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PraiseBuildings Articles


A library of useful articles on every topic impacting your PraiseBuilding.

Author: Stephen Ferrandi

Stephen Ferrandi's Blog


If your PraiseBuilding is an older structure, there is a very good chance that the windows and doors will need to be replaced. If the decision is to salvage the existing windows, the congregation may be trading one problem for another. Windows, doors and other trim prior to 1978, were normally painted with lead-based paints, since these paints were able to withstand the harsh conditions to which these surfaces were subjected. If lead-based paint is found, a trained and licensed contractor should remove it. By Stephen Ferrandi, Director, KLNB Regious Properties Stephen Ferrandi is the Director of KLNB Religious Properties, a real estate firm serving religioius clients in Maryland, D.C., Pennsylvania, and Virginia. He is one of the top experts in land development in the region. Mr. Ferrandi frequently contributes real estate related articles to both print and online publications.


Plaster walls show an older building is of substantial character. Plaster walls are constructed using a four-part system. First, strips of woods called lath are nailed horizontally to the upright structural members of the wall’s framing. This lath is spaced approximately ¼” apart. When the first coat of plaster called the scratch coat is coated over the lath, much of the plaster is forced between the spacing and enters the openings and clings to the roughened surface of the backing lath, locking the scratch coat to the lath. The plaster locking the brown coat to the back of the lath is called the key. Over this, scratch coat is applied to the brown coat, followed by the finish coat of plaster called the white coat. If either the lath or brown coat have suffered damaged, it is probably more cost effective to remove the plaster wall completely and install drywall in its place. If only the white coat is damaged and the brown coat is in good repair it is probably more cost effective to repair using either patching plaster or ...


One important thing to remember when looking at a department store or warehouse for adaptive re-use is the need to work around column spacing. The small columns that occur in orderly rows spaced every 30 – 50 feet, probably cannot be disturbed without great expense since they support the roof. Most architects or build-to-suit contractors will simply attempt to lay out the complex around them, hiding as many columns as possible in walls, or boxing them in drywall to make them fit in with the interior design scheme. If a column must be removed, hire a structural engineer to design a new way to support that area of the roof. Columns, although they may appear to be independent of each other, actually form a highly complex engineered system for transferring the weight of the roof and all weight that may lay upon it, down to the footings buried under the floor of your structure. Removing a single column without compensating for the load elsewhere could lead to structural failure in times of great stress such as a heavy snowstorm, torrential rains, or ...


As important as it is to ensure the walls are water tight, it is equally as important to know the roof system is sturdy. Too many times, congregations will spend many tens of thousands of dollars on interior beautification, simply because they are easier projects for which to raise money than the non-glitzy roof repair. It makes no sense to renovate a building, only to have the existing roof fail after a couple of months. Remember, if the roof fails, the congregation not only pays for the roof repair, but also the damage to walls, paint, carpeting and furnishings. The answer is simple: before beginning any work, make sure that all of the roofing systems - roof, flashing, gutters, and downspouts – are sound and performing well. Many good adaptive re-use structures lend themselves easily to the addition of a second floor or balcony. This option requires first retaining the services of a qualified structural consultant. Although a contractor or a group of hard-working volunteers could construct this additional floor space in short order, it is a must that the congregation ...


Before beginning any interior improvements, it is important that the building be as water tight as possible. For most masonry buildings, this means re-pointing exterior mortar joints and re-securing any loose or missing bricks or cement blocks. In some cases, it may mean coating the exterior surface with a moisture barrier to prevent moisture from migrating into the structure causing damage to the plaster or drywall surfaces. Masonry restoration is expensive because it normally involves scaffolding and is very labor intensive but it is absolutely required to make a building watertight. Because of its expense, masonry work tends to be more difficult to sell to a congregation because when it is completed, there isn’t very much to see. The same money spent on interior renovation yields grand and glorious results in new carpeting, upholstered pews, pendent lighting, stained glass windows, and sanctuary furnishings. Still, it is important to remember that to undertake a complete successful renovation, the first step must be to insure that the structure is watertight and structurally sound. By Stephen Ferrandi, Director, KLNB Regious Properties Stephen Ferrandi is the Director of ...


