Building a new or renovating an existing religious facility is a major project. In order for the finished project to serve both the needs of your institution and your congregation, it’s important to keep in mind and stay up to date with all variables that could potentially influence the process. Here are 5 variables that will help you get a better understanding of the types of questions you should be asking and answering in the course of your religious facility construction project.
1) Understanding Congregation Needs
Above all, you need to be sure that you build or renovate a structure that will serve your congregation. The layout of the space should accommodate your audience as much as the individual rooms and design elements within that layout.
It can be tempting to assume that your congregation has a series of needs you should address. But in general, the better option is to talk to your audience directly, and gauge whether your assumptions are actually correct. That way, the finished project will be much more likely to meet all relevant needs.
2) Developing a Reliable Timeline
A second variable of crucial importance is to make sure that the timeline of your building or construction project will both be short and reasonably accurate. Naturally, during construction, your congregation will not be able to use their religious facility. They at least need to know how long they will need to seek alternatives before returning to a new and improved space.
Ideally, you should have a plan in place that helps your audience seek alternatives during the construction. That might include suggesting alternative facilities in the area, or a temporary meeting space that you rent for the duration of the project. The less difficult the transition for your audience, the more likely they’ll be to embrace the new space.
3) Structuralizing the Intangibles
Regardless of your faith, religious facilities tend to offer their audience very specific ways to worship. That might include a side chapel at which your congregation can offer private prayers, a confession chamber, or a presentation shrine for Tora scrolls.
Many elements of your audience’s faith are intangible, but your facility tends to offer them a way to make them more tangible. That means any construction should make sure that the elements your congregation need to worship are integrated into the very fabric of the building.
4) Optimizing a Limited Budget
We’re not telling you any secret when we say that in our experience, construction projects for religious facilities tend to occur on a limited budget. They are often funded by the congregation, which means you need to make sure that every bit of the money is well-spent to make the space as functional and beautiful as possible. Always try to work with professionals who can help you spend the money efficiently and without waste.
5) Complying with ADA Guidelines
Finally, any publicly accessible buildings need to comply with ADA guidelines on easy access for people with disabilities. For your religious facility, these guidelines are especially important.
Put simply, you can’t (and probably don’t want to) make access more difficult for older members of your congregation. As a result, you need to design and build the entire facility with easy access in mind, both in terms of performing the main activities and accessing support rooms such as the restroom.
All of the above variables can make your religious facilities construction project seem complicated and difficult. But in reality, your path to success may be as easy as finding the right construction company. A partner who has experience in building facilities like yours can help answer your question, and ensure that the finished project will be one that both you and your congregation can appreciate. For more information on how we can work together, contact us.