etc?

How do the fire and security systems work?

Where are our fire extinguishers?  Are they in good working order?

Are there any blueprints and specifications we don’t know about?

Are extra copies of building plans and important documents kept off site in a secure place?

Can we work with you to label unlabeled electric circuit breakers, pipes, ducts and electric conduit? 

Are there panel directories mounted inside electrical panel covers showing what each circuit breaker controls?

Is the Certificate of Occupancy framed and mounted?

Anticipating future problems:

What repairs or replacements do you foresee for roofs, boilers, air conditioning systems, painted surfaces, and structural repairs?


Who are vendors we can currently trust?  Lighting, maintenance supplies, etc.

Who are contractors we can currently trust?  Heating, roofing, masonry, plumbing, etc.

What relationship do we have with the local fire department?  Fire marshal?  Police?

Are the names and phone numbers of contacts at utilities, maintenance, and service firms readily available?



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