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So far McKnight Group has created 23 blog entries.

The Pros and Cons of a Multi-Story Church Design

Lots of church leaders ask us if they can save money on their church building by “going up” (or down, in the case of a basement) rather than out.

As we continue focusing on ways to save money on your church building project, let’s explore this question, along with some of the considerations involved with trying to save money on your initial site work.

Saving Money with a Multi-Story Church Design: Pros and Cons

At first glance, it seems logical that “building up” would save money, because the church building would have a smaller footprint on the land and require less site preparation. Heating and cooling a multi-story building can also be more efficient.

While those arguments are true, they are not the only considerations. For one thing, since churches are considered commercial buildings, every multi-story church design must include an elevator in order to make it handicap accessible on all floors.

In addition, code requires at least two flights of stairs, at opposite ends of the building, be included in the church design. And if you decide to have a basement level that is below grade, there are additional requirements you need to follow to ensure safe egress from the building.

All of which means that, unless your church building will be larger than around 8,000 square feet per floor, the cost savings of building up or down will be more than offset by the elevator and safety expenses incurred.

There are, however, situations where a multi-story church design does make sense. For example, if you’re constructing a church building on the side of a hill—where the lower story can have exits at grade level—that will change the equation. Or if you’ve got a very small lot to start with, going up or down may be the only way you can fulfill your vision for ministry with the space available to you.

But for a standard-sized lot, building up or down usually doesn’t make sense from a cost saving perspective, except with very large church building projects.

Saving Money on Church Building Site Work

While we’re discussing lot type and size, let’s also consider site work. This includes all the preparation that must take place before a church building project can be started. Some people say this is where you’re “putting money in a hole in the ground,” and it can certainly feel that way.

It is true that every foot of installation costs money, so if your church design places the building far away from the street, the cost for installations related to electricity, gas, sewer, asphalt, etc. will be higher. For that reason, some church leaders choose to put their church building right next to the road.

The trick here is to make sure you’re thinking long term. If you’ll need to expand your church building later, will it be easy to expand behind the existing church building, and will the flow of people around your property then make sense?

If you don’t think about such matters in the very beginning, you could end up with a church building that’s too small and difficult to expand, getting in the way of your vision instead of helping you fulfill it.

Looking Ahead: The DIY Question

Our next post about saving money on church building projects will focus on another question we get asked often. In it, we’ll tackle what you and your church can actually do yourselves on your church building project, and whether a DYI approach is advisable in the first place.

Also coming soon we’ll reveal our 2018 lineup of free i3 webinars, so stay tuned—and visit our website to find out more!

By | December 12th, 2017|Church Building|0 Comments

More Roof Options for Your Church Building

In our previous post, we went over the most common, and reasonably priced, metal roofing options for church buildings. In this part of the series, we will look at other materials that are commonly used for roofing churches.

Shingle Roofs

Most people are familiar with shingles. They are the most common type of material used with wooden structures, although they can also be used with many other types of construction.

Shingles are best used when the building has a roof pitch of 4/12 or more. In fact, if your roof pitch is less than that, shingles will require special additional work, which will increase the cost of your project. For that reason, we don’t suggest using shingles on flatter roofs.

Shingles will last between 20 and 40 years, depending on the product you choose (which will, of course, also affect the price). Shingles are easy to install over valleys and hips, making them a very cost-effective solution if your church design features a complex or irregular roof.

However, shingle roofs on pre-engineered or steel construction buildings require additional work to modify the insulation, venting, and substrates. The added expenses associated with such work make this a less cost-efficient option for those types of designs.

Membrane Roofs (Two Types)

Membranes are basically large, rolled sheets, available in many different materials but two types are the most common. They are used most often with flatter, low-pitch roofs, where you can’t see the roof from the ground.

The first most common type, EPDM, has been around a long time, so it is a proven material. However, it only carries a 10-year warranty, meaning that while it might cost very little to install, the cost to repeat the process every 10 years makes it a less-desirable choice for church buildings. We’ve seen EPDM membrane roofs last longer in terms of not leaking, but extending the life another 10 years past the warranty is uncommon.

