There are numerous steps that must be taken when working out your church design, whether you’re constructing a new church building from scratch or doing major church remodeling. We’ve previously written about both zoning and building codes. However, another element, one that can easily be overlooked, is utilities. They can have a significant impact on how your church vision gets translated into a workable church design.
Beginning with an Electricity Primer
First, let’s begin with electricity. It’s easy to think electric is electric, but the distribution of electricity is more complicated than that. There are two common types of electrical delivery here in the US: single-phase and three-phase power. Single-phase is the type of power that’s usually found in homes. Three-phase power is often needed for commercial and industrial facilities. It can accommodate heavier loads and great amounts of power.
If planning isn’t done to account for three-phase, instead of installing larger, more efficient HVAC systems to serve your entire church building, you might need to install a number of smaller HVAC systems for various parts of the building.
Addressing Gas, Water, and Sewer Availability for Your Church Building
Not all areas of the country have access to natural gas. This impacts which types of mechanical systems and kitchen furnishings you can install. It also impacts the amount of electricity you will need to cover all the systems in your church design.
Water can also be an issue. If you’re constructing a church building in the city, you likely can tap into the municipal water line. If you’re building out in the suburbs or rural areas, you might need to dig a well. Along the same lines, there might be a sewer line you can tap into, or you might need to install a septic system. In some cases, you may need more specialized systems such as a grinder pump and force main to carry sewage uphill to connect with an existing sewage line.
Counting the Cost of Your Church Design
All these options have costs, and counting the cost is an important element of good stewardship with your church design. If you’re fortunate, utility lines might already be laid all the way to the edge of where your church building will be. Otherwise, there will be expense associated with bringing utilities from the property line to your church building. There will also be costs to tap into each of those utilities.
If you need to dig wells and septic systems, there are also higher up-front costs associated with these options. In addition, if you’re constructing a large church building, those building codes might require that you install a fire suppression system. Wells generally can’t provide the necessary water pressure to feed these systems, so you will incur additional costs for generators, fire pumps, and holding tanks.
These are some of the specific elements that impact each aspect of your church design. It’s why you always want professionals to guide you in the transformation of your church vision into a workable church design. It’s also why we provide our free i3 webinars for church leaders like you. We will be rolling out our 2022 lineup of webinars soon.