What are My Needs?
Before you start the selection process, understand your congregation’s specific needs. Everyone wants the most space for the least amount of money and would like to build everything at once. However, most churches grow their facilities in phases. By prioritizing your ministry’s short and long-term needs (e.g. youth center first or bigger sanctuary first), you can make your design-builder selection process easier by matching their experience and expertise with your project requirements. Be prepared to answer the following questions. They may seem simple but you’d be surprised at how many churches don’t really have a clear or consistent reply.
- Who are we trying to reach?
- What building (or buildings) will help us reach them?
- How do we propose to afford it? (Stewardship campaign, financing, sale of existing facility?)
- Where should it be (neighborhood, freeway, inner city)?
- When do we want it finished?
- What do we do with our congregation until it is finished?
- How do we handle the growth once it is built?
What Questions Do I Need to Ask a Design-Builder Before Hiring Them?
Though the construction of church facilities shares many commonalities with retail development, the decision-making and communication processes are VERY different. Accordingly, you should choose a design-builder with specific church experience. Some suggested questions are:
- Have you had experience designing and building Christian worship facilities?
- Have you worked on projects similar to mine?
- What is your process - how do you determine what we should build?
- What are options to lower square footage costs?
- Will you provide me with a guaranteed maximum cost?
- What are the inevitable challenges you face on every church project?
- What were some of the specific challenges you have encountered on your past church projects?
What Will an Experienced Design-Builder Ask Me?
You can gage the design-builder’s experience by the questions THEY ask of you. Here’s some of the things you should be hearing:
- What is your average worship attendance (AWA)?
- How many services do you have on Sunday?
- What are the times of the services?
- What is your average education attendance for:
- What times are you offering education?
- What are the age demographics of your congregation?
- What are your historical growth rates?
- What is your current growth rate trend?
- What age demographic is your projected growth coming from?
- What style music do you have? Traditional / Contemporary / Both?
- What kind of musical instruments do you have?
Note that these questions are directed at understanding who your church is. A good church design-builder will capture the essence of your heart and direction and apply their experience to suggest a variety of design and building options that suit your needs. You should avoid letting them steer you toward any one option simply because that is the only experience they have.
What Do I Look For in a Trusted Design-Builder?
Successful building programs require entering into a relationship with someone that you can communicate with and work through issues with. This requires a team focus and commitment not unlike a marriage. Difficult issues arise and a high level of trust and respect is necessary to surmount those issues throughout the process.
At NACDB, our average Design-Builder is:
- Started his construction business in 1983
- On 3 Committees in their Community
- Have been through numerous Certification Programs
- Continue to grow through Workshops and Seminars
- Established member of their home church
© 2011 National Association of Church Design Builders • 1000 Ballpark Way • Suite 306 • Arlington, Texas 76011
Phone: 817.200.2622 • Toll Free: 844.888.2622 • Fax: 817.275.4519
Do not base your selection on lowest price – make a determination on which design-builder gives you the most VALUE for your budget. The selection process can be simplified by using the following guidelines:
- Understand both your short and long-term needs
- Ask the right questions of the design-builder
- Listen for the right questions
Junior High School
HOW DO I PICK THE RIGHT DESIGN-BUILDER?
What are my needs? How do I know who to trust?