In my last blog I challenged churches to think about what sort of building projects they should be taking on and the primary motivation behind the dream. In this blog, I want to provide just a few basic pointers based on an assumption that meeting Sunday needs remains an important element of the building project and a primary driver. This is not to contradict myself but to give some practical guidance, benchmarking against other Church building projects.
What size of building do we need?
Typically, the total internal floor area of a church building in square metres needs to be at least three times the target seating capacity of the auditorium if it is to provide suitable ancillary accommodation (meeting rooms, foyer, toilets, kitchen, offices etc)
How much will it cost to build?
UK build cost ranges considerably from region to region, building type to building type, refurbishment to new build etc but at current market rates, you could expect the construction cost of a modest new build masonry building (including all permanent fixtures, heating, lighting, decoration, floor finishes) to range from £2,000 - £2,800 per square metre, add to this professional fees, VAT, loose furniture, audio visual equipment etc and the total project cost could be between £2,500 - £4,000 per square metre.
Are we capable of raising the money?
If a Church is targeting eight times its gross annual turnover for a capital build project, statistically, the project has a good chance of succeeding. That’s not to say that Churches couldn’t or shouldn’t target higher multiples, this would require more faith, more tenacity and care in putting together a robust business case and pursuing fundraising opportunities.
Using these rules of thumb, a Church constructing a new building to seat say 250 would need a floor area of at least 750 sqm, the construction cost could be £1.8m, the total project cost £2.6m and the Church would need an annual turnover of £330,000 to be in a position to raise the money. For many Churches of the size thinking about a 250 seat church building, this might appear unrealistic, does this mean they should abandon hope of a building? Not at all.
There are very many ways to help manage the cost and practicalities of a building project. For example:
Just a few insights that might be helpful to any Church wondering about building.