It’s important to understand the many steps to the successful completion of any church building project. Creating construction documents is one of those steps.

Once the basic church design (Schematic Design) has been approved by church leaders and you have the commitment from the congregation and your lending institution (if there is one), then the construction documents can be prepared. These documents translate your basic church design into plans, sections and details that builders can use during construction. Read on to learn more about these additional church design drawings and how they’re used.

Addressing Details of the Church Building Exterior and Property

One type of construction document addresses the exterior of your church building and the property on which it stands. Shown here is an example of what are called “exterior elevations.” These side-view architectural plans show the details of the exterior of the building and include exact measurements, as well as the types of external materials that will protect your church building from the elements of nature.

Civil engineering drawings focus on the outdoor spaces and systems that will impact your church building, such as parking lots and land grading (which determines how the land will slope away from your church building and thus avoid ending up with rainwater in your basement!). Storm sewers also help to move rainwater or snowmelt away from the building, while the exact placement of water, gas, sewer, and electrical lines is crucial for attaching these systems to the church building and ensuring safe digging in the future, after the systems are in place and landscaping is installed.

Illustrating the Structural Bones of Your Church Design

Other drawings address different structural and engineering elements in your church design. The structural engineering document shows how the types and placement of different construction materials (steel, wood, masonry, etc.) will keep the building standing. The plumbing design shows how water and waste will flow throughout the church building (and flow only in the proper directions!). The HVAC system document shows ductwork and zoning for the various systems in your church design.

Working with the Electrical Engineering Schematics to Meet Your Needs

The final type of construction document we cover here is the electrical engineering schematics. This document shows all types of electrical wiring throughout your church design. This covers the basics like light switches turning on lights in the same room and supplying sufficient power to all appliances in your church building, from fridges and freezers in the kitchen to the various HVAC systems in different areas of your church building.

Other engineering drawings cover things like wiring for theater lighting, audio and video system lines and controls for your worship space, and even security. This is when you need to make sure all such needs are covered, from sound booth wiring to security cameras and the wi-fi network, and (possibly) landline phone systems.

The bottom line is that each infrastructure element in your church design needs its own set of construction documents. This is one of many reasons why the church building construction process takes time, even if you are remodeling an existing building (and especially if you don’t have a copy of those original construction documents!). Fortunately, this is part of the package provided by construction professionals.

To learn more about everything that church building professionals consider during the church design and building process, stay tuned for the rollout of our 2022 free i3 webinar series, where we will continue to give you up-to-date information on the church building process. We’ll be providing the details in our next blog post.