Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Avoid Entering the “Wide Gate” Leading to Unbuildable Designs and/or Inflated Construction Cost

Jesus said it well in Matthew 7:13, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.
Jesus knew culture and society would be a constant pull in the wrong direction, but this wisdom is also applicable to a church building program. Following the crowd is often not the right answer, for as many as 80% of churches make similar types of mistakes very early in the process; mistakes that end up costing time, money and more.
For churches looking to build, common practice is to call an architect to design a building, and then receive bids from contractors to build the building. This is a common practice, the wide gate if you will. It may be common process, but not necessarily the best practice for your church. There is a better process, if you know how to do it.

Millions of dollars are wasted each year by churches on building designs they cannot afford, and/or in unplanned cost overruns.

A builder presenting to a breakout group at a church building conference asked the pastors in the room how many of them, when they took over the pastorate, had found building plans in a closet, desk, or box that were never built. Of this group of 22, 20 pastors (90%) raised their hands! If each of those 22 churches spent an average of $60,000 on architectural plans, the pastors in that room alone represented $1.2M of money which were wasted on church building plans that were never built.
Construction cost overruns and change orders are commonplace in the construction industry. With these issues is not a matter of “if”, but “when”. Sadly, many contractors and sub-contractors actively pursue change orders as a method of increased revenue and profit, at the church’s expense. What would the dollar cost of even a 10% increase in your building program be? Wasting precious money in building is largely avoidable with proper planning and management, if you know how to do so.

Two Questions to ponder…

  • Do you want to just follow the common practice of the day, or educate yourself on the options available to you and make the right choice for your church?
  •  Do you want to sail through your building program with confidence in knowing you are following a wise path and have properly positioned your church to receive an affordable and cost effective design with minimal exposure from change orders?
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, 
I took the one less traveled by, 
and that has made all the difference.” 
Excerpt from the poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost.

Just because something may be the common practice of the day, it does not mean it is the right and wise choice for your church building program. If you are interested in learning more about how to avoid the “Wide Gate,” follow this link to learn more from an experienced church construction consultant.

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