No wonder the construction industry is the second most litigated industry in the country. Architects and contractors, for years, have been taught to distrust and even undermine each other to maintain control and protect their egos and pride. The result, according to Project Management Journal, is that over $.20 of every construction dollar goes to 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 six phases and possibly the litigation, are poor pre-planning and improper budgeting for the upcoming project. A lack of early expectation management can become a spiral of frustration, poor quality, and at its worst, fractured fellowship within the body of believers. Often, the first step of this spiral is either needing to reduce the square footage of the design, or reduce the quality of the building materials used, due to the budget constraints. Life cycle costing is becoming a more significant tool, and it should. 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. The sweet taste of low cost construction materials soon dissipates with the bitterness of maintenance costs due to poor quality.
The stewardship challenge begins long before drawings are begun; it begins 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 build the facility (finances), and the desire for the best materials used to build the facility. The challenge…the Building Committee must decide which two components are the most important. You cannot have all three.
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 Avail.)
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 recommendation is 1/3 the size of the main auditorium should be allocated to the foyer/narthex area.
__________ Seats x 15 SF/Seat x .33 = _______________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: pastor’s offices, secretary, work area, library, conference room, and 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
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 seat +/- 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
“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 about 12 SF per Sanctuary/Auditorium seat.
__________ Seats x 12 SF/Seat = _____________SF
Total Estimated Dedicated Square Footage
Total all of the above areas Sanctuary/Auditorium, Foyer, Classrooms, Administration, Multi-Purpose/Gymnasium/Fellowship Hall, Café/Resource Center/Bookstore, and Youth Worship Center.
Total of above areas = _______________ SF
Circulation & 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 Estimated New Construction Square Footage Needed = __________________________ SF
(Sum of the two “highlight” totals from 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 (10 x 20)
x 2.50 (ratio for drive aisles) = _____________SF of Paving
__________SF of 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, Earthwork& Utilities)
Total Estimated Project Cost = $_______________________.
(The sum of New Construction + FFE + Site Improvement Costs)
As seen in the following graphic, when the least amount of resources are being invested, the Project Team actually has the
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 the 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.
|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 first 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 Church can learn, and has been learning, from the retail business industry as coffee bars and bookstores crop up with the same feel as Barnes & Noble and Starbuck’s Coffee. When visitors pull up to your facility with more technology on four wheels than you have in the entire facility…there is a relevant disconnect. The more the Church strives to understand the “lost” in their area and then meet them where they are, via good construction decisions, the more effective the Church will become in drawing the “lost” into their facilities to hear the Good Word.|
Good construction decisions are made long before the “bricks and sticks” arrive on the jobsite. 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”.