Thermoplastics, or TPOs, are another common type of membrane roof, and they usually hold up better. TPO roofs are typically more expensive, but they can last from 15 to 20 years (we’ve seen some that lasted as long as 25 years), and you can often get a 15- or 20-year warranty for the material. In our opinion, the longer product life of TPO is usually worth the additional cost.

Replacing Church Building Roofs

No roof lasts forever. Regardless of what material you use, once the life cycle is up, the entire roof will need to be removed and completely replaced. This is why it’s important to consider not just the installation cost of the roof, but also its longevity when determining the most cost-efficient roofing option for your church building. Good stewardship requires taking a long-term view of the entire church design.

As you may have noticed from reading both of our recent roof posts, it is generally best to match similar materials. Metal roofs work best with pre-engineered and steel buildings, while shingle and membrane roofs work best with post-frame and frame construction.

Next Stop: Second Floor (and Basement)

In our next post, we will return to church building interiors, addressing the particular church design needs of basements and second floors. In the meantime, we’re hard at work finalizing our free 2018 i3 webinar series, which will be announced soon. To find out more, please visit our website, where you’ll also be able to sign up for our webinars when they become available.

By | December 5th, 2017|Church Building, Church Design|0 Comments

Metal Roof Options for Your Church Building

Over our last several posts, we focused on various cost-efficient structural church design options. Recognizing that the integrity of your church building structure is only as good as the roof which protects everything below it, we turn to a review of the four most common, economical types of church building roofs. We will share the pros and cons of each. In this post, we will look at two types of metal roofs.

Option 1: Screw-down Roofs

One of the oldest, and most traditional types of metal roofs is a screw-down roof. As the name indicates, it’s attached to your church building with metal screws. The issue with screw-down roofs is that metal expands and contracts with heat and cold, while the building below stays relatively stable. Over time, this means that the metal moves those screws around, loosening them and opening little holes which can allow the roof to leak.

So, every screw on a screw-down metal roof must be regularly checked and tightened. While these roofs are very inexpensive to install, you must consider the longer-term cost of manual labor needed to check these roofs regularly. Screw-down roofs are also impractical with larger church buildings. For these reasons, we seldom recommend screw-down roofs, even though they are quite inexpensive to install.

Option 2: Standing Seam Roofs

Many church leaders who purchase pre-engineered steel buildings are interested in metal roofs—sort of a complete metal package, as it were. Fortunately, there is another metal roof option. A standing seam roof will work over almost any type of church building and can last for 50 or even 60 years.

A standing seam roof floats above the church building structure itself. Specialized clips are used to attach the roof to the building, allowing the roof to expand and contract as needed without impacting the structure below. Because of the way these roofs are put together, very few fasteners are exposed—the ones that are, are mostly on the very top and along the bottom edge of the roof. Those fasteners do need to be checked periodically, but there is less opportunity for them to work loose, unlike the screws in a screw-down roof.

Metal Roof Maintenance for Your Church Building

Of course, no roof is completely maintenance-free. Any time you penetrate the metal, you create an opportunity for leaks. If you install an HVAC system on the roof, for example, those points of attachment need to be checked. Plumbing vent pipes are a necessary point of penetration that will need to be checked too. And all flashings will move at a different rate than the roof itself, loosening seals over time.

Another maintenance need will be painting; however most metal roofs today have Kynar paint that will not fade for 20 years.

The point here is that every roof will require some maintenance. It’s important to consider the relative cost of maintenance for each type of roof, over its lifespan, as well as the initial installation cost when choosing the best roof option for your church building.

In our next post, we will discuss two more types of roof options: membrane and shingle. This information all comes from one of our recent i3 webinars where we cover a wide-array of church building and design topics. Our free 2018 webinar series will be unveiled soon, so stay tuned!

