Streamlining your Ministry Expansion

Streamlining your Ministry Expansion

By Chad Charon, PBS

When you are looking to build, partnering together with a design/build firm that understands ministry and has a streamlined and sequential approach to planning is critical to the success of your project.  There are many dynamics when planning for a new ministry project, not the least of these including the multiple opinions of committee members or your leadership team.  So, the unity of process becomes that much more important to the overall success of your planning.

Members of the planning team should not be encumbered by an exhaustive and rigid process, yet should experience a simple, thorough and flexible approach to planning.  Below is an example of a streamlined process for planning your ministry expansion or new construction project:

  • Scope Development / Vision Casting:

Your design/build (d/b) team is helping you work through your vision.  Your d/b team should not be telling you how to run your ministry, but should be guiding you through the development of a tool that will accommodate the needs of your ministry.  In this first phase of planning they should be listening to the individuals responsible for each area of ministry and the needs they have.  Their ability to listen will be evident by the questions you are asked.  The experience and knowledge of your design/build team can then help guide you through the alignment of your overall ministry needs creating a balanced solution for planning.

  • Design Development:

Now that you have alignment with your various areas of ministry your d/b team can move into pre-construction planning which might include master plan development and detailed preliminary design development.  This work will be specific to your project, but could include site planning, detailed floor plan layouts, 2D elevations and 3D color renderings.  Once the overall design planning has occurred and leadership is in agreement, a comprehensive accounting of the costs will commence in order to determine that the plan as approved is in alignment with the stewardship of the ministry.  This can inevitably take some time back and forth as you fit the right building tool within your approved budget.  The key here is that you are counting your costs before moving into final construction documents and subsequent construction on a project that may not be affordable.  Once the project budget and design are in alignment you are able to move into a final design/build agreement with a lump sum guaranteed maximum price (GMP).

  • Construction Documents:

Once your leadership is unified with the design and construction agreement your d/b team will immediately begin the process of preparing final construction documentation.  This will generally include all site, architectural and structural, Mechanical/Electrical and Plumbing as well as audio/visual and lighting engineering.  In addition, this work will include coordination and planning with the appropriate local, county and state authorities in preparation for and procurement of the required project permits.

  • Construction:

Your design/build team should pursue, if at all possible a partial permit release.  This will often allow for them to begin site work in advance of the final release of building permit which, if allowed will help expedite the construction process.  As construction begins your design/build team will professionally manage and coordinate all suppliers and on-site personnel including the coordination and preparation of all construction related documentation and activities for your project.

  • Occupancy:

As construction nears completion your design/build team will perform a thorough review of all construction details to ensure that all requirements have been met, remaining items have been resolved and the ministry has a clear understanding of the projects components.

PBS is a design/build firm specializing in the planning, design and construction of worship facilities throughout Illinois, NW Indiana and Eastern Wisconsin. Through our 5-step delivery process ( we work closely together those we are partnering with as our working relationship will often span a number of years.  The PBS team is comprised of Certified Church Consultants and is in leadership as a member of the National Association of Church Design Builders (NACDB).  As a part of this National Association we bring to our customers opportunities to partner through PBS with a comprehensive team of professionals who provide churches with the systems and resources they need for a fully integrated project.

Chad Charon is the Vice President of PBS Companies, a design/build firm in its 26th year of operation. PBS specializes in the planning, design and construction of worship facilities throughout Illinois and Eastern Wisconsin. As a design/build firm, research has proven that the more planning and coordination that occurs under one umbrella, the more opportunity there will be for project success by way of cost effective planning and overall construction efficiencies.