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PraiseBuildings Articles

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


15 Issues Every Construction Contract Must Have When Building or Remodeling Your Church, Synagogue or Temple.

15 Issues Every Construction Contract Must Have When Building or Remodeling Your Church, Synagogue or Temple.  All contracts must be in writing.  Repeat after me – ALL CONTRACTS MUST BE IN WRITING!  In a court of law it must be in writing to be enforceable. The contract must have the full address of the property where the work will be completed.  If you are building a church, you must be able to describe the parcel upon which the church is to be built.  Use the tax map and parcel number, or the legal description, the street address or some other way of explaining to the world that the church is to be constructed HERE! The name, address and telephone number of the party hiring the contractor.  Normally the church’s mailing address and the name of the minister or property chairperson signing the contract is sufficient. The contracting firm’s legal name, address and telephone number. Not that it is required, but this is a great place to insert the ...

25 Questions to Ask When Qualifying Your Contractor to Work on Your PraiseBuilding, Church, Temple, or Synagogue.

25 Questions to Ask When Qualifying Your Contractor to Work on Your PraiseBuilding, Church, Temple, or Synagogue. 1.     How long have you been in business?  2.     In what kind of work do you specialize?  3.     How did your firm get started? 4.     How many employees do you have?  5.     How long have your key employees been with you?  6.     Will you use your own crew for the work or will you subcontract all or part of the job?  7.     What types of work are you licensed to do in our state?  8.     How many other PraiseBuildings have you built or renovated?  9.     Who will be the project manager on our project?  10.   Do you have a working relationship with any architect who specializes in churches or houses of worship?  11.   How much insurance do you carry? 12.   What about general liability insurance, worker’s compensation insurance?  13.   Are you a bondable company? To what limit?  14.   Have you ever had a claim against either your insurance carrier or your bonding firm?  Explain  15.   How will this project fit into your production schedule?  16.   How long do you expect the outlined scope of work will ...

Buying Land for Your House of Worship – A Primer.

Buying Land for Your House of Worship – A Primer. When buying land, the first thing is to ask the basic question. “Where do we need to be geographically?”  If you were to say that you need to be within a five mile square of your current neighborhood or church - that is a good starting point.  The starting point is to identify the community or region where you want to grow your church.  This might mean you focus on an area that is presumed to be un-churched, or perhaps it is where the majority of your current members live.  Maybe the focus is to be located near a major highway so that you can attract membership from across a large area.  Growing a new church means determining where to plant the seed.  Once you have a geographic area determined, call your local real estate professional in Maryland, Delaware or the District of Columbia that’s Stephen Ferrandi 410-925-4566 or Josh Halbedel 443-574-1407 both religious property brokers with KLNB Commercial Real Estate. If you’re planning to build outside our market area and ...

75 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Church Architect

75 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Church Architect  Excerpted from the book, “Preparing to Build”, by Stephen Anderson The design and construction of church facilities may very well be one of the most important activities in your organization's history. One of the many critical components of your building success is hiring the right architect. Your church should consider at least 3-4 architects or design/build firms who have a good reputation for building the type and style of structures you are considering and are familiar with designing within the budget range you can afford.    General Background Questions  1. How long has the architect been in business?  2. What percentage of the firm’s business is designing church facilities?  3. How many people does the architect’s firm employ?  4. Does the architect have a valid license for the state in which you intend to build?  5. Does the architect commonly do church projects of the style, size and budget that you anticipate building?  6. Is the architect familiar with the nuances of your denomination and worship style and what this may mean in building design?  7. Does the architect have ...

On Building a Church

On Building a Church by Stephen J. Ferrandi It will always cost more to build your church then you expected. What the committee desires to build will exceed their budget, and most architects – even church architects can’t design within the limitation of a tight budget to the frustration of the contractors whose bids will come in over the projected budget and need to be re-bid. It will take longer to build your church than you think it should. Change Orders issued by both the contractor and congregation will exceed the contingency budget allocated for change orders. The building inspector will find fault with something that will result in many people being angry,  change orders being issued, and the work being delayed…for no good reason. A key member of the building team – architect, engineer, builder, subcontractor or  supplier will do something or forget to do something that will cause major problems for other team members -  this will result in harsh words, major delays, possibly lawsuits and more delays in the construction schedule with finger pointing all around. It will take much longer to raise the ...