By | November 28th, 2017|Church Building, Church Design|0 Comments

More Structural Church Design Options That Won’t Break the Bank

In our last post, we covered the pros and cons of some common types of structural options for church buildings.

Depending on the size and complexity of one’s church design, there are two more uncommon options available for creating an appropriate church building shell: fabric and precast concrete. Read on to learn more about these novel approaches to church design.

The Fabric Structure Option for Your Church Building

Fabric structures are gaining exposure as a church design option. These shells contain an aluminum structure covered by a cloth exterior and interior skins, separated by a layer of fiberglass insulation.

One reason this type of structure is becoming known is that it’s very low – cost. Another reason is that the church building can be constructed very quickly—which is why fabric shells were originally developed, as a temporary option for mining camps and movie sets.

The fact that fabric was developed as a “temporary option” is the key to understanding the downsides of this alternative. The fabric has a lifespan of only about 10 years, which means you’ll have to replace both the outer and inner fabric skins in that time.

Such structures are also easy to break in to, as the fabric can be cut with just a utility knife or debris blowing in a storm. The fabric lets in light, which helps keep your energy costs lower, but that can also potentially limit how you use your space, as you won’t be able to fully darken the interior.

The Precast Concrete Option for Your Church Design

Another uncommon  approach is to use precast concrete, also called “tilt-up” construction. This process involves casting concrete panels on site, tilting them up to form the walls of the church building, and then pouring in insulation.

In terms of durability, this option is at the opposite end of the spectrum from a fabric structure. Precast concrete buildings are extremely durable, and you certainly won’t see any light go through those walls.

There are considerations to keep in mind with this approach, however. As you might imagine, setting up concrete casting and lifting panels into place involves a lot of setup and labor, as well as special equipment. This means precast panels are only cost-effective if you’re constructing a large church complex of more than 40,000 square feet. The process also takes more time than the standard two-by-four wood framing you’re probably used to seeing in residential construction.

The Bottom Line on Structural Options

In our opinion, the best church design option for most structures less than 5,000 feet is traditional wood framing. We also believe a fabric church building should only be considered for short-term use, and precast concrete is best saved for projects over 40,000 square feet.

In our next post, we will look at the various costs and potential savings from different roofing alternatives. We covered this information in one of our recent free i3 webinars. They’re a great way to learn about every element of church building and maintenance. Watch our website and this blog as we’ll soon be announcing the topics of our 2018 webinar series. 

By | November 21st, 2017|Church Building, Church Design|0 Comments

Church Building Structural Design Options That Won’t Break the Bank

Without a strong skeleton, our bodies could not stand up straight. The same can be said of any church building.

We’ve come across a lot of interesting church design options over the years. In this post, we want to begin another series—sort of a two-part sub-series from our ongoing posts about how you can save money on your church building—that focuses specifically on various structural options available for one’s church design.

First, we need to explain that we’re just talking about the skeleton or shell of a church building here. When you hear claims that pre-engineered structures can save you incredible amounts of money, they are probably only including the costs for finishing the shell of the structure (typically with inexpensive or simple materials).

Right now, we’re not talking about the costs to finish the interior of the shell; that’s a separate discussion.

The Pole Barn Option for Your Church Building

Pole barns go way back in American culture; you might have even seen shows about barn raisings on television. Those often relied on the same structural design we’re discussing here.

Pole barns, also called “post frame” buildings, do save money up front. The reasons include lower cost of materials and the fact that no foundation is required. Instead, holes are drilled into the ground and poles are placed in those holes. Pole barns usually have very thin metal skins for the siding and roof—28- or 29-gauge metal, which can be cut with a sharp utility knife.

The pole barn option works for a church building with less than a 60-foot span, or width, in the design. Because there is no foundation, pole barns are not good for use in areas that freeze frequently in the winter, as the floor can heave and crack without protection from a foundation.

There are also limits to the amount of wood construction that can be done inside a pole barn structure. For these reasons, conventional framing (with wooden two-by-fours and trusses) is considered just about as cost-effective as a pole barn design—which, as its name suggests, is meant for a barn, not a church building, anyway.

