What to include for kids’ spaces in your church design? This has been the focus of our recent posts. The last looked at some of calculations of including a preschool or childcare ministry in a church building, like teacher ratios and how much square footage you need per child.

Building codes must also be addressed, as well as the state board regulations for licensed childcare. These vary by state and can be stringent, so it’s important to pay attention to them. Here are some details.

Egress Requirements for Young Kids

Building codes will, for one, affect your design when it comes to egress. Classrooms designed for children under 30 months old must have an exit door directly to the outside. This prevents classrooms for this age group from being in the basement, or on a second level, unless sprinklers are installed.

Sometimes, especially in old church buildings, the stairs are problematic: too steep, not wide enough, the heights of the steps are different, or you don’t have enough sets of stairs out for egress issues. Those are all issues when getting your building ready for childcare that building codes will regulate.

Narrow halls and dead-end corridors are problems, too. A dead-end corridor is a hallway that when you go down it, the only exit out is back the way you came. Modern building codes require you to have a way out once the corridor is longer than 20 feet. This can affect remodels quite a bit.

Kitchens, Accessibility, and Restrooms

Compliance with egress requirements is, of course, critically important in a church design. But there are other building codes to consider, like having one restroom fixture for every ten kids in your building, and it should be easily accessible. For the younger kids, it is helpful to have restroom facilities within the classrooms. 

Other regulations must be taken into consideration, too. For example, if you serve your kids hot meals prepared in the kitchen, you must ensure the kitchen meets health department codes. This includes things like grease traps, fire suppression hoods, and commercial equipment. Church kitchens are typically exempt from this unless food is being served to daycare or preschool children. Otherwise, your kitchen is subject to these codes and inspections.

Accessibility is another important consideration when it comes to church design. You want to ensure the building is compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. This includes elevators, family restrooms, doorway widths, and ramps, among other things.

Church Design Guidance

Building a new church or redesigning an existing building can be challenging, but we are here to help. Join us for our free i3 webinars to learn the latest trends and topics in church building and design. These sessions can help you generate ideas for planning and funding your projects, so that you can have the church and ministry you envision.