Why the Church and Consultant Relationship is Key to a Successful Facility

Editor’s note: This article recently appeared in the April/May 2016 of Worship Facilities and describes the importance of maintaining strong relationships during every phase of the planning process.

Last year, Worship Facilities conducted a survey of church leaders who’d completed a construction project within the prior three years. Here is an in-depth look at one crucial finding — the importance of consultant selection.

Last year, Worship Facilities conducted a survey of church leaders who’d completed a construction project within the prior three years. One of the points we learned from their responses was how important it is to select a consultant (architect, design build firm, etc.), who’ll be a great fit.

One respondent stated they would do “better research and vet a design-build firm and insist on 3D computer modeling to check for plan fit.”

Another participant recommended churches, “select designers with a passion for the project and that will listen to the church. The lowest fee is not saving money in this case.”

When you embark on a new building or extensive remodeling project, you’ll spend a lot of time with the architectural and/or building firms you hire. This is the team of experts you’ll rely on to turn your vision into reality.

Since this relationship needs to be collaborative, we interviewed architects who’ve worked with churches to hear their perspective. We wanted to hear their recommendations for selecting a vendor and establishing a great relationship between church leadership and architect.

Here’s what we learned:

Tip #1: Look for a firm with experience working with church leaders

One church leader who responded to our survey recommended “Be patient and don’t rush into any one firm until you’ve been able to evaluate several contractors and visit sites they’ve completed and talk with staff to verify how their project went.”

David Strickland, Principal with CDH Partners recommends church leaders, “Select a good, experienced team who has worked with churches. If an architect or builder isn’t familiar with churches, you’ll have to spend time educating them on requirements and logistics that are specific to a church. If they have experience working with churches, it’ll make the project run much smoother and will establish a high level of confidence between groups (builder, architect and church).”
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