Welcome to our newsletter series called A Place for Worship. Through these articles, drawing on our experience with hundreds of church projects, we hope to provide a resource for churches who want to create church facilities that help support their ministry goals.
We will explore important principles of how to create excellent spaces that inspire worship, encourage community, and facilitate spiritual growth. We look forward to sharing this journey with you.
Article 1 – All About Balance
Article 2 – Is It Attainable
Article 3 – Kinetic Architecture
Article 4 – Alternate Venues
Article 5 – Re-turn, Re-store, Re-new
Article 6 – Elements of a Well-Designed Worship Center
Article 7 – Options for Expansion
Article 8 – Integration of Technology
Article 9 – Trends in Church Design
Article 10 – Architect Selection
Article 11 – Contractor Selection
Recipient of the 2017 ABC Excellence in Construction Award for Institutions
New Community Church Gathering Place, the second phase designed to provide additional meeting space to supplement the barn. Project Summary
Nisqually Tribe Church, a new multi-denominational church building incorporating Coast Salish themes and artwork. Project Summary
Harbor Covenant, lobby addition, phase III of a long range plan started in 1983. Project Summary
Kent Seventh-day Adventist Church, a transformational renovation of the lobby, fellowship and sanctuary areas. Project Summary
Timberlake Church Phase II, an 8840 SF youth auditorium addition with a new balcony and parking expansion. Project Summary
New Community @ Olson Mansion, an adaptive reuse of a historic landmark barn, conversion to a contemporary worship center. Recipient of the 2014 John D. Spellman Preservation Award. Project Summary.
Our projects are successful because we foster a team atmosphere amongst the design team, the client, and the contractor. We have a good track record of working with a team build approach where the general contractor is selected though an interview process during the design phase to provide estimating, constructability review and value engineering input. They can buy in to the documents before the project goes out to bid and they can give valuable input that can help keep the project on budget at a time when the input can readily be incorporated.
During construction, we encourage the client to have a negotiated contract where we work with the contractor as part of the team to keep change orders down to a minimum. Unlike the open bid process where there can be an adversarial relationship between the design team and the contractor, in a negotiated contract process we are working as a team with a common goal: a successful project that meets the budget, schedule, and goals of the client. The contractor doesn’t have to be focused on finding change orders to make up for having to bid low to get the job. Both parties are looking out for the Owner’s best interests.
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Having worked on both private schools and churches with limited budgets, we are successful at helping the client set priorities for the initial phase and future phases of work so the project is in line with their budget.
Incorporating flexibility and adaptability in the design is important (because functions evolve and change over time). We also consider multi-use of spaces to get the most out of the facility for the best value, and we encourage the use of durable materials and techniques that provide good life cycle cost benefit. We recognize the budget is extremely important because the school and church clients have to answer to the stakeholders for the wise use of funds, and we take that very seriously.
Budget conscious design starts as early as the programming and master planning phase where we can build in flexibility in the project budget through contingencies, phasing (possible unfinished shell space), alternates, etc. And this same awareness of the budget carries through the construction documents phase where we get valuable input from the consultants on what systems will be the most cost-effective. For example, we can have the structural engineer provide multiple structural concepts for steel frame, wood frame or others and get comparative prices for each.
We also find that high-quality and well-coordinated construction documents can minimize change orders during construction. We accomplish this through the sharing of AutoCAD files where the systems from the various disciplines can be overlaid. We also have a series of coordination meetings where all the consultants and subcontractors sit around the table and brainstorm the project at critical points in the process.
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When a client wants to know the highest and best use of their building and site, potential for future expansion, and possible phasing of addition and remodel projects, we recommend a long range planning and feasibility study.
In this process, we meet with the planning committee and leadership to determine the long range goals and needs. We then develop a space program or site specific ed spec to balance the functional areas of the facility. For example, with a church we balance the areas of worship, fellowship, Christian education, administration and parking.
We do a detailed code investigation to determine regulatory parameters, and then we look at multiple possible design options for the site plan and floor plans. A final presentation is prepared to help the stakeholders understand the proposed long range plan and to generate enthusiasm for it. We also provide a basic cost estimate to help in budget planning.
A long range plan can really become a sort of road map to help the client plan their growth in multiple logical, affordable steps.
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