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What Contractors Won’t Tell You About Building Your New Church

What Contractors Won’t Tell You About Building Your New Church

A new church building project is a huge undertaking. From choosing what type of building you want to the materials and design, you might think it could be tough to get exactly what you want for your budget. That’s true of any building project. In the construction industry, transparency is one of the goals of every supplier, but that’s unfortunately not always the case with everyone. As you set out to plan your project, you want to make sure your congregation isn’t taken advantage of or overcharged. That’s easier said than done.

When you begin to discuss a church building project, one of the most anticipated questions will be, “Who should we choose to build our sanctuary?” Pretty logical, right? It’s obviously one of the first steps towards your new building. But in order to plan a church building project, your church must decide what it wants. On the issue of costs, there is no, ‘do-over,’ when it comes to your building. You can’t go back to your congregation and ask for more money after mistakes have been made.

Now, when it comes to home repairs, you should be able to trust a local contractor to get the job done right for the first time. But when you decide to buy a steel church building, it’s another story entirely. Hire a contractor after you’ve purchased your steel building! Why? There are several things your contractor doesn’t want you to know – and it could jack up the cost of your project.

He’s not a designer

Contractors are many things. Most are excellent at their jobs. They do great work and provide a great service. In order to get your business, they might recommend certain designs they’ve seen in the past. But get one thing straight: Contractors are builders, not designers. That means you’ll need an architect to design your building, which is a huge additional expense.

Some steel building providers, like Armstrong Steel, have an in-house engineering department and design team. You’ll work on the design with a project manager, and plan out every aspect of your project with them. They’ll determine structural specifications based on your location without the extra expense of an architect. The project manager’s sole responsibility is to ensure your project stays on budget and on schedule – at little or no extra expense to you.

If you ask a contractor about the design process, they might not have an answer, other than referring you to an architect or