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AustinCina Architects: Church Architecture

Church Architecture

In the beginning of the 1990's, we took a different approach in building churches. Typically, the Architect completes plans for the church, contractors are called to provide bids and the low bidder is awarded a contract. Included in all this is the fact that the Church has volunteers who wish to offer services and supplies for the project, thus requiring the Contractor to 'work' these items into his schedule and costs. Churches also want to make changes during construction, which many contractors consider too troublesome, therefore very costly.

AustinCina wanted to create a friendly team approach in order to serve churches better. Therefore, we felt it would be beneficial to have a contractor as part of the design team and not just part of the construction team. So, we began facilitating contractor interviews that would provide our church clients the opportunity to select a contractor during the design phase of their project. Ultimately, the church will base their contractor selection not on qualifications, references or successes, but on human qualities! Once a contractor had been selected, that person became a part of the design team, providing input into costs, building systems and timelines. With firsthand knowledge of the project, the contractor provided very accurate sub bids for the project. Volunteer labor and materials were incorporated into the project scope early on and received full value.

Under this process, the construction of the project was 'rehearsed' throughout the design and construction documents phases, so that when construction actually began, everyone knew their roles and responsibilities. The results: Projects are built on time and under budget and without the dreaded construction-related 'change orders'. Since 1983, we have worked with close to 100 churches and since moving to this building approach, every project has been completed on time and under budget.