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Hiring a Church Architect

Getting the right church architect

The way most churches hire a church architect is dead wrong and ends up costing God's church millions of dollars every year!!  This money is wasted on church plans that will probably never be built because the plans far exceed the financial ability of the church.  The church has a responsibility to fundamentally understand what they need to build and what they can afford before they contemplate hiring a church architect! 

Follow these tips and you will save time, money and effort in the hiring of a church architect and the architectural design of your new church.  Church construction is never easy, but there are things you can to do make the church design process a lot more effective.

3 things that your church should do before it engages a church architect.

  • Understand what your church needs to build to meet the needs of ministry. A church architect, even many of those who have helped other churches, are typically not really good a translating the needs of the church into land and building requirements.  If you need help, look to engaging the services of an independent church construction consultant.

  • Understand what you can afford to build.  Your building plans must accomplished within the scope of what you have determined you can afford to build - and that budget needs to be clearly conveyed to your architect. 4 out of 5 churches will have a building plan designed by an architect that is 2-3 times what they can truly afford to build. Don't become a statistic!

  • Review the options. Consider whether you must have a custom church plan or whether you might save time and money using an existing church building plan.  You also need to find a church architect, not just an architect that has done a few churches.  The architect you select should have experience designing the type, style, and size of church you are planning to build.

Failure to know what you need and what you can afford before you engage a church architect will, far more often than not, end up costing your church money to create a set of plans that they can never build.  Many architects (and sadly some "church architects") do not really know much about church design, and they certainly cannot help you with understanding what you can afford and how you will pay for it.  Get some help  from a church consultant to become equipped to get the right design solution and provider.

Find a proven church architect or download stock church building plans  from various church architects that are available online.

Cost Savings Ideas When Hiring A Church Architect

Once you conceptually know what you need to build, and what you can afford, your church needs to decide on whether to go with the traditional design/bid/build process or a more contemporary solution called design/build.  If you decide to hire an architect, you will probably benefit from help from a consultant to help you evaluate, select and negotiate with the design firm.  An experienced consultant, working for the church, can usually help your church save or more on architectural fees.  The same consulting services can help you if you should go with the design/build process as well, to insure you get the best church design and construction solution for your money. Church architects normally try to charge between 7% and 10% of the project budget.  An experienced consultant may be able to get that fee down to 4-5%.  The church may be able to save even more by starting with church plans from other building programs.

Tip: Look for church architects that will provide flat fee services rather than a percentage of the project.  The problem with percentage based fees is that there is no incentive for the church architect to save you any costs on the project, as doing so costs them money.

Look at architects that have not only done churches before, but have built churches like the one you want to build.  A church architect that has designed dozens of traditional mainline churches will be less equipped to build a cost efficient small contemporary church.

For more information, read our article 75 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Church Architect.


Church Building Guide


Written by an experienced church building consultant,

Preparing to Build provides your church valuable, real-world insight based on real-world experiences and input from hundreds of church building projects.

"Preparing to Build was an incredible value - just a wealth of
  information. The truth & his experience jump off the pages

           Dwight VanDaveer, Engineer & Church Building Committee Member

With over 160 information packed pages, this book will explain the process of building and how equip the saints for the work of building the church in an effective manner that will reduce the church's cost, risk and effort.  Click for more information or to purchase.


All Rights Reserved - (c) 2006 - Contact us for Reprint Permission about Hiring a Church Architect.