Church construction planning begins with assembling an effective team. With the pastor at the helm, a group of individuals should be invited to be part of the planning team. Church staff and building professionals combine to create a team you can work with whether you are building a new church or renovating your existing facility.
Build Your Team Before You Build
Everyone can’t be on your building committee, and it’s wise to be picky in your choices of those who will influence decisions in the massive undertaking of building new church construction or renovating your existing building. Do your homework before assembling your team. When you get the right people together, everything works much better. Here is a checklist of some specifics to consider when you choose your building committee:
1. Owner’s representative
An owner’s representative can be helpful in both the planning stage and building process. Pastors who prefer not to have their hands in the middle of a building or renovation project find it helpful to hire someone to represent them. The representative should be someone who is good at solving problems, because various problems are bound to arise during the building process. They should be someone you have a lot of confidence in and who has good character.
The owner’s representative takes the pressure off the pastor in the day-to-day construction details, freeing him up to do the work of the ministry. They are a big help to the construction team during the building process, as they answer questions on behalf of the church that come up. The owner’s representative should have the following 5 characteristics:
- Team player
- Works well with the pastor
- Knows the heart of the church
- A good decision maker
2. Staff members
Other individuals a pastor may recruit to be on the building committee should have the same 5 qualities listed above, and be readily available for planning meetings, particularly before and during the design phase of the building process.
3. Civil engineer
A civil engineer conceives, designs, builds, and maintains infrastructure projects and systems.
When looking to hire an architect, ask them if they have ever drawn a church before. It’s vital you hire an architect who builds churches regularly and has a history of success. Here are some tips to finding a great church architect:
- Find church designs you like and find out who built them.
- Are they reputable?
- See some of their designs in person, even if you need to travel to do so.
- Do they do an excellent job?
- Are they humble enough to listen and adapt until they get the right design for the churches they draw?
- Can they come in on budget?
- Are they good at details?
- How much experience do they have?
- Remember—Don’t always go with the least expensive architect—they may cost you more over time.
When looking for a church contractor:
- Find someone you are comfortable with.
- Check their references and visit their finished works.
- Visit a work in progress to check how clean the job site is.
- Ask about their safety record: Are their job sites safe? Have they had any injuries or loss of life on their job sites?
- Check with their suppliers to find out if they pay their bills.
- Find out if they are ethical and moral in their work.
- Find a contractor who will identify all costs before building: utilities, development, furniture, playground equipment, etc.
- Find someone who will identify all costs in order to pinpoint the price per square foot.
- Look for a fair price and be sure all elements of the project are included in the price. (Note: a lot of discovery goes into this. Do you prefer chairs or theatre seats? What type of flooring do you want throughout the building? What type of hardware/locks? Etc.)
- What are the unique things your city requires? What about permits? You don’t want to get a building half built and then find out your contractor didn’t get the necessary permits.
- Ask for financial statements, and ask the contractor about their financial stability.
The beauty of Churches by Daniels lies in our skill and expertise at building construction coupled with our design-build process. In our design-build process, churches don’t have to find their own architect and other building professionals. Churches by Daniels employs architects with your budget in mind every step of the way. We find out how much you can afford to build, and design around that.
Checklist to Prepare Your Building Committee for the Task Ahead
- Understand planning and building is a process. It can be a positive experience for everyone involved.
- Trust among team members is foundational and necessary.
- Understand you are part of a team that is making critical decisions.
- Realize you’re dealing with a lot of money, and people’s lives.
- When asked what you want in a building, understand you may not be able to include everything you want, no matter how large your new construction or renovation is.
- Prioritize your needs and desires, and be open to phasing according to the most pressing needs.
- Plan for the present with the future in mind.
- Project excellence in every decision.
- There are a lot of vital decisions to be made about specialty areas when considering what elements to include in your project:
- Sound lights and video—what you see (also used for productions)
- Coffee bars—some equivalent to Starbucks
- Conference rooms
- Retreat areas
- Commercial kitchens
- Recording studio
- Play areas for the kids (indoors and outdoors)
- Expansive theming in children’s areas
- Youth buildings
Churches by Daniels helps churches achieve their ministry building goals with professional construction services. Take a look at the valuable resources in our
learning center and learn more about the church construction process.