The Pre-Engineered Steel Option for Your Church Design

Many people think that pre-engineered metal structures will work well for church buildings, and that certainly can be true.

However, typically the proposed structure would need to be at least 5,000 square feet before the premium cost of the steel would make it cost-effective compared to traditional wood framing. Steel is also more economical if you’re keeping the shape of your church design very simple (for example, a rectangular worship space).

In fact, steel framing excels at creating worship spaces with between 60- and 100-foot clear spans—with no need for intermediate support columns that may block sight lines—that can seat from 500 to as many as 1,500 people. Steel is also strong enough to support thicker metal skins: 22- or 24-gauge metal that cannot be cut with a utility knife.

More Structural Options, More Ways to Save

In our next post, we will compare and contrast two more skeleton options for your church building: fabric and precast concrete. All this information comes from one of our prior free i3 webinars—we suggest you keep an eye out for our 2018 webinar series, which will be posted soon.

By | November 14th, 2017|Church Building, Church Design|0 Comments

Saving Money on Your Church Building or Remodeling Project: LED Lighting

The McKnight Group wants to help you see the light as we continue our series about saving money with smart choices for your church remodeling or construction project.

In our prior post, we discussed maximizing your energy savings with the right method of temperature control.

Since lighting is the second-most-costly user of energy in most church buildings, in this post we will be covering ways to save energy—and money—through better lighting choices, with an emphasis on the benefits of LED lighting.

The Evolution of Electric Lighting

First, a quick overview of lighting options over the years. It all started with the traditional incandescent light bulb, first patented by Thomas Edison back in 1879. Even today’s most technologically advanced light bulbs still use 60 watts of electricity to power the highest-wattage incandescent bulb now widely available on the market.

Fluorescent light bulbs were next to appear, beginning in the early 20th century. They have become a very popular lighting option in recent years; in fact, they are the dominant light source in most buildings today. The good news, from a savings perspective, is that a fluorescent bulb that’s equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent bulb uses only 13 watts of energy to produce the same amount of light.

Understanding LED Savings Advantages

LED stands for light-emitting diode, a technology first created for handheld calculators and similar devices in the 1960s. As with so much technology, these light sources have come a long way in the half-century since, becoming much brighter, more efficient, and affordable.

From an energy savings perspective, an LED light that’s equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent bulb uses only 4 watts of energy to produce an equally bright light. As a result, LED lighting is typically the most efficient choice when considering lighting options for one’s church building.

There are other advantages to investing in LEDs as well. LED lighting is more durable and longer lasting than conventional incandescent or fluorescent lighting. This means you’re not going to be replacing light bulbs —which is especially important when light fixtures are installed high in the ceiling of your worship center. To that end, longer-lasting LED lighting will also help you save on the cost of hiring a lift to get someone up to replace those hard-to-reach bulbs.

Keeping Your Church Building’s Lighting Up to Date

The average LED light these days will last you about 20 years in a typical church worship center. It’s worth remembering that when those 20 years are up, chances are you’ll not only need to change out your LED bulb, but the entire lighting fixture to keep up with the latest technology.

That may sound daunting, but think about it this way: Nowadays, would you want a computer that’s 20 years old? Just as computer technology is advancing by leaps and bounds, so will lighting technology continue to advance at a rapid rate. By the time you need to replace any LED lighting you install in your new church building—or as part of a church remodeling upgrade—you’re going to want the superior level of energy savings that the latest lighting technology will provide.

New Technology, New Webinars

Part of why we share our free i3 webinars each year is to keep you up to date with these types of technologies. When it’s time to upgrade your church building or begin a new church project, we want you to know the latest information, such as how to save money with high-quality fixtures.

So, plan to sign up for our 2018 i3 webinars—which will be announced soon; visit our website to find all the latest details—and stay tuned for the next installment in this series, which will describe how to save money on structural systems for your building.

