General Church Building Guidelines

The follow church building guidelines are an excerpt from the authors’ book, “Before You Build“. These church building guidelines have been compiled from a variety of sources including years of experience seeing what really works, and what doesn’t. Use these guidelines as a starting point for planning, but please note these are general guidelines for a church building program, and every one of these has exceptions and modifiers based on your particular needs.

In general, you should estimate approximately 1 acre per hundred people. This allows for your building, adequate parking, green space, recreation and storm water management. This space requirement would be greatly reduced in a metropolitan area where on-street or public parking is available.

Plan for 1 parking space for every 2.25 people on campus at one time. This will probably be less than the required parking by the city or county, but will more accurately reflect actual need. Initially you will be able to get away with less parking, however, you need to plan for adequate parking for the total capacity of the facilities, even if you decide to grow into it over time.

To get a good idea of parking requirements for a future building program, have someone go into the parking lot and count cars over a several week period along with taking a good attendance of everyone on campus. Divide the total average attendance (men, women and children) by the average number of cars. The result will probably be somewhere around 2 to 2.5 people per car. Multiply this number by the capacity of your new facility and this will tell you how many parking spaces you will eventually need in order to park everyone to fill your building to capacity.

Estimate on-site parking to be approximately 100-110 cars per acre. Structured parking (parking decks/garages) is VERY expensive. While structured parking can dramatically increase parking per acre, use only as a last resort due to the high cost of construction.

Sanctuary seating requirements typically range from 10 to 15 square feet per person, depending on layout, seating type, seating pattern, and total size of the sanctuary. Stage area should be calculated separately from seating area, which may vary greatly between churches.

Using chairs instead of pews will generally allow you to seat more people in the same space, perhaps as much as 20% more. Chairs also allow you to reconfigure your sanctuary as needed to support various types of use (weddings, Sunday morning service, events, community use, fellowship, etc.)

The Vestibule/Lobby/Narthex should be about 2 square feet per person in the worship center. Normally this will be approximately 15-20% sanctuary seating space. If you plan on running multiple services, you should consider increasing this to facilitate the “shift change”.

Classrooms range in size from 12 square feet per person (for adults) to 35 square feet per person in the room (nursery and toddlers), depending on the age group using the space.

Almost no church is built with enough storage, janitorial and working space.

A high school size basketball court is 50×84 feet. Adding modest space around the edge of the court for out of bounds, plus allowing for restrooms, storage rooms, multipurpose rooms, etc., means that you are probably looking at a minimum of 7,500-8,000 square feet of building.

Individual offices are usually recommended to be a minimum of 120 square feet and pastor’s offices a minimum of 150 square feet (with a recommended size of 300 square feet). Cubicles in open workspace areas range from approximately 48 to 105 square feet, although they may be as small as 4’x4″ (16 square feet).

Round tables in the fellowship hall will reduce seating capacity by 20% or more. In calculating space needs, plan on 12 square feet per person for square tables and 15 for round.

Overall, a building with dedicated spaces for sanctuary, fellowship, education, administration and multiuse space may require from 35-55 square feet of space per person, depending on programs, ministries and other factors.

A building with multi-purpose rooms (some rooms used for multiple purposes) may require as little as 23 square feet per person.

Plan on nearly twice the amount of restroom capacity for women than for men.

Hallways should be no less than 6 feet wide. Seriously consider wider halls if you run multiple services in order to facilitate “shift change”. This is especially important around the Sunday school rooms, and area that always seems congested.

Handicap ramps have a slope of no more than 1 inch of drop for every linear foot unless handrails are provided.

Budget approximately 10% of the building cost for new furnishings.

Generally speaking, first floor space on grade is cheaper than basement or 2nd floor space. If you have the room, it is generally better to spread out horizontally instead of vertically in order to minimize cost.

One way to estimate the cost of furniture is to take the floor plan of your new facilities and do a room-by-room inventory of what you would need to buy for that room. The easiest way to do this is in a spreadsheet with columns for room, item description, quantity, item cost and total cost (formula of quantity times item cost). Open a church supplies catalog and assign reasonable prices for each item and let the spreadsheet total the results.

