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  • Writer's pictureSteve Baker PhD AIA

Foundations of Faith: Planning a Church’s Construction Project

Updated: May 16

Churches have significant meaning and cultural impact, but they are like every other building in the sense that they evolve over time. More space might be needed, updating a church’s infrastructure to accept the latest tech might be necessary, or the church leadership might simply want to make changes. 


In any case, a church’s construction projects need to be planned out just like any other building, but the core foundations of the faith have to be considered, too. 


This complicates matters. Architectural design and faith don’t tend to have leadership roles that match and understand each other very often on a deep level, and that leads to conflict or certain aspects falling short. 


Today, we’re going to walk you through the key concepts you should know about church construction planning. These are necessary whether you’re updating the church, adding new spaces, or building a church from scratch. 


Let’s get started. 


1: Understand the Goal of the Project


Before you can move on to anything else, you need to completely understand the goal of tour project.


Are you trying to enlarge the church to make room for a larger church group, update the church to meet modern technological standards, or try to build a new church entirely to bring the word of God to a new community?


You should be able to answer that question with pinpoint accuracy before you take another step.


A man thinking about church construction planning.

If you’re building a new church, your goal is fairly obvious, but with renovations, additions, and upgrades, you need to sit down and consider the end goal to prevent wasting time, energy, and funds figuring it out during the construction process. 


2: Develop Your Vision


This is not a part of church construction planning that you’ll likely complete without any help. Without experience in architectural design, you might think that many things are great, but when you take them to a professional, you find out they’re dangerous or simply impossible


That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take time to let that vision develop, though.


The more you know about what you want, the easier it will be for you and the designer you eventually work with to flesh your ideas out and bring your vision to life.


Take notes, draw out your own plans, and really think about the specifics. That way, you can take it to a professional who can add more technical touches. 


3: Secure Funding


Funding is a big issue. Churches vary in cost depending on the type of church that you’re building. On average, they cost up to $ 4 million to build from scratch, but Catholic churches often cost twice that for a variety of reasons. 


That’s a rough figure to go off of, but it will give you a good idea of what to expect. 


Having your funding ready, or at least enough to cover an average project, will make it a lot smoother to start the project once you start calling around for help. 


It’s also worth noting that construction projects within existing churches are typically far cheaper than the baseline price we gave. So, take the type of project into account, too. 


4: Work with an Architect Who Understands Your Faith


Faith is a core concept when building a church. At the surface level, it’s just like building any other structure, but churches are filled with symbolism, and they require a certain level of detail that most other buildings don’t


This means the average contractor simply isn’t a good fit. If they’re not experienced in building churches, getting the details right can be difficult, and you're risking a lot. 


You want an architect who specializes in building churches and understands the underlying principles of faith that need to be weaved into your church’s design whether you’re doing a simple renovation or a full church build. 


5: Scanning


Once you find the right team, it’s time to scan the area. 


Modern scanning methods allow church architects and designers to scan the area being worked in to create a 1:1 digital space. That digital space can be manipulated and built in with extreme accuracy if you hire a properly equipped team, and this lets you iron out the kinks of the project before, during, and after construction is completed. 


Not every architect service uses this technology, and many don’t use technology that is as accurate as you really want. So, you want to ask what a contractor has at their disposal to handle this step before you hire them. 


6: Designing


Once a digital space is created, you’ll need to work closely with a professional designer. This is who you’ll convey your vision to, and they’ll create a 1:1 3D render that lets you see the finished project before it is even built.


Professional designers working on church construction planning.

If anything is wrong or simply not working, changes can be made during this phase to prevent costly changes later.


7: Material Sourcing and Building


Finally, you’ll need to plan the project deadline, how construction will take place, and where you’re going to get the materials, you need. 


The team you’re working with will do most of this, but you still might need to be consulted. In most cases, it’s best to defer to the contractor's better judgment, though.


Get Help with Baker Architects


Beyond the initial planning phases where you determine your budget and develop your vision, the architect you have helping you will likely be a driving force throughout the rest of the planning phase. Without professional experience, you simply can’t expect to plan the whole thing out on your own. 


Luckily, Baker Architects is here to help you through that difficult process, and we’re equipped to make your vision a reality. 


We use the finest lidar scanning technology available to create digital replicas of the workspace up to 1mm in accuracy, provide the most cost-effective solutions without sacrificing quality, and most importantly, we understand how important this project is. 


We’re dedicated to building churches and helping supply their furniture and similar things, and we understand how every detail is important. 


If you’re about to start a church construction project and you need specialists to guide you through that complex and often overwhelming process of church construction planning, contact Baker Architects today.

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