 

By | November 7th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Saving Money on Your Church Remodeling or New Building Project: HVAC Thermostats and More

In our previous post about ways to save money on a church building project, we discussed the pros and cons of different types of HVAC systems.

This time, we continue the discussion by examining ways to save energy with those systems. After all, whether you’re upgrading your heating and cooling systems as part of a church remodeling project or starting from scratch, you can save a lot of money down the line with all types of energy saving techniques.

Upgrading Your Church Building with a Programmable Thermostat

HVAC systems tend to come with a standard thermostat. With these most basic of controllers, you set the temperature and it stays there until you change it. It is dependent on someone regulating the temperature when it is necessary to do so. This old-fashion approach is marginally functional in a typical home, where parents are in charge of the thermostat and turn it up and down depending on what the family is doing.

In a church building, however, regulating temperature is a lot more complicated. Just as an example, what if you wanted the worship center to warm up in the winter on Sunday mornings, but didn’t want it to be warm the rest of the week—and also didn’t want to have to arrive an hour early just to turn up the thermostat?

Such scenarios—which aren’t at all uncommon— are why we suggest that at minimum you invest in a programmable thermostat. Especially since they cost little more than a standard one, so you won’t break the budget of your church remodeling or building project by investing in one.

With a programmable thermostat, you can instruct the heating system (or cooling system) to kick on before the first worshippers arrive. Programmable thermostats are also easy to override on a temporary basis. This means that if, say, people need to turn up the heat in a small meeting room when they arrive for a meeting, they can; but if they then forget to turn it back down when they’re done, the programming will do so automatically when the next cycle kicks in.

Investing in Wi-Fi Technology

Obviously, a programmable thermostat is going to pay for itself very quickly in energy savings. But that’s just the beginning. The next option, which involves newer technology, would be to install a Wi-Fi enabled thermostat as part of your church remodeling or new construction upgrade.

Such thermostats are connected to your computer or cell phone, which means you can control your system from wherever you are. This offers yet another, more elegant way to solve the problem of having to turn up the heat on Sunday morning—or, for that matter, on a Thursday afternoon if some sort of special event is being held midweek in your worship space.

Wi-Fi thermostats also allow you to maintain more control. You can instruct people to call you (or someone in charge of maintenance) if the building gets too hot or too cold, then you can make any needed changes using your smartphone without ever having to enter the church and physically operate the thermostat. It’s easy to see why a Wi-Fi system offers an extremely flexible and effective way to save money.

Considering the High End of HVAC Energy Management

There is one other option to consider when trying to promote energy efficiency in a church remodeling or building project.

It’s called an energy management system, and it offers many more bells and whistles thanks to modern computer technology. An energy management system will take into account the weather, humidity and other factors that impact HVAC system performance, enabling you to expertly control your heating and cooling. It also gives you system reports on how all the elements in your HVAC system are performing, providing a heads-up on problems before they occur.

As you can imagine, systems this sophisticated can be expensive. They also require a lot of training so that people understand how to use them to their best advantage.

If you have technologically minded members in your congregation and are creating or renovating a sprawling church complex, then this might well be a reasonable option for you to consider. It will save you money in the long run—if it’s well understood and managed. Frankly, we find that it tends to be more than most churches need or can afford.

Learn More to Save More

The bottom line, in our opinion, is that most churches will do fine with a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, and we strongly encourage churches to explore those options.

To learn about more ideas relating to your church building, don’t forget to peruse our i3 webinars. They’re free for the watching—simply visit our website and sign up.

And keep reading our blog. In the next installment of our series on ways to save money, we will shift our focus to saving energy through smart lighting.

By | October 31st, 2017|Church Building, Church Design|0 Comments

Saving Money on Your Church Building or Remodeling Project: HVAC Savings

Air conditioning. Realistic air conditioner with flows of cold air. Isolated conditioner

We are well aware that churches are under pressure to save money, whether it involves starting a church building project or remodeling an older facility, and we want to help. Recently, we began a series to do just that, and with this third post, we look at saving through energy efficient HVAC systems.

