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Do you need a Construction Manager?

Churches are working within tight budgets. We get that. But, there are some circumstances where spending a little bit of money on the front end can save you HUGE amounts of money on the back end. Nowhere is this more true than when it comes to construction.

Churches are full of well-meaning people. Churches are full of talented people. This combination leads some churches to think that they can "get by" with having a church member, leader, or pastor take on extra responsibility, particularly when it comes to facility maintenance or new construction. Somehow, we feel we are saving money by having Joe the deacon demo the stalls for the new restroom remodel or Jennifer the trustee lay the tile in the new fellowship hall. For small, one off projects, this may not seem like a bad idea. But, if you ask Joe or Jennifer to manage the construction of the new sanctuary or oversee the remodel of the education wing, things can turn disastrous very quickly. What looks like a cost-saving measure can actually end up costing you thousands of dollars later.

Managing large construction projects is a highly-specialized professional skill. Managing CHURCH construction projects brings a whole new level of complexity when you consider that you are dealing with committees, boards, conventions, conferences, and even jurisdictional church entities. You need someone who can do more than frame a storage shed or who once helped their brother-in-law hang a piece of sheetrock after he repaired the plumbing leak in his basement. You need someone who can speak Church to a General Contractor and Contractor to a Church.

The fact is, pastors are not trained to manage construction projects. And, deacons and trustees are not necessarily called to build buildings. You need to free pastors and church leaders to do the ministry of the church. They should have the freedom to focus on spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ without having to manage construction schedules, verify submittals, and authorize pay applications and change orders.

We have personally seen churches spend tens of thousands of extra dollars because they had an unqualified, albeit well-meaning, pastor or member of the church trying to manage a construction project. Churches can lose money in unnecessary change orders, double billing by subcontractors, missed deadlines, unnecessary design changes, and uncooperative or unresponsive contractors. Plus, every minute and dollar spent working on construction issues is a minute and dollar not being spent on active ministry in your mission field. It is actually much cheaper to employ a construction manager to handle the day-to-day operations of your project than it is to waste money redesigning and fixing errors made.

Look for a reputable construction consulting firm with experience managing church construction projects. Your ministry will benefit and your church will thank you for spending a small amount up front to save ministry dollars in the end.

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