A good request for proposal or interview should always have these qualifying items.
- List of church or related projects within the past ten years.
- Percentage of total work on church projects.
- Fee structure.
- List of ten references from past church projects.
- Key people who will be involved
- Typical timeframe of a project.
- What the church would need to provide to complete this project.
- What kind of innovative ideas have you implemented in other recent projects?
From these answers you should be able to determine if the design professionals are church specialists, a design specialist in another field, or just a general design professional. Obviously, you want a church design professional with specific church architecture and construction experience. Any designer can design a space but not everyone can build a worship center, family life center, or multi-ministry building that isn’t just a blank room. A church design specialist will know how to make the nuances and small features fit your church’s culture. If they are involved in their church, they have experienced overcrowded foyers, small restrooms, poorly designed kitchens, inflexible platforms, poor traffic flow, and not having enough classrooms. Instead of trying to explain these things to someone, why not have someone who understands your ministry? It is imperative that you, after prayerful consideration, select a design professional that is a church specialist.
After selecting your design professional, references should be checked for at least three of their former projects. Make sure to ask…
- Were they trustworthy?
- Were they honest?
- How is the quality of the finished building?
- Is the function of the building appropriate for the ministry using it?
- Would they use them again?
- How did they handle problems?
Problems are going to come up. Did they handle them quickly, effectively, and in a Christ-like manner? These items will tell a lot about the design professional, the builder, and the church.
Fees can be set up different ways: flat fee, hourly fee, a percentage of the construction cost, or a combination of all three.
Should you choose a professional who does Design/Build or Design – Bid – Build? A study conducted by the Construction Industry Institute reveals that of 350 projects, Design/Build was significantly better than the Design – Bid – Build process in the areas of cost, time and quality.