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PraiseBuildings Articles

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


Walk Through The Church Facility: The Main Foyer

Church architects often refer to it as the narthex. The common term among the church people is foyer or lobby. A contemporary concept is to make this area a central concourse or mall patterned after the shopping center with the enclosed mall and food court. One well known church has a Starbucks franchise in the central mall. Let’s avoid extremes, seeking a balance that will contribute to our central purpose of the church to produce disciples—a man perfect in Christ Jesus (Colossians 1:28). While I do not believe we should seek to replicate the mall and the food court, there is an opposite extreme I often find in the church facility of nothing more than an entry area without adequate circulation space or a central gathering area for greetings and fellowship. I like to call the main foyer the COMMONS. It is a common point of entry from the main church entrance where people can be easily directed to any area of the church complex. Those people who are familiar with the building should be able to go from the commons ...

The Church Borrowing To Build: Let Borrowing Serve You

Certainly the concept of borrowing money has been abused. Many have become slaves to debt (defined as excessive borrowing) rather than making debt (defined as reasonable borrowing, better identified as loans) serve them. I believe the church project can be partially funded through borrowing without violating biblical principals governing interest and payment of loans. Borrowing should never replace stewardship. Challenge your people with the Word of God to an enlarged faith that would encourage giving beyond the visible assets of the moment in trust agreements with God. Accept the possibility with God of sufficient cash gifts for the project. Raise all you can. However, waiting for cash to build in some instances is costly. You may miss the opportunity to purchase a suitable building site when it is available. Inflation could increase building costs more rapidly than your building fund is increasing. A congregation usually becomes weary and disheartened if they see little progress. Capacity crowds in the present facility may eliminate your ability to grow. Occupying a new facility may allow you to reach more people for Christ who can also give to eliminate the ...

Renovating the Catholic Church: An Architect`s Perspective

Painting all the walls white, replacing the pews with chairs, relocating the tabernacles to one closet and piling all the statues in another, ripping out every conceivable object in the sanctuary…and leaving one square table (the altar) and a potted palm on the back wall. The second kind are the "Salvaging Renovations" where so-called "modern" churches…usually built in the sixties and seventies and easily mistaken for lecture halls or gymnasiums are being transformed into sacred spaces that look more like churches and attempt to implement the liturgical indications following Vatican II. This article will consider the latter and is addressed to those who are considering the renovation of their church. Since this can be a very perplexing adventure, here are a few observations frommy own experience that may prove helpful. 1. The architect and unity of purpose Since you, the client, will be inundated with advice from every conceivable quarter, the best thing to do is get professional help early. The question is: what kind of professional help? Pastors are constantly being approached by commercial purveyors of church goods who are ready ...

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 ...

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 ...

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