Church Building Plans – The New Paradigm

I am really exited over the relationships we have built with a number of church builders and architects. However, the relationships I am the most stoked over today are those with 3 forward looking architectural firms (who all have a heart for the church) that I believe are driving a paradigm shift in how many churches will go through the design process.

As I have previously noted, it is possible for churches to get church building plans from previous building programs for a fraction of the cost of design from scratch. Granted, these plans need to be modified for local conditions and building codes, but the church is able to save approximately half of the cost of their church design by starting with existing plans.

There are three distinct advantages, in addition to cost savings, in starting with existing church plans:

It saves time. It is much easier (read faster) to pick out an existing plan rather than try to go through the give and take process of trying to explain it to an architect. It is much like picking out a suspect from a lineup instead of trying to describe them to sketch artist.

Using existing, or stock, building plans also allows you to get an accurate construction cost early in the process from working drawings that cost as little as $2,995 – as opposed to spending 10’s of thousands (or more) to get to the same point designing from scratch, especially when the vast majority of churches cannot afford to build the plans that the architect typically provides in the first pass.

Likewise, you can start the preliminary plan approval process sooner with the city or county, again, without having to invest months and tens of thousands of dollars to get this process rolling.

In addition, existing church building plans are a definitive point for identifying what changes the church would like to make. I always say “it ain’t yours ’till you mess with it”, and this is certainly true of church plans. By limiting changes to interior walls and not changing the fundamental structure of the building, these changes will not make a significant impact on the overall cost or invalidate the preliminary cost estimate. Once the church has made all the red-line changes they feel they need, the architect can give them a quote on turning those uncertified plans into final, sealed construction documents, usually at 40-60% less than the traditional design process.

As a church building consultant I recommend that any church should at least investigate this option as part of their due diligence. To make it even easier, we offer a church plan search service at no cost to the church. We have a close working relationship with all three of these industry changing firms and we would be please to help you find the right church building plan for your church

Next post, I will show how this fits into a larger strategy that I consider just about the best way to design and build a church.