Religious Building Needed

September 17th, 2014 by Andre Marquez Architects

You lead a congregation… or you are an elder… or you have just been appointed to your church/synagogue/mosque/worship building committee.

Pretty daunting, right?

Where do you start your construction project?

In your case, you already know “what” you’re building. Your question is probably: how?

Where do you start your worship center/building project? You need to identify wants and needs.

The key here is deciding whose wants and needs determine the program for your construction project.

In our experience, you should include at a minimum everyone who is a full time worker at the facility. They know how things run, what is already working, what is not, what should be corrected… Plus, you want them to have ownership of the project. The more excited your staff and leadership is about the new building, the more excited the congregation will be.

At a minimum, we suggest you include the following people in the church building project process:

  • Head Pastor (Rabbi, Imam)
  • Assistant
  • Ministry Heads (Children, Music, Youth, Women)
  • Administrators (Treasurer/Bookkeeper, Secretary)
  • Board of elders, or any other leadership group
  • Any other special ministry/department (video, IT, bookstore, etc.)

You get the picture. The important thing is that you want the actual users of the house of worship, to have input into what is needed.

And you never know… the best ideas might come from the least expected voice.

Because your particular building is a place where many people gather, it falls under specific code and ordinance requirements. A house of worship is classified as assembly use. This means that there are specific if varying requirements that have to be met. For example, distance to fire exits, number of toilets, building materials, even details, like door swings and location of fire extinguishers.

This is where your architect comes in. We not only design the aesthetics or appearance of your building, we ensure the “health, welfare, and safety” of its users. We do this by ensuring that zoning ordinances and codes are met throughout the design and the construction.

Over the years, we have developed a series of questionnaires that will help you get started in this process. Contact us for a copy, or if you have any questions about your project.

We also recommend that you visit the American Institute of Architects website.

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