Every business has its own set of rules, regulations, and documentation. The church design and building business is no different. Indeed, before you can set the cornerstone for your new church building, you’ve got to have the paperwork in order. So, let’s discuss some of what you’ll need, specifically what’s required in a proper set of construction documents.

Construction Documents and the Church Design Timeline

Construction documents are prepared once your design, budgeting and funding preparations are in place. You don’t want to begin drafting your church building if you haven’t calculated the cost and determined where the money to cover that cost will come from, whether it’s from cash on hand, a lending institution, pledge drive or a combination of all three. Once you know how you’re going to finance your church building, you’re ready for the construction documents.

Civil Engineering: What’s Outside Your Church Building

There are two types of construction documents: engineering and architectural. Civil Engineering is the term used to describe the documents that will address things outside of your new church building structure. You might be building on a new site, or adding to an existing church facility, and there are different elements involved with each.

If you’re adding additional parking, for example, you might need to submit construction documents for zoning approval. If you’re changing the layout of the land, you will need construction documents that map out storm water management systems. Other types of documents will be needed to show utilities, as they come onto the property and into your church building.

Structural Engineering: Your Church Building Itself

Structural engineering address how the church building will be constructed and supported. This is how the walls, roof, foundations and alike will be laid out and shows support loads required by the building code along with specific loads required by other factors

Architectural documents address how the church building will be constructed and laid out. These details show what a wall is made of, how building codes are met and what finishes are planned. Architects will also need to contribute expertise and coordinate other plans for other engineering disciplines like plumbing, electric, HVAC, audio, video, and lighting.

For example, you’ll want to make sure your electric service and supply is large enough to meet your audio, video, and lighting needs. Will conduits be installed and wires pulled to the places where you need power? Where will you want wall connection points or to plug into the floor instead?

The structural engineer needs to know the load from the roof top unit the HVAC engineer wants to place on the roof.

You will also address interior design in your construction documents. This includes the types of flooring and ceilings, but also the specific types of materials you want for your restroom and kitchen fixtures, doors, countertops, and cabinets.

Putting Plans on Paper

The construction documents cover everything that will go into your church building project, and once you reach this point, your church design will become a defined reality, at least on paper. The good news is that this is where the design process ends, and actual building is ready to begin.

Construction documents are just one topic we covered in our recent i3 webinars. These free seminars address everything from sharpening your church vision for ministry to the latest church design trends. Sign up today for our next one to learn more about the church building process.