2 Types of HVAC Systems

The majority of your energy costs will come from air conditioning your church building. There are a handful of options you can choose from when considering AC (which will typically also involve choosing a heating system).

Most residential and small commercial buildings have either a “split” or “package” HVAC system, and these can be suitable for smaller church buildings. With a split system, there is a furnace installed inside the building and a condenser set up outside. With a package system, both parts are installed together so they are most frequently used when space is at a premium.

Both of these systems can be used in smaller church buildings. The split system is quite energy efficient, often rating at 90 percent efficiency or more, and is relatively inexpensive to purchase and have installed.

Usually, because these units are designed for smaller spaces, churches will install multiple HVAC systems in their facility. An added benefit of this approach is that if one unit goes down for some reason, the entire facility will not be left without heat or air conditioning.

Boilers and Chillers

Another option for your church’s HVAC needs is to install separate boiler and chiller systems. This arrangement can be highly efficient since each system works independently of the other.

This approach is typically used by larger facilities, with only one of each system needing to be installed. However, installation costs tend to be higher, and if the systems go offline, there will be no heating or cooling in your entire church building until repairs are made.

Typically, you also have to turn off one system before turning on the other, making chilly spring mornings a problem if you’ve already transitioned to air conditioning for the summer.

Alternative Energy Sources for Your Church Building

These days, with so much attention on going green, we get a lot of questions about solar energy.

Solar systems are certainly very energy efficient, but their initial installation costs can be astronomical, especially for a larger church building. Over the years, we’ve worked with numerous churches trying to crunch the numbers in such a way as to make solar affordable. Unfortunately, we haven’t found any organization that can help churches foot the high initial costs in a way that would save the church any money over traditional energy sources.

Geothermal energy is another option that some churches are considering. Basically, geothermal energy taps the earth’s temperature to heat and cool your church building—at least to a certain extent.

The process involves drilling wells deep into the earth’s surface and using liquids that are either heated (in winter) or cooled (in summer) as they encounter the steady underground temperatures of the earth. Those liquids are then pumped back up to exchange their heat at the surface. But, geothermal costs a lot to install up front because of all that initial drilling and piping.

HVAC Systems in a Nutshell

If your church building isn’t being used a lot during the week, you will likely not be able to recoup the costs of a solar or geothermal system over the course of its life cycle. As a result, we mostly install split or package unit HVAC systems because churches recognize that those systems offer the best deal for their initial install cost to energy use. Some larger projects will install boilers and chillers, because churches recognize the longer-term energy saving those systems could provide. 

To learn more about energy and other elements of saving money in your church remodeling or construction project, take advantage of our free i3 webinars—simply visit our website to sign up. And keep an eye out for the next installment in our series on saving money, where we focus on energy usage savings once your system is installed.

By | October 24th, 2017|Church Building, Church Design|0 Comments

Saving Money on Your Church Remodeling or Building Project: Life Cycle Savings

We know that church leaders are under pressure to save money, whether they’re starting a building from scratch or undertaking a church remodeling project—and we want to help.

What are some specific things to consider when you’re trying to save money on a church building project? In this post, we continue offering ideas on ways you can lower costs.

Life Cycle Definitions and Calculations

Let’s consider the potential savings in what we call life cycle costs. These reflect the true expense to use a product over time. To calculate this cost, you take what is paid for a product and divide it by the number of years you expect to use it. You should always calculate the life cycle cost for bigger elements in a church remodeling or building project, such as the roof, flooring, HVAC systems, lighting, etc.

In our post previous on up front savings, we mentioned the possibility of installing cheaper olefin carpet. This less expensive grade carpet likely will wear out faster and end up costing you more over the life of your church building, since it will need to be replaced more often. On the other hand, if you invest up front in a stronger nylon carpet that will stand up to more years of wear, your overall cost per year of use is less.

