Cemeteries and Crematorium

Maintaining Memorials

Maintaining Memorials

Responsibility for the overall safety (duty of care) within a burial ground lies with the burial authority to ensure that, as far as reasonably, their sites are maintained in a safe condition.

It is the grave owner's (deed holder) responsibility to maintain memorials in a good condition throughout the period of the exclusive right of burial.

Memorial mason's are legally liable for the work they carry out and should ensure that memorials are erected safely and in accordance with current standards. Should a burial authority identify a memorial that has become unstable due to non-compliant installation within 6 years of installation, the memorial mason must rectify the matter free of charge. 

Cemetery staff carry out regular inspections of all memorials at least once every 5 years. Where this inspection programme identifies unsafe memorials we have a responsibility to ensure such memorials are not a danger to visitors and employees in the cemetery.

Why are we testing memorials?

There has been a number of accidents over the past few years involving members of the public in cemeteries across the country casued by past poor installation methods.

What happens if a memorial is identified as being unstable?

Where possible, we will contact the grave owner, advise them of the problem and ask them to make the memorial permanently safe. Any repairs should only be carried out by an approved memorial mason. Notices are posted within the cemetery grounds about the safety inspection process. We encourage all grave owners and visitors to keep contact details up to date so we can inform them of future memorial inspections. Where grave owner's cannot be traced the burial authority will make a decision on how to deal with the memorial.

How do we test?

Trained staff carry out a full visual inspection identifying the type of memorial and its condition. Using slight hand pressure, the stability of the memorial is measured to ensure it isn't a danger to the public. This simple assessment is the primary test for all memorials, except those over 2.5 metres in height or complex structures.

What to do if you are advised your memorial is unsafe?

We understand this news may be upsetting and we apologise for any distress caused. If your memorial requires work to make it safe, you can employ a memorial mason to reinstate the memorial's foundation or carry out the repair work.

What are we doing now?

We are continuing to implement a safety inspection programme of memorials within council-managed cemeteries. We will do all we can to ease the upset that may be caused by this work.

How can you help?

Ensure your contact details are up-to-date so we can get in touch if there are any problems. For peace for mind, it is recommended that all owners of graves with memorials have an appropraite insurance policy. This will cover any repairs that may be required and public liability.