The Church Building Process: Getting Started Right

From pews to doors to lighting and sound… Do I need a youth center? How big should I build? How much can I afford to build?

Whether you want to add to your current facility, renovate or start from scratch and build something new, you have questions! Thinking about the worship facility that will be best for your congregation can be more than a little overwhelming and is enough to make anyone want to run and hide. First things first:

Where do I start?

A simple answer to a big question: with the NACDB. Our tried and true process makes starting a project simple as pie. Start by taking a few minutes to fill out a Cost Evaluation Form on our site and we’ll put you in touch with a design-builder that fits your specific needs.

Once you’re paired with the right design-builder, your worship facility starts to take shape. Remember: Money is saved in the Preliminary Design/Build Services (planning) phase, not in the construction phase.

You’ll start with a Needs Assessment.

Needs Assessment includes meetings with the Building Committee and Staff to gather information about ministry objectives, congregation demographics, and budget parameters. This research will help determine the desired exterior image of the new facility, optimal size and character of the spaces, relationship of spaces, and other ministry directed facility issues. You’ll discuss and get recommendation on:

  • Long-range plans and goals of the Church
  • The Church’s long-range ministry plan
  • Financial needs and abilities, plus recommendations and guidance on financing and lender options
  • Current and future programming needs
  • Future space needs
  • Master Plan of the ministry and traffic flow for the complete build-out of the church’s new property

And after all of that is done, your vision becomes a vision! 

A schematic architectural design will be developed to further establish the size and character of the project. The schematic design will include the floor plans and elevations for the initial facility of the Master Plan and further define the building layouts. The schematic design package will provide information to develop a preliminary budget estimate for the initial facility. The design-builder will sometimes solicit bids from consultants and subcontractors to help provide an initial construction estimate for the owner’s review and approval.

So that’s it! So you’re probably thinking: “That’s a lot! How long is this going to take?” 

Building a church is a commercial scale development that requires considerable attention to literally hundreds of details. Historical averages indicate that it takes 18 to 21 months for the entire process. It can take as little as 12 months for a very motivated church. However, there are many variables that are outside the control of the owner and the design-builder. The most significant of these are civil engineering issues. Every municipality has different requirements and document review times can vary wildly from city to city.
There are three main phases to the life of a project:
  • Preliminary Design/Build Services: 3 to 4 months
  • Construction Documents: 3 to 8 months
  • Construction: 7 to 24 months

Building a worship facility is a huge process, but you don’t need to walk blindly through it. Start at the top and work your way down and you’ll have the facility that meets your needs at a price you can afford.

Click here for a free estimate and have a Blessed Day!