When it comes to the construction industry, architects and contractors have been taught to distrust and even undermine each other to maintain control and protect their egos and pride. No wonder they are the second most litigated industry in the country. The result, according to Project Management Journal, is that over $.20 of every construction dollar goes towards claims and litigation. For the typical church building committee member, this cause and effect process brings about six phases of emotion and action:
*Search for the Guilty
*Punishment of the Innocent
*Praise and Honors for the Non-Participants
The two top reasons for the above phases and possible litigation are poor pre-planning and improper budgeting. A lack of early expectation management can become a spiral of frustration resulting in poor quality and in the worse case, fractured fellowship within the church. Often the first step of this spiral is needing to reduce the square footage of the design or reduce the quality of the building materials used due to budget constraints.
Life cycle costing is becoming is significant tool and should be taken into consideration. Over the course of 40 years, the life cycle cost of owning a church facility is 11% for actual construction costs, 14% for financing costs and 75% for maintenance and repair costs. What you thought was a great deal on low cost construction materials soon turns into a financial nightmare of repair costs due to poor quality.
The stewardship challenge begins long before drawings are drafted. It starts with reasonable expectations set and understood by the Building Committee months prior to designing. It has been said that the only place that a church facility can be built ahead of schedule, under budget and with only the finest materials is in a Building Committee Meeting! The fact is that on every project there are three key components to balance.
The desired size of the facility (square footage)
The need to stay within a budget to building the facility (finances)
The desire for the best materials used to building the facility
The challenge here is that the Building Committee must decide which two components are the most important. You cannot have all three! The difficulties that exist with these decisions can be manageable as long as the Project Team understands them early on in the process. A useful tool called Facility Modeling helps everyone understand the unique challenges that are before today's growing church. The following Facility Modeling Tool (based on national averages) can be used to get the Project Team started off on the right track.
Funds Available for Construction
Typical fundraising will raise 3.0 times the annual budget, not including special gifts. Financial Institutions will lend approximately 70% of the three year commitments on a separate note.
__________________ X 3.0 + _________________________ x .70 = _______________________
(Last Year's Budget) (Fundraising Goal) (Funds Immediately Available)
Church financing is becoming a very specialized industry. Financial Institutions will lend up to 3.0 times Last Year's Annual Budget. as long as the loan payment does not exceed 30% of the annual budget.
_________________ x 3.0 = __________________________
(Last Year's Budget) (Financing Available)
Funds on Hand
Money Currently in the Building Fund = __________________________________
Funds from the sale of Properties or Facilities = ____________________________
(Sale of Assets)
Funds available for Construction
________________________ + _______________________ + ______________________+ _________________________
(Fundraising Available) (Financing Available) (Building Funds) (Sale of Assets)
Amount of Ministry Space Needed
Today's contemporary worship style and the extensive use of music and drama is requiring almost 15 SF of space per seat. This allows practical seating, aisle ways and space for a large platform area.
________________ Seats x 15 SF/Seat = ____________________SF
In many churches the main foyer is used for banquets, classes, displays and is the primary area for meaningful fellowship. The recommendations is 1/3 the size of the main auditorium should be allocated for the foyer/narthex area.
________________ Seats x 15 SF/Seat = ____________________SF
Learning areas are becoming the most versatile of all areas. This versatility accommodates changing ministries and sizes of age groups and classroom attendances. A general calculation of 18 SF per Sanctuary/Auditorium seat will provide the total square footage needed for classrooms. This calculation is based on a 50% classroom attendance.
________________ Seats x 18 SF/Seat = ____________________SF
Individual spaces in the administration area can be:
*Dedicated Storage Areas
An average size of 200 SF can be used for each individual space to determine the square footage of the administration area.
________________ Spaces x 200 SF/Space = ____________________SF
Multi-Purpose / Gymnasium / Fellowship Hall
If you desire a full size gymnasium, the size of the playing surface is +/- 60 x 100. This translates to 6,000 SF, which would seat +/- 400 at round tables. A half court gymnasium would be 3,000 SF and see +/- 200 people. Kitchen areas to support either option should be no smaller than 900 SF.
Full Size Gym (6,000 SF) = ____________________SF
Half Court Gym (3,000 SF) = ____________________SF
Kitchen Area (minimum of 900 SF) = ______________SF
Cafe / Resource Center / Bookstore
"Dedicated" and more intimate fellowship areas are becoming more important to foster relationship building and smaller group learning opportunities. About 2 SF per Sanctuary / Auditorium seat is suggested for these areas.
________________ Seats x 2 SF/Seat = ____________________SF
Youth Worship Center
A space where a broad range of ages can gather for praise and worship, prior to breaking up for age appropriate teaching, requires 12 SF per Sanctuary / Auditorium seat.
