6 Critical Steps During the Architect and Design Process for Church Construction

You’re probably feeling excited (and a bit overwhelmed!) as you approach the architect and design phase for your church construction project. After months, even years, of dreaming about your new church building, you finally get to put the plans on paper!

However, before you start drafting the construction documents, there are several other essential components you need to think through during the architect and design process to ensure your church construction project goes seamlessly.

We’ve created a helpful guide to the architect and design process to help you understand each step along the way—and a few tips for hiring the best church architect and designer for your project!

Why Is the Architect and Design Process of Church Construction Important?

The architect and design process is one of the most crucial phases of the construction process—it ensures church space is inviting, functional, and true to your ministry vision.

It can take a long time to plan your church project before construction even begins. However, it’s important to take your time during the design phase to save time, money, and future hassles during the building process. Read this helpful blog to understand how long it takes to plan church construction.

The Architect and Design Process

You can expect to walk through these steps during the architect and design phase of the church construction process:

1. Needs Assessment

Before you start designing your church building, your architect must understand your church’s current and future needs.

How large is your congregation? What programs do you offer? Do you need lots of space for children’s ministry? How rapidly is your church growing? These are all types of questions you can expect to answer during this phase of the architect and design process.

During your needs assessment, consider investing in value engineering. This collaborative, creative effort results in cost savings, timely completion, and focused priorities for your church building before the construction process begins.

Ultimately, value engineering will maximize the value of your church by achieving your construction project’s desired function at the lowest cost!

2. Land Development

During the land development phase, your architect will look into the jurisdiction, zoning, building codes, and other requirements necessary to build your church.

If you haven’t bought land yet, this is also a great time to consider the visibility, accessibility, cost, and access to utilities on your property before you finalize your purchase.

3. Schematic Design

Think of the schematic design as the skeleton for your church—just the bones. Your designer will create preliminary drawings, like floor plans and site plans, for your church building during this step. This design will help you visualize the general look of your church, but it won’t include all the design details yet, like the materials your contractor will use.

The schematic design also includes the types of utilities used and a rough estimate of where they might be. Usually, after developing the schematic design, your designer will give you a project cost estimate.

4. Design Development

During the design development phase, your contractor will begin defining and developing the features of your church that make it unique.

Your designer will determine the materials for the building exterior, interior layouts, and room sizes. They will also determine the placement of utilities, like HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems, and the infrastructure for your audio and visual needs, like sound systems, stage layout, and lighting systems.

You’ll also receive an updated cost estimate at this point in the process that reflects the materials and design details you’ve chosen. 

5. Construction Documents

Once you’ve finalized your design during the design development phase, your architect will begin to work on the final specifications and drawings, otherwise known as construction documents, that are needed to obtain a building permit.

Your architect will work through the entire permit process with you, and once the permit is obtained, you can begin to use your construction documents to hire your construction contractor.

6. Construction Administration

Once you’ve hired a construction contractor, your architect takes a step back and serves as an administrator of the building process. Your architect:

  • Takes photos and writes field reports to record progress
  • Answers the contractor’s questions
  • Makes necessary changes to the construction documents
  • Verifies you are paying the correct amount to your contractor at the right time

For additional help during the church architect and design process, read our Church Construction Planning Guide.

How to Hire the Right Architect and Designer

As you can see, the architect and design processes are closely intertwined. When you work with two separate entities for your design and architecture, you risk miscommunication, extended project timelines, and costly errors.

That’s why it’s critical to choose a company that completes the design and architecture for your project together, like Churches by Daniels. Our team understands the importance of collaboration between the pastor, architects, designers, engineers, and construction professionals for a seamless church construction project.

Partner with Churches by Daniels for a Seamless Architect and Design Process

For over 40 years, we’ve worked with pastors across the country to build spacious, welcoming church facilities. And we’re ready to partner with you, too!

Enjoy these benefits of working with Churches by Daniels during the architect and design process:

  • Customized Design—We ensure your church design matches your unique culture, worship style, programs, and vision.
  • Cost Reduction—We monitor coordination between architects, designers, engineers, and the construction team to help you best steward your investment.
  • Time Savings— We manage your design project timeline so that you can worship in your new church building sooner!

Visit our church architect and design page to learn how our trusted services can best serve you!