In our last blog, we covered some of the structural issues to consider when deciding whether to remodel an existing church building. Today let’s continue the discussion by focusing on a handful of other church remodeling issues that we discuss in one of our free i3 webinars.
Can your building feel like “home” for your expanding church family?
One critical consideration for any remodeling project is whether the existing infrastructure can support the newly renovated space. Can your current HVAC system handle an additional 400 people in your sanctuary, or will the heat in midsummer drive people out the entrance of your “tent?” If you expand the number of toilet stalls in order to accommodate larger numbers, will your original plumbing be able to handle the additional volume? Can your older electrical system handle all the new audiovisual resources you intend to install? The costs of upgrading any of these major systems will need to be added to your remodeling budget.
You will also need to think about safety. Does your church have a fire alarm and sprinkler system? Are there at least two exits from every floor of your building? Are those exits Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant? ADA also has mandates regarding stairways and elevators for multi-story buildings. You want your church building to be welcoming to everyone, so it’s important to make sure that everyone who comes into your building can get around safely.
Who else wants to weigh in on your project?
We might think we can renovate our church buildings however we like, but there are building codes and zoning laws that we have to follow when we remodel any church building. In addition to the safety issues mentioned above, there will be zoning requirements if you make any changes to the exterior of your property (such as adding additional parking for those 400 new members of your community). If your church is located in an historic district, there may be additional restrictions on the kinds of changes that you can make. Many people don’t realize this, but even signage is subject to zoning regulations, so make sure you know what the rules are.
Back inside your church, building codes can also impact the types of changes you make—though usually this is mostly about bringing your facilities “up to code.” Building codes are constantly being upgraded, but laws generally don’t require that you upgrade your building’s systems until you renovate. Then, it’s a requirement that you meet the current codes. If you are only renovating a portion of your building, you may only have to bring that portion of the building up to code, but that is something you will need to investigate as laws vary by municipality.
These are just some of the factors you will need to consider as you put together a remodeling plan for your church building. To learn more, sign up today for our free i3 webinar series, where we discuss all of these issues, and many more.