________________ Seats x 12 SF/Seat = ____________________SF
Total Estimated Dedicated Square Footage
Total all of the above areas = ________________________ SF
Circulation and Restroom Areas
Approximately 20% of all dedicated space is needed for navigation of the facility. Building code often allows 4' hallways (for example); a recommendation would be to never make them less than 8'.
_________________SF x .20 = ______________________SF
(total dedicated )
Total Estimated New Construction Square Footage Needed = __________________________SF
(Sum of the two Blue totals above)
Projected Cost to Build Facility
Cost/SF for new construction is difficult to establish based on region, materials used and the use of volunteers or gifts in kind. The National Average to construct places of Worship is $100 SF. Contact a reputable builder and after giving a thorough description of your needs, ask what he thinks the building could be constructed for per square foot. You can also see various types of buildings and their cost per square foot at www.tw-church.com
__________________SF of New Construction x $ ______________/SF = $___________________________
Fixtures, Furnishings and Equipment (FFE)
The interior finishes, furnishings and A/V Systems that are going into today's facilities are even more difficult to estimate than the cost/SF for the actual structure. A good rule of thumb is 30% of the Facility cost of construction.
$________________ X .30 = $____________________
(Cost of Facility Construction)
Site Improvements (General Earthwork, Parking & Utilities)
Site Improvements tend to be another of those line items that can fluctuate significantly based on geography and various challenges that each individual site presents. Those challenges range from wetlands to hazardous waste. Always bring a site engineer into the early discussions of purchasing property; it could save you tens of thousands, or more.
The ideal ratio of one parking space for every 2 seats is recommended.
______________Seats/2 spaces/seat x 200 SF/space (10x20) x 2.50 (ration of drive aisles) = _________________SF of Paving
______________SF Paving x $4.00/SF = $_________________
General Earthwork & Utilities
Excavation is estimated over the total area that the work is to take place.
______________SF of New Construction + _________________SF of Paving = ____________SF of Excavation
x $3.00 SF = $_____________
Total Estimated Site Improvement Costs = $ _______________________________
(Sum of Parking, Earthworks & Utilities)
Total Estimated Project Cost = $____________________________________
(Sum of New Construction + FFE + Site Improvement Costs)
Cost & Decisions
As seen in the following graphic, when the least amount of resources are being invested, the Project Team actually has the most influence on the project design and construction costs. Time spent early in a planning process will directly influence the cost of the project. A myth exists that "value engineering" (saving the church money) can take place after the design is complete. After the project design is complete the typical approach to "value engineering" is to decrease quality or decrease square footage. This chop and hack approach is not only contrary to positive momentum, but most importantly, it is contrary to the vision and mission of the church. Nearly 50% of America's churches have set plans hidden behind the Pastor's door that will never be built. On average, the other 50% that did build lost their Pastor within 18 months of the completion of their new facility. The number one reason for these disconnects is the lack of an integrated Project Team and a Discovery Process that guides that team carefully through planning each unique project. True value engineering and good construction decisions are made early in the process with a Team approach of Owner-Architect-Contractor equally yoked and in step, pulling toward the same goal. A good Discovery Process keeps the Project Team in step and protects the project from potential disastrous surprises.
Key Components of Discovery are:
*Alignment of Facility Goals with Financial Capabilities
*Alignment of Facility Needs with Congregational Needs and Involvement
*Alignment of the Facility Location with the Challenges that the Building Site Presents
F.W. Dodge, the largest provider of construction analysis and statistics in the United States and Canada, has verified that the average construction project is 30% over budget due, primarily, to beginning construction design prior to understanding (Discovering) the vision and mission of the client and project challenges that would have surfaced during a Feasibility Study. An integrated Project Team working through a comprehensive Discovery Process together makes good cost and stewardship decisions.
Design & Functional Relevance
A project team dedicated to understanding the church will focus on designing a facility around your ministry by actually connecting the facility design to your church's vision and mission. The graphs show that in a growing US population, despite significant investment in building and/or improving our places of worship, we are actually reaching less people. Good construction decisions begin by understanding who the church is, what the church's long range goals are and who is the target of the church's outreach? The Word of God never changes,; the way we convey God's word does. Creating an environment that reaches the firs time visitor and serves the long time member is critical. Designing relevant facilities where people can relax, can be themselves, can connect with others, and can become a part of the community is nothing new.
The projects that T&W Church Solutions design and build are very unique and they are passionate about each one. Good Construction decisions are made long before the "bricks and sticks" arrive on the job site. A good Design/Build Team can guide you through the process of Discovering the Facility Challenges before you, and Designing a Facility around your Ministry Discovering who the church is and following the Lord's leading will be a critical component for a successful project....long before the "bricks and sticks."
Copyright Credit: T&W Church Solutions