A Downside of Choosing Longer-Lasting Church Remodeling Materials

The above example doesn’t mean that you should always choose a higher-quality, longer-lasting material. If, for instance, you decide your objective is to have a maintenance-free church building, you could end up increasing your up-front costs to the point where you’d no longer be able to afford as large a building as you’d originally intended. Having less square footage could then become a problem later on, as your church grows.

Checking Calculations for Life Cycle Use

Another calculation pitfall, based on our experience with many church remodeling and building projects, has to do with getting the correct figures for various payback periods.

Many companies calculate life cycles for their products based on usage that’s just not comparable to what a church building typically sees. For example, a manufacturer might present a spreadsheet that shows how much you’re going to save with an LED lighting system—but it’s probably based on what happens with a typical office building or school. The problem is that schools and office buildings get heavy use for eight or more hours a day, five or six days a week. That means 40 to 50 hours of use each week.

However, churches aren’t used that heavily—even active ones. Say those lights are in your worship space. It’s difficult to imagine they’ll be used more than 15 or 20 hours per week—less than half of the calculation for a school or office environment.

This means it will actually take more time for you to realize the life cycle cost savings claimed on the spreadsheet. What they claim would be a five-year payback might actually be 15 years—which is a significant difference to be figured into your church building budget. It could turn out that you actually don’t need the highest-quality light bulbs, which would cost a lot more up front.

Stay Tuned for More

Speaking of light bulbs, the next installment in this series will focus on energy savings for your church remodeling or building project.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t signed up for our i3 webinars, we invite you to do so. You will learn more useful tips like these to help you stay within budget for your church building project. Simply visit our website. They’re absolutely free.

By | October 17th, 2017|Church Building, Church Design|0 Comments

Saving Money on Your Church Building Project: Up Front Savings

One of the most frequent questions we are asked is: How can churches save money on their church building project? Starting with this post, we will be discussing just how to do that over the course of the next several articles. We’ll break down some ways churches can save money—and look at the impact those ways might have on the true value for your church and its vision for ministry in your community.

Up Front Church Building Savings

Let’s start with what we call “up front savings,” ways you can save money with the design of your church building or remodeling project. For example, you can choose vinyl siding for the exterior of the building, rather than brick or stone, and you can vary the thickness of that siding. You can choose a lower-cost carpet or a less expensive HVAC system. Every item in your church building will have different quality grades that you can choose from—even down to the doorknobs and light switches.

Up Front Savings are Limited

One important element to understand, however, is that choosing less expensive items will only gain you up to about 10% savings on your total church building construction cost. So, if you’re working with a $1.5 million budget for your new construction, you’re only going to save about $150,000 by choosing cheaper materials. $150,000 is still a lot of money, but if you’re hoping to save half a million dollars on the project, cutting costs on materials isn’t going to get you there.

Unintended Consequences of Up Front Savings

There are two other considerations when trying to create up front savings. The first is how products of lesser quality will hold up over time. For example, if you choose a carpet made from olefin (standard for residential building construction) instead of a higher-grade nylon carpet, your carpet is likely to wear out and need to be replaced much more quickly. This is because olefin is not as durable, while more costly nylon carpets are designed to handle the higher volume of foot traffic found in public or commercial buildings such as churches.

Another important consideration is your church’s reputation in the community. Does your community have simple, straightforward buildings without a lot of panache? If so, you can construct a less-lavish church building, which will fit into the community ethos and people will feel comfortable attending your church. On the other hand, if your community values the finer things in life and you construct an inexpensive church building with cheaper materials, it might fail to attract and keep the people you are trying to reach.

Options are Plentiful

As you can see, when it comes to managing costs there are many possible paths and decisions to make, and there are consequences for every decision. In our next post on this topic, we will address the life cycle of materials and products and how they fit into the cost-cutting decisions you make.

To learn more about saving money and other church building topics, we invite you to sign up on our website for our free i3 webinars, where we cover a wider range of information on how to most efficiently approach the construction or renovation of your church building.

By | October 10th, 2017|Church Building|0 Comments