Having a construction management company like Churches by Daniels involved in this process can provide much needed expertise, saving you from potential huge expenses and making disastrous mistakes.
Below is an example to illustrate the importance of correctly selecting the location for your new church building.
A church ministry we where involved with started the process of looking at purchasing a piece of land for their church building – it was a $2 million dollar purchase – and we advised them to check the wetlands and the easements. They were very excited about the property, but when they checked the wetlands, they found that it ran across the property in strips that made the land totally unusable for what they wanted. In addition, the land had several easements on it that made it unusable. So this ministry would have spent $2 million dollars had they not checked with an engineer before they purchased the property.
When purchasing property for your church or ministry, beware! Make sure that you get engineers involved when looking at a potential site or property. Get all the knowledge you can about the land and property, and see if there is anything that you do not know about what you are trying to buy. We’ve seen properties where the land looked great and the price was good, however, when we did a little investigation, we discovered that the state was going to be building a highway through it and they were going to condemn the property. So buyer beware when purchasing property and get a church building consultant, like Churches by Daniels involved in the process from early on so we can help avoid headaches like this.
Is it really all about Location! Location! Location?
When it comes to buying property it’s often said, “Location! Location! Location!” However, this is not necessarily always true.
Look to the Future
A good example was a church that purchased a building for their church in a downtown area where people were moving out. They saw potential and benefits others weren’t seeing, for example, on a Sunday there was easy access and the members could be there from anywhere in town in just a few minutes. Over the years, people and businesses started moving back into that area. If they would have initially moved out into an area where there was a lot of growth, it would have cost them a great deal more money. This church was bought existing building for pennies on the dollar, and refurbished it. It worked out to be an excellent deal for them.
Fitting In With Your Surroundings
A lot of times there is a certain place you need to be. That’s where prayer helps! You should always have in mind that buildings should be in keeping with your surroundings. You see churches who will buy a nice piece of land, with really nice surroundings, and then they will place a big, metal building on the lot, which does not complement the surrounding area, and causes you to make a spectacle of yourself. On the other hand, out in a rural area, metal buildings work really nice. Just make sure that whatever you build is in keeping with your surroundings.
What to Be Aware Of When Purchasing Property for Your Church
There is a great deal of regulations that churches must be aware of before they consider purchasing a piece of land. The single most important thing to do before you buy a piece of land is to hire a civil engineer to help with you understand all of the city regulations such as:
- parking regulations. What are your parking regulations? How many people can you get on that piece of property?
- zoning regulations: Is it zoned properly? Then you have flood zones and wetland studies that need to be done.
- are there utilities that go to your land? If there are not, you may have to put in a septic system, water system, or even a fire suppression system.
In addition to complying with all government regulations, some places will require you to have extensive studies done, for things such as trees or endangered animals. Engineers will be able to help you with all of this, and they also will be able to help you do things like soil tests. This is where they would test for any contamination that might have been on that soil, which if found, would make you responsible for cleaning it up. Civil engineers can also help you come up with a “best land use” plan. Another term we use is “site-balancing”, which is when we look at the site to make sure there is enough dirt on it so that you do not have to bring in fill, or if there is sufficient dirt you will not have to take off a lot of fill. Either one can cost you a good deal of money. You want the site to balance or be as close to balanced as possible. You also want as much sheet drainage as you can get. Sheet drainage means that the water runs across the top of the land, rather than going into a piping system under the ground, with storm sewers.
Anytime you are at the point of purchasing land, you should begin utilizing all the resources you can. Time is an extremely valuable asset, so utilize all of the time that the civil engineer is taking to run tests and do studies. Focus on raising as much money as possible and creating a worthwhile project. Also focus on developing a good budgeting plan. Put some contingency in your budgets and in doing so, you will take some of the stress off of yourself. If you are running behind on every budget, and you are running behind on the purchase of your land, your people will get tired. You want your church family to always be motivated and encouraged with any project you may do. So, make sure you handle your money wisely and also make sure that you have enough money left over to have a celebration! Let your people win. The Bible talks about your children, and it says that we should not frustrate the grace that is upon them. We should have the same mindset with our parishioners. When you ask them to give to a project, make sure that it is going to succeed!