Consider this the only article you’ll need to determine everything from lot dimensions to interior customizations for your house of worship. Whether you’re breaking ground on a new project or simply moving to accommodate your growing congregation, this article will help you navigate the big decisions behind building a new church. We’ll discuss attendance, parking requirements, the best building materials, and estimated design and construction time for your house of worship.
Things To Consider While Site Planning For Your House of Worship
These guidelines are meant to be used as a general rule of thumb when site planning. Use this article as a reference point for scoping out a property for your house of worship and estimating the building sizes you may need to accommodate your congregation. Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll be able to work with our team of prefabricated metal church building designers to complete the actual planning and design.
- How big does the lot need to be? If you plan on purchasing a piece of land to build a separate prefabricated metal structure rather than using an existing building, this might be the most critical question you’ll answer throughout the process. As a general rule, we recommend purchasing 1 acre of land for every 100-125 members in attendance at one time. If you have a specific budget in mind, and purchasing a larger lot is out of the question for your community, consider building a smaller church that holds multiple services each Sunday. You may have 300 active church members but only a single acre lot to work with – that’s okay! Just know that you will likely need to offer three worship services to accommodate the entire congregation plus parking requirements. Here’s a tip: If you’re building a new house of worship for an existing congregation, begin taking note of how often the average member attends church. Are most of your members devout Sunday worshippers, or does a chunk of the congregation strictly visit once a month and on important holidays? Take a survey from your less active members. Would they be more likely to attend regularly in a new, updated facility?
- What activities and services will your church offer? With prefabricated metal buildings, it can be reasonably easy to separate a single building into multiple, flexible spaces for education, fellowship, worship, and administration. Modern churches may even offer meeting spaces that are open to the community at large. However, you may wish to keep your fellowship hall and other gathering spaces separate from your main house of worship.
- How much parking do you require? For most churches, you can expect to need one space for every 2-2.5 people in attendance at a given time. (Remember to check back with your worship schedule from question #1.)When planning for parking, it can be easy to forget about long term parking and administrative lots. Does your house of worship have busses and vans that will need to be stored under a canopy when not in use? How many administrative positions are there? Will they require reserved parking? In most cases, you can fit 100-110 parking spaces per acre (assuming the acre is used for parking only, and not for your house of worship and/or fellowship halls.) Don’t forget to check in with your local handicapped parking requirements and with the needs of your specific congregation. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires four accessible parking spaces per 76 to 100 standard spaces, but your congregation may require more.
Once your site work is finished, you’re ready to tackle the exact size of your buildings and their individual interior spaces.
How big does my worship center need to be?
For a congregation of about 300 people, you’ll need about 15-17 square feet per person. That makes a 50 x 100 prefabricated metal building the ideal size at 5,000 square feet. Even if your congregation is substantially smaller, you can still benefit from the cost savings of a 50 x 100 metal building. With 46% more interior space than the next size down, you’ll have plenty of room to customize the interior with offices and Sunday school classrooms.
The most important aspect of your house of worship design is a meeting area that can fit your congregation with an unobstructed view of the stage, podium, or choir. Prefabricated steel buildings are the only option available to offer up to 200 feet of width without the need for interior beams and columns that could break up the room.
How long can I expect to wait before we hold our first worship service?
Traditional organic materials can take a great deal of time to construct. With today’s cutting edge technology and the beautiful customizations available only for prefabricated steel, your congregation could be enjoying their first Sunday worship in as little as 90 days. If you’ve already completed the questionnaire above, you’re one big step ahead. Now, you can work with your design team to begin off-site design, adding all the customizations your congregation could need, such as:
- Exterior facade
- Flexible wall configurations
- Stained glass windows
- Customized entrances
- Gutters and downspouts
- Framed openings
- Lean-to structures
- Noise-reducing wall panels
- Kitchen spaces
- Sunday school rooms
- Waiting areas
- Wedding reception accommodations
From there, most prefabricated projects will have the components built off-site and delivered after about six weeks. The bolt-together technology makes it quick and easy for a contractor to safely construct your new building, anchored to a concrete slab. Work with your private contractor to get a firm timeline on interior customizations, and ensure that site work like plumbing and electrical prepare completed by the time the components arrive for a speedy erection timeline.
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