10 Simple Rules for Designing a Great Worship Space

10 Simple Rules for Designing a Great Worship Space By Stephen J. Ferrandi, Director Trinity Church Property Management  1. Ceiling Height  Create as high a ceiling as possible.  High ceilings help create the feeling that the space is important, which in turn helps instill reverence in the space.  High ceilings are also required to create the acoustics needed for music, praying in unison, and projection of the voice.  Music requires a high ceiling in order to sound full-bodied and powerful. 2. Symmetry  Use proportional spacing and balance to create a Symmetrical worship environment.  The sanctuary, platform, altar area, pulpit, bimah, stage or other focal point of the worship space should be centered to allow most members of the congregation an un-obstructive view.  When placing seating, it is important to use symmetrical design.  If  pews, theater seats or movable chairs are to be installed, several issues are important to consider prior to installing the seating.  First, seating in an auditorium space is governed by federal, state and local fire and life safety codes.  Prior to purchasing seating for your space, understand the Requirements for your ...

Church Building 101 Units of Measure

Church Building 101 Units of Measure When building your house of worship here are the basics rules of thumb. When purchasing land plan on 1 usable acre of paved, stripped parking for every 300 people.  A paved, stripped parking area should be able to accommodate between 100-115 cars per usable acre and most building codes allocate 1 car per 3 people.  Many local building codes may require islands of planted vegetation within the parking lot which reduces the number of cars per acre  A usable acre is one that does not contain non-buildable ground, such as wetlands, steep slopes, irregularly shaped property, ungradable hills, property that is not accessible, and or property which high tension power lines cross over and where cars are not allowed to drive under these power lines .  Parking Space Dimensions: Standard:  ...

The Lending Mess Could Be a Blessing

The Lending Mess Could Be a Blessing Congregations with cash in hand could reap big savings by building now By Stephen J. Ferrandi A loan officer at a major global bank announced at a recent gathering, “We have money to lend, just not to the four R’s – residential developers, restaurants, retail businesses and of course religious congregations.” The current lending environment can be described simply as banks are risks adverse. They are looking to lend money, just not to anyone who actually needs the loan. Houses of worship pose a particularly interesting dilemma for most lenders. Not only do they have to always face the fear of having a public relations disaster should they ever have to foreclose on the church, synagogue, temple or mosque, but now they have the uncertainty of lending money on a project that may actually be worth less than its construction cost should foreclosure be necessary in the future. Many lenders who have traditionally lent money to houses of worship are currently sitting on the sidelines. As David Dennison, President of Church Mortgage ...

Designing the PraiseBuilding Complex

Whether one calls it a sanctuary, worship space, celebration room, nave, assembly hall, or great room, the focal point of a structure is the single most important room in the Praise Building. Designing this space, (which for the purpose of this text, we will call the sanctuary) need not be complicated to design or expensive to construct. There are four major components to designing your PraiseBuilding: structural elements, systems, assembly issues and decorative ideas. Structural elements are the brick and mortar components of building. These elements for the most part are governed under local and in some cases, federal building code regulations. How these pieces come together vary quite a bit from locality to locality because of various building codes and even local interpretation of these codes from inspector to inspector. While restoring churches in Homestead, Florida in September 1992, it was puzzling to learn that the building code regulation for installing roofs was changed three times in a single week. The Miami Herald ran an article that the Chief Building Inspector for Dade County had failed inspection on his ...

Understanding a Construction Budget: Funding the Project

No matter how much money you’ve raised, it’s not enough. BELIEVING IN THE PROJECT When working with a construction budget, there are many points that one should understand. In this chapter we explain both the “how” and “why” of construction budgeting for PraiseBuilding renovation, as well as a few “don’t ever do this” pointers and discussion of the mistakes made in years of working with congregations. Remember that when we speak of construction budgets for PraiseBuilding acquisition and renovation, we are probably going to be speaking in terms of hundreds of thousands of dollars to many millions of dollars. Dealing with these huge amounts of money to many people is unnerving. Remember that one is not raising all of this money from a single paycheck. Hopefully, the growing congregation is large enough and full of working families who, although living paycheck to paycheck, are able to have every family contribute a little from their paycheck each week. If a congregation of 250 families each contributed $50 each week to the building drive over the normal tithing and offering, the congregation would raise ...

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