If you are considering an addition, expansion, or renovation to your church facility, you are probably thrilled at the possibility of expanding your ministry. However, working directly with the commercial construction industry can be a confusing, daunting process to navigate alone.
We understand how important it is to feel confident in the contractor you choose to bring your ministry vision to life.
These six vital elements of the church builder hiring process will help you develop a successful partnership with your construction contractor to lead to a church building project that exceeds your expectations.
1. Find a Reliable Church Design-Builder
After choosing the location for your new church building or addition, it’s time to hire an architect and church construction company. However, hiring these two companies as separate entities is a mistake you might regret later.
Managing relationships with your architect, engineer, construction contractor, and other subcontractors can feel like a full-time job in addition to growing your ministry.
To experience a seamless, manageable church builder hiring process, consider investing in a church designer BEFORE hiring an architect. The design-build process is where one entity manages the architecture, engineering, and construction of your church facility. Working with a design-build contractor who brings all the players together at the same table, you will save time, money, and headaches. You’ll also enjoy simplified communication and a better overall result for your church building project.
To find a church design-builder that best fits your ministry needs, ask these critical questions during the hiring process:
- Are you licensed, trained, and qualified to design and plan church facilities?
- Are you familiar with our local building codes?
- How will you protect the safety of our congregation?
- How will you work within our timeline and budget?
- What do you include in your contractor’s fee?
- Do you carry liability insurance?
2. Create a Letter of Intent
Once you decide to partner with a design-build contractor, the next step is to create a letter of intent.
A letter of intent is an agreement that you and your church builder intend to work together on your church construction project. This letter is also an understanding that both parties will finalize negotiations in the future.
A letter of intent typically covers:
- Details of the proposed agreement
- Obligations of each party
- Pre-conditions to signing
- Target date to sign
A letter of intent is not intended to be a formal agreement, and therefore is not a replacement for a contract. However, a letter of intent can legally enforce confidentiality, non-solicitation, and exclusivity.
In the rare case that a problem occurs before your contract is finalized, a detailed letter of intent may be enforceable in court. Some legally-binding details to consider including in your letter of intent should include:
- Parties to the agreement
- The price
- The work to be done
- The date the work is to be completed
3. Develop a Construction Contract
Once you’ve developed a proposed agreement in a letter of intent, it’s critical to finalize the negotiations in a contract. A valid construction contract requires:
- An offer and acceptance of the request.
- Indication that something will be given in exchange for a promise.
- The capacity for both parties to legally uphold the contract.
- Both parties must agree to the contract.
- The subject of the agreement to be legal.
- The contract to be written out.
4. Write a Notice to Proceed
A Notice to Proceed is a letter that clearly states the project’s start date, which notifies your contractor that they can begin to work on your project. Your contractor can be sure that they will only start to incur costs after this document is received.
It’s critical to have the Notice to Proceed in writing because it establishes a link between the document and the contract. When in writing, this document can be legally enforced and help eliminate issues regarding deadlines, rights, or payment disputes.
5. Monitor the Pre-Construction Planning and Construction Process
Once the church builder hiring process is completed, your design-build contractor will begin working on pre-construction planning and construction for your church building.
During this time, your church builder should:
- Collect building permits and insurance requirements.
- Purchase materials and items needed for construction following the agreed-upon budget.
- Ensure that subcontractors complete quality construction by the agreed-upon deadline.
Although the legal documents and procedures are already in place to protect your church, you should monitor the construction process to ensure that your church builder adheres to the timeline and budget determined in your construction contract.
6. Ensure the Construction Contract Is Completed
When construction is complete, there are two more important steps to be aware of before your contractor’s job is finished:
A project punch list is the final walkthrough of tasks your contractor must complete before your project is complete. These items can include minor repairs, clean-up, and outstanding installations of furniture, light fixtures, and other furnishing or equipment.
Certificate of Substantial Completion
Once your contractor finishes the items on the punch list, they will present you with a certificate of substantial completion. The date of substantial completion is when construction is sufficiently complete, following the contract documents.
Simplify the Church Builder Hiring Process with Churches by Daniels
If you are searching for a reliable, experienced church builder that you can count on—we can help.
Since 1980, Churches by Daniels has specialized in building church facilities for pastors across the country. As your ministry partner, our transparent, collaborative team wants to offer you reliable, budget-friendly solutions for your church space.
Learn how we can help you accelerate your ministry with church pre-construction planning and management for your upcoming church building project.