Though we are covering the church building process, step by step, it’s important to note that not everything involved follows a linear order. In some steps we’ve discussed, lots of tasks can be accomplished at the same time as other ones. While the main task now is getting the funding for your new church building or church remodeling project, it’s also time to get the right permissions to begin construction, and that means building permits.

Building Permits and Zoning Requirements

When it comes to permits, we need to note one thing. Each city and town is different in terms of its permitting process. In most cases, zoning requirements must be addressed before you can apply for a building permit. Now, in rare cases, you might be constructing a church building on county, instead of town or city, land, where there is no municipal jurisdiction. In this case, you may not have any zoning restrictions. That’s good news, because you don’t have to go through the zoning process, but it also could mean anyone can build something right next door to your church that might not fit in with your church’s vision for the community.

How Long Can It Take to Get a Church Building Permit?

The permitting process can take anywhere from a month to a year—it all depends on the size of the municipality and the process involved. A general rule of thumb is, the larger the city, the longer time you need to allow. We have found that, on average, 50 percent of our clients receive their building permit within six to eight weeks of application submission. But, many in the other 50 percent wait longer.

What Is the Building Permit Process?

Once you have submitted your church building permit application, most states require that your jurisdiction respond to you within thirty days. This does not mean you’ll have an approved permit within thirty days. Most applications are not accepted the first time around. Instead, the jurisdiction will submit a “correction letter,” which asks questions and requests clarification about various aspects of your church design plan and construction documents. You will need to respond to those requests for additional information before your building permit can be approved.

You don’t have to be twiddling your thumbs during this time, however. Instead, you can also be reaching out to various building contractors for bids on your church design and construction. We will talk about bidding more in our next installment of this step-by-step series.

However, in our next post, coming at the first of the year, we’ll take a quick break from this series and fill you in on all the planned i3 webinars in 2019. We’ve already listed the first few on our home page, so you can sign up now. Meanwhile, we wish you a happy and holy Christmas and joyous New Year.