In our last blog, we talked about the importance of a regularly scheduled church building and roof maintenance review. Today we’re going to take the next step, and talk about the need to plan ahead for future church building maintenance issues.
Sometimes church leaders and members alike tend to be reactive when it comes to church buildings. If the leadership decides it’s time to expand the worship space, everyone pitches in to raise the money, do the expansion, and then sits back and enjoy it. But every part of a church building has a life cycle. Roofs are generally good for 25 – 30 years or so; they don’t last forever. Eventually, every roof will need to be replaced, and that can be an expensive undertaking.
Do you know anyone who uses a computer that’s 20 years old? Those fancy new LED lights that so many people now recommend are, in a sense, mini-computers, and they can last 20 years or so! When they go out, however, the entire fixture will need to be replaced or upgraded with whatever the newer “best” technology is. If you’ve got 20, or 50, of those LED lights in your worship space, that’s a significant expense!
This is why it’s important to always keep long-term church building maintenance in mind. As soon as the new building is completed, it’s time to set up a long-term schedule for the inevitable replacement of the major components of that building. This includes not just the roof and the LED lights, but also the furnace or HVAC system as well as windows. You should also consider how soon the exterior will need repainting or the brick mortar repointed or the stucco repaired.
You need to plan ahead for everything you’ve installed within the space as well. This includes the appliances in your kitchen or café, the sound system in your worship space, and the computers that are running all that equipment. Take the time to find out the life expectancy of each element and plan now for future expenses.
This might seem a bit overwhelming, but the advantage of planning ahead is that it gives you plenty of time to prepare, and the costs are spread out over time. Once you’ve got your replacement schedule, you can figure out approximately how much money you will need when the time comes, and add a small amount to the church budget each year in anticipation. For example, if a new roof might cost $50,000, it’s much easier to increase your yearly budget by just $2000 each year and have that money already available when it’s needed.
It’s also important to plan for those unexpected maintenance issues that occasionally arise. Whether you call it a “rainy day fund” or “investing in your children’s church,” planning ahead and budgeting for both the expected and unforeseen future needs of your church building will help everyone relax and feel confident that your church building will be in good shape for a long time to come.
To learn more about church buildings and maintenance, sign up today for our 2014 i3 webinar series