Preparation is a key value in any church design and construction project. One important step is to develop a comprehensive and realistic church building budget before you begin conversations with your lending institution. When it’s clear that you’ve done your homework, you can impress your bankers, and help to receive the most favorable financial package.

Understanding the Four Church Building Budget Categories

There’s much more to a comprehensive church building budget than just the cost of the structure itself—though that will usually be the largest portion of the budget. Before that can begin, there must be site work to prepare the land for your building and bring in water, sewer, gas, and electric lines. If you’re replacing or remodeling an existing church building, some of those elements might be in place, but updating them to meet the latest codes and standards might come with additional costs. Then, when you’re done, you’ve got to install landscaping, parking, and other site amenities.

Before the church design can become reality, there are also all sorts of costs associated with approvals, fees, and permits. You’ll need to budget for architectural plans and various kinds of engineering drawings of your church design that will be required to receive permits and various and many times numerous government permit fees.

Finally, once the shell of the church building is constructed, you need to spend money on what’s called FF&E, or furnishings, fixtures and equipment. This includes everything from the tables and chairs in the classrooms to phone systems for offices and live stream equipment for your online services.

Thinking Beyond Your Church Design When Budgeting

Those church building categories are central to the budget, but they’re not all. Anyone who has put together a budget during the initial design phase of a project knows that it’s really a “working document,” because things will change along the way. We always recommend a contingency line in budgets because every project needs a safety net for unexpected costs.

For example, we’ve heard a lot lately about “supply chain issues,” and those could impact your budget’s bottom line as well. Perhaps you ordered a video projector for your worship center, but the manufacturer can’t get the parts they need, and they say it will be another six months before the video projector is ready. You need the video projector sooner than that, so you might have to choose a different model or find it elsewhere at a higher price.

Reckoning on Inflation in Turbulent Times

Another important element to include in any realistic church design and construction budget is inflation. As we know all too well, turbulent times and supply chain issues can cause costs to rise over time. Responsible and sensible church leaders will factor that into their comprehensive budget, and lending institutions are likely to look more favorably on a loan application that takes such issues into account.

Good stewardship is one hallmark of a thriving church. No matter where you are in your church design and building process, we want to support you in being good stewards. This is why we continue to share our free i3 webinars every year, so sign up for our webinars today.