Often times when churches begin a new building project they fail to consider certain items which would ultimately lead to a better facilitated building project. The following are a list of five common mistakes churches make when starting the construction process and also solutions for correcting these mistakes:
1. Team Formation
Typically churches do not spend enough time creating a team. The team includes the owner/pastor, the architects, the engineers, the interior designer, and the builder. If you take the time to coordinate each of these parties and schedule regular meetings and assign tasks, you should have a smooth process. At the conclusion of each meeting, tasks should be assigned to each team member which should be completed by the next meeting. In addition, it is imperative that you, as a church, feel like all team members have the best interest of the church at heart. If you do not feel that this is the case, then you should consider changing your team. Through prayer you will be able to come up with a team of individuals that fits you and has concern for your interests and vision.
Over the past few years, inflation has been growing by double digits. Churches are having a difficult time saving enough money to keep up with the inflation rate. You must make the planning process move as quickly as possible in today’s economic world, the project cannot be allowed to sit for long periods of time. For example, a $10 million project at 12% inflation will cost you $3287.00/day or $1.2 million/year. The inflation is higher than the interest rate, so it will actually save the church money to move forward as quickly as possible.
One way to move the project forward quickly is to have one person coordinating all parties and schedules which will save the church a great deal of money in the long run. You should have this person make sure that each member always gets all the information that is needed. Many times churches need to come up with answers for certain issues and it is difficult for them to come up with those answers quickly, however, by having one person oversee the process, they can make sure that all questions are being resolved and that excuses are not being made by team members when a task is not completed. This person would be in charge of keeping all team members on task and schedule.
3. Understanding Plans
Oftentimes, when the plans are complete, the owners/pastors do not know what is actually in them. You should go through every set of plans with the architects and engineers and you should sign off on them if they are satisfactory. For most laymen, it’s very difficult to understand what is in a set of specifications or plans. If you are in this situation you should ask for samples of what items will look like or pictures of what will actually be in your building. This will help you get a better idea of what your building will actually look like. You must know everything you are getting.
Budgets are foreign to most churches, but they are an integral part of driving a construction project. You must have a budget and you must have a schedule. Budgets and schedules are like road maps, without either of these two items, you will not know where you are going. Every item in the budget must be assigned a specific price. There will usually be 30‐60 items included in your budget. The church must understand the budget /schedule and stick to it! If you get rid of one thing to get another thing, you must make sure that the costs are equalized. Churches that do not do this will always struggle with a budget. You must be budget‐driven!
5. Owners Representative
An owner’s representative between the architects, engineers, and builder is extremely important. They can be very helpful to the entire process; however, you must make sure that you have someone with enough knowledge to oversee the project. It is also important for them to be fair, honest, and have impeccable integrity. You cannot have someone who might stir up trouble on a construction project. This person must be a problem‐solver. If you have someone like this they will be a huge blessing to you! It will be important for this person to remember that the church is building a new facility, not a space ship. What I mean is that you will not reach perfection on a construction site. There are allowable tolerances within the construction industry, and the reason for this is because there is only one shot to build the building. Not all problems can be recognized in the initial design, and then reformulated for a second prototype. You only have one shot to build a new facility, so you make it as correct as possible when you build it. Churches should be aware of each of these issues so that they can have the greatest building experience possible. Building a new facility should not be a toilsome process that pits one team member against another. It should be an enjoyable experience that focuses on reaching out and ministering to a local community of people as well as providing a message of hope for your community.
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