Successful church building tips

April 18, 2002

Be careful to analyze and review all site work plans prior to finalizing budgets. We have seen several churches have to deal with the perils of various site situations, especially those dealing with property with varying topography. Be advised that bringing in or moving dirt can be very expensive. When you are preparing the project budget, make sure that you invest up front in the appropriate testing and evaluation to insure that you understand the scope and budget of site work. Make sure that the civil engineer gives a very good, detailed estimate on the volume of dirt that needs to be moved or brought in. Poor soils area may need to be mucked out and replaced with good soil. Also, get an idea from soil borings if there is a need for rock to be removed. Tree removal and clearing can cost thousands of dollars per acre.

Banks loan money based on their perceived risk. A well done financial package may make help you get the financing you need or at least help get the best possible terms with respect to down payment, interest rate and schedule of payments. One-half of a percentage point reduction on a one million-dollar loan can save over $25,000 in the first 5 years.

Scripture says that you have not because you ask not. Arks Gift in Kind training teaches you how to ask vendors and suppliers to donate material and labor to your building project. We have seen churches receive donations of entire roofs, air conditioning, carpet, paint, heavy equipment rental and other costly goods and services, just because the asked.

The two most effective times of the year to run a capital campaign are in the fall after school is back in session and before Thanksgiving, and in the spring, just after Easter.

Chairs will allow you to seat 15-20% more people in the same space.

When contemplating building, the first person you should call is not an architect or a builder. No one knows what you need better than you do. Your church can easily learn to determine what you need to build without paying an architect or builder to help you discover this. Knowing what you need and what you can afford before talking to an architect or builder can provide substantial savings.

Understanding the current demographic composition of your congregation is key to predicting the future. If you are not now taking accurate weekly attendance by location (worship, Sunday school, nursery, toddlers, by school grade), then start next week. Knowing who you are is key to predicting your future space requirements for your programs. If

Nursery and toddler rooms will probably need around 35 sq ft per child, and the number gets less as the children get older. If you are going to operate a day care out of the church, check with local state regulations.

What are the most common things that your congregation like about your church, that attracted them to you or kept them there? And what do they think are the areas of greatest opportunity for improvement? If you don't know, ask! An annual survey can help keep you on top of these important issues and can help you plan for the future.

Topics: Architecture and Construction , Building Design & Construction , Furniture & Space Planning

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