Starting a building or renovation project can be overwhelming.
How much is it going to cost?
How can I find people I trust to work with on the project?
How can I get the congregation on board?
How will we raise the funds? Do we borrow?
There are no shortage of questions from churches looking for assistance in understanding the building process.
One of the ways is to conduct a needs assessment. This will among many things, help to establish a base budget.
Going thru a needs assessment process answers almost all of the questions about building, and a path can be laid out for the project.
There are many different methods of how to construct.
Let's talk about the three most popular:
Design/Bid/Build The "low-bid" method.
A church will first hire an architect to completely design the facility and develop a full set of construction documents. Upon the completion of the drawings (a six-plus-month process), the church will then solicit bids from a selected group of contractors. The contractor is awarded the project solely on the basis of "low-bid."
Churches traditionally choose this method because it promotes a low-bid. This method does, however, carry significant risks and elongates the process. Only after the drawings are completed are actual construction costs identified. Unfortunately, projects more often than not come in over budget. Additionally, change orders based on things changing or faulty design add a significant amount of cost to the project.
Construction Manager at Risk/Design Assist:
The owner or church will hire an independent architect and an independent construction manager/contractor.
The church holds both contracts and the architect and contractor work together to design and construct the project. The risk is the blame game that can occur between the Architect and the Contractor. This can put the church in the awkward position of trying to play referee and also managing the financial implications.
This is one of the most popular delivery methods in church construction projects.
Under this method, the church hires a single construction firm to both design and build the facility. The contractor is the single source of responsibility for the owner. Some Design Build firms have their own architects on staff, but most contractors have to contract with an outside design firm. The contractor holds the responsibility and is able to work hand-in-glove with his entire team to guide the progress of the design elements around the church's budget. Costs are determined earlier in the process. Also, this eliminates the need for redesigns and the risk of cost overages or non-owner directed change orders.
The key in any of these methods is finding the right team. A team that you can trust. A team that you can work with. A team that you feel has the churches best interest in mind. In a forthcoming article I will expand on the process of choosing a contractor/design team.