Avoiding Unexpected Construction Costs

Conduct Due Diligence

There are many variables a congregation must consider before agreeing to a construction plan. Typically, congregations can unite on the “visible” goals of the construction, such as expanding worship capacity, adding additional administrative offices, or increasing the opportunities for fellowship. However, there are many “invisible” considerations, such as municipal regulations, zoning issues, or architectural restrictions that may delay or altogether prevent certain aspects of your construction plans. However, many congregations cannot properly complete this research “in-house.”

“Due-diligence” to uncover these “hidden” expenses is a must. Ensure your contractor is well-versed on the regulatory agencies in your area.

Plan for Growth

Fast-growing congregations often plan on adding facilities to accommodate their current membership but “outgrow” their plans before construction completes. Plans that don’t anticipate growth can lead to a never-ending cycle of construction: starting the next project immediately upon completion of the current project, or less-optimally, revising the construction plans once construction has already begun. Both add cost, inconvenience, and delay.

To avoid the cycle of constant construction projects, anticipate the growth of your membership and design accordingly.

The increased cost of a more expansive plan is typically less than the cost of continual new construction or revisions once construction has already begun.

Gain Consensus on your plan before you begin construction

Your new facility should be a blessing to your congregation, not a point of stress and contention. Few things add delay and cost to your construction as much as substantial revisions to your plan once construction has begun. Spend additional time during the planning phase to fully communicate your construction plans.

Remember, this is an opportunity for you to create excitement for your project! Develop messages to explain the plans and the vision to your congregation. Effective messaging will motivate increased giving across your entire congregation, including from those unexpected sources that are capable of making substantial gifts.

Over-communication is preferred in this phase.

Establish a culture of follow-through on church decisions. Back-tracking on approved plans can lead to conflict, disagreements, and attrition.

Create Solid Financial Plans

Church leaders are very accustomed to raising the funds needed for regular operations and mission work. However, securing funding for a significant capital investment may take additional expertise or outside counsel.

Securing funding from financial institutions is a process that must start long before the actual construction begins and will require compelling documentation that is easy to understand. Be prepared to dedicate the time and resources necessary to produce or create accurate fiduciary statements. Professional preparation of balance sheets, tithing/income and expense reports, and legal organization papers will be required.

Eden Religious Facilities has extensive experience helping congregations during all phases of the construction process, from master planning to funding. Contact us today to learn how our experts can help you prevent unexpected cost overruns.


Contact the Eden Team today to learn more.