Finding a contractor who is capable of handling the complexities of your project may be as easy as consulting your local yellow pages under the heading of General Contractors. This method can prove to be hit-or-miss depending on the size of the city or town and the number of general contractors in the area. The best way of finding a contractor is to talk with the owners of other projects similar to yours. A contractor who mainly does additions on homes may have the skills to complete the renovation of your project, but may not have the manpower or commercial sub-contractor network base to handle the project. Similarly, a large general contractor who builds office buildings and other large structures may not be interested in handling a small project such as the renovation of a PraiseBuilding. In larger cities, there may be larger general contractor firms that regularly build and renovate PraiseBuildings. If such contractors exist near the metropolitan area of the PraiseBuilding, it is worth inviting them to bid on the PraiseBuilding project since they may bring vast experience and ...


Architects, like many other licensed professionals, must pass a comprehensive state test and are permitted to practice architecture only in those states where a valid license is held. Only a person possessing a valid state license and current registration may legally use the title “architect” and provide architectural services. Many architects are members of the American Institute of Architects, a national professional organization. Only those members in good standing may use AIA after their name to denote membership in this organization. Architecture is such a vast and complex discipline that not all architects have the knowledge or skills required to design a PraiseBuilding. An architect, who has only designed new homes or tenant fit-out projects for office buildings, simply will not have the technical knowledge and hands-on expertise to complete a PraiseBuilding without a substantial learning curve. When selecting an architect, it is important to interview several experienced in working with congregations and renovating existing structures. You may be able to obtain names and numbers of qualified professionals by contacting your local AIA Chapter. Ask members of other congregations if they might ...


Before a professional progress manager will begin a major construction project, one of the first steps to be undertaken is the creation of a Construction Progress Schedule. The importance of establishing a progress schedule can be seen in the saved hours of labor, reduction of construction conflicts by overlapping trades and avoidance of delays in the delivery of long lead items. How does one establish a progress schedule? The first step is to make a list of every trade (sub-contractor and vendor) and when they are scheduled to begin their work. Next, record the scope of work to be completed, as well as the number of days the work will take to be completed. It is important to note two points. First, if one sub-contractor must complete a specific task or line item before another trade can begin their work, the first contractor must be scheduled with ample time to complete their task.  Secondly, if an item such as specialty windows, pews or custom seating, custom dyed carpeting, artwork or other items scheduled to take many weeks or months for fabrication and ...


What is a “Contract”? A contract is defined as a set of promises. In order to be enforceable, all contracts must contain the following elements:¨ There must be an agreement between the parties, “a meeting of the minds” on the subject matter of the contract. ¨ The subject matter must be lawful. ¨ There must be sufficient consideration. ¨ All parties must have the legal capacity to contract and there must be compliance with legal requirements regarding the form of contract. A construction contract must be in writing to be enforceable. A construction contract is divided into five sections: Section One - The parties to the contract : each party to the contract is listed. Section Two - The scope of work - the entire scope of work must be listed in this section. On major projects, a separate book with the written scope of work and the accompanying blue prints will be included as an attachment detailing the scope of work and will be listed as an exhibit to the contract. Section Three - The cost - This section should include the cost of the work ...

Building Committee Checklist

__ What is the structural condition of the building? __ What is the condition of the roof, windows, doors and walls? __ What is the condition of the major systems of the structure? __ Are HVAC, electrical, sprinkler, alarm and plumbing systems in good working order? __ What repairs need to be made to each of these? __ How many people will the building be able to hold according to fire code? __ How many people will the sanctuary hold? __ What will it cost to renovate the building? __ Can the building be designed to contain the various classrooms, offices, worship spaces and meeting spaces included on the building committee's wish list? __ Will the PraiseBuilding complex be able to park all the members' cars on site? Stephen Ferrandi is the Director of KLNB Religious Properties, a real estate firm serving religioius clients in Maryland, D.C., Pennsylvania, and Virginia. He is one of the top experts in land development in the region. Mr. Ferrandi frequently contributes real estate related articles to both print and online publications.