None of the above points should to be construed as advice as to what to build, but only as points of reference to be used in your planning and budgeting process.

With this information, you are now equipped with some general ideas on church construction. As they say, a little knowledge can be dangerous, however, it is less dangerous than a lack of knowledge.

It is generally in the church’s best interest to find an outside consultant, either within the denomination or an independent church building consultant to help mold these general concepts into a definitive plan for your church’s building program. Outside counsel is almost always a wise move as the gap between knowing and not knowing about a matter is much smaller than the gulf between knowing something and doing it right.

Mistakes are easy to make. For more information on how to address critical church building issues, read “Before You Build: Practical Tips & Experienced Advice to Prepare Your Church for a Building Program” available for immediate free download.

How Steel Buildings Are Manufactured

Have you ever wondered how steel buildings are manufactured? The process is both complicated and precise. The manufacture of a steel building is an awesome combination of engineering, draftsmanship, ingenuity, teamwork, know-how and metal building manufacturing expertise. Each building receives the utmost care and attention throughout the manufacturing process, manufactured by experienced craftsmen and watched over by a dedicated staff of professionals from start to finish. Precision engineering, machinery and components plus exceptional quality control yield a precision high quality manufactured product.

Once a customer has purchased a pre-engineered steel building or metal building system, their sales person, who performs multiple functions of building consultant, building designer, technician and estimator, forwards the purchaser’s order to the steel building factory. In the top metal building factories, the factory itself fabricates all required building components in house. That way, all components are compatible and go together easily on the job site with no surprises and no waiting for components to arrive from different suppliers.

At the steel building factory, the order entry department oversees the order from start to finish, from the time the order is received until the steel building is shipped. Steel building factory staff verifies all design codes, snow and wind loads and seismic information to make sure that everything complies with the purchaser’s contract and enters the order into scheduling software to ensure that the buildings manufacture is efficiently managed.

Pre-engineered steel buildings engineers are responsible for optimization of the steel building, each engineer certified by the state where the building will be constructed. Building details including snow and wind loads and seismic information is input into an advanced metal building software program that generates engineered shop drawings for the framing of the building as well as other drawings needed for the buildings manufacture and construction.

The metal building factory’s pre-engineered steel building engineers review the building drawings and check the purchase order again for accuracy. Permit drawings are generated that can be used to help secure permits to erect the building.

Actual building production begins with the input of building specifications into CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machinery, a process that involves the use of computers to control machines programmed with CNC machining language (G-code). The CNC machinery controls all machine features including feeds and speeds. 

Components of steel buildings, such as I-beams, gutters and down spouts, sidewalls and end wall panels, and even standing seam roofs are systematically manufactured in designated areas called “lines” throughout the metal building factory. Each manufacturing line completes a specific function, automated by use of conveyors that move the steel sheeting, I-beams and fabricated metal components from station to station. Since each steel building is manufactured to order, building components are produced as required to fulfill each steel buildings exact specifications. 

The manufacture of steel buildings rafters and columns begins with the Plasma Table. The Plasma Table cuts the web, the center of the rafter or column (like the center of the letter “H”). The web moves to a holding station waiting to move by automated conveyor to the station where the web will be tack-welded to the flange. 

The flange machine cuts flanges into specified lengths determined by the pre-engineered buildings specifications from steel bar stock. After cutting, the flanges move to a holding station waiting to move by automated conveyor to the station where the flanges will be tack-welded to the web prior to going through the automatic welding machine. 

Certified welders tack-weld flanges and webs in place to form rafters and columns. The tacked rafters and columns move by conveyor to the PHI machine. At the PHI machine, an automatic welding process fuses the web and flange materials, permanently welding the flanges to the web. A Welding Inspector checks all welds to ensure that strict AISC standards are met. 

Roof and sidewall panels are fabricated from steel sheeting. Large coils of metal sheeting are placed in a machine called an “uncoiler” which passes the sheeting through another machine called a “straightener” that straightens the sheet. The straightened sheet is die cut and passes through a roll former to give the straightened sheet the shape of roof or sidewall sheeting. As with all machinery in the steel building factory, computers are feeding information to the metal corrugation machine giving it the exact specifications for each building. 

Sophisticated machinery on the Trim Line automates the process by which custom trim is formed and ensures exact bends and perfect angles. Starting with a coil of steel mounted on an uncoiler, the steel passes through a straightener to a series of ten roll formers that form the shape of each trim and make all trim components: rake trim, corner trim, jamb trim, head trim, base trim, eave trim, rake angle, base angle, gutter straps, downspouts and gutters. 

Out in the yard the Staging Department gathers all the steel building components and carefully loads them onto trucks to deliver the building to the job site. Special attention is given to the Bill of Materials ensuring that every order is complete and accurate. The Traffic Office handles the shipment of each building, scheduling trucks and coordinating buildings to arrive at the job site on time where the erection crew is waiting for delivery.

Top 5 Reasons Why Team Building Games Fail, and How to Avoid Them

When a Californian home security company chose their team building games, little did they know that the program would end disastrously, not just for the employees but for the company as well.

In the fiercely competitive game, sales teams were pitted against each other. Throughout the game, the competitors’ name posts were fixed in strategic places to make the employees ‘fight the crap out of each other’. In the end, the winning team ridiculed the losing team by making them wear diapers, feeding them baby food and throwing pies at them.

After the event, employees sued the company and it had to pay out USD1.7 million as damages! So much for honorable intentions!

A huge number of team building games fails because they share at least a few – if not all – of the elements above. They think that the best team games are those that pit teams against each other through fierce contests and throw up clear winners and losers. This is ironic because most companies desire more cooperation between employees, not fierce competitiveness. They want an atmosphere where knowledge is shared and success is achieved together. Then, where is the sense in selecting team building games where the focus is on competition rather than cooperation?

Some of the main reasons why team building games fail are as follows:

  • No understanding of final goals and objectives: Many employers like to spring a surprise on their employees but this can be counterproductive. When participants do not know the end goals, there could be seriously hostility between them. Instead, companies should inform the team members of the teambuilding program. In fact, companies can go one step further and give team members the power to choose. By respecting the team’s views and decisions in the matter and by giving them what they want, companies take the first step towards effective team building.
  • Trying to scare employees into being a team: Facilitators sometimes push a huge challenge on the employees as the very first activity. Quite naturally, this makes more than 90% of the participants hold back from giving their best. Facilitators must design games so that there is proper sequencing of activities starting with games that address the group’s current state of being. Do the team members know each other well? Is there a conflict that must be resolved before the team can work as one? The level of complexity must go up slowly to ensure that everyone is able to contribute evenly.
  • Stiff competition = rivalry: Competition is not the basis for team work, cooperation is. According to studies, more than 87% of times, greater advantage goes to teams that took the cooperative approach instead of the competitive one. The reasons are not hard to find. When you try to make one team (or team member) win, everyone loses. If people get a feeling that they weren’t good enough, it lowers their performance. Often, competition uncovers the inner jerk in the participants and some people may even try unfair means just so they can win. Besides, people learn much less when they are fighting against each other. Therefore, team building games must focus on imparting lessons instead of finding and rewarding winners.
  • Lack of commitment: Sometimes, management makes the mistake of considering the program an exercise in futility, something that is done to keep the employees in good humor. This feeling gets conveyed to teams automatically and results are unsatisfactory. Team building is a value mission and there must be a belief at the highest level that the company thrives on the culture of team spirit.
  • Working with the wrong consultant: Finally, the quality of team building games is only as good as the quality of the team building Event Company you are working with. Experts in the field have the technical proficiency to guide management in choosing the best activities for their goals. When looking for a team building consultant, it is vital to find someone who is passionate about what they do and are ready to work with you for the success of your team.

If a company has had a bad experience with team building games in the past, the reasons are likely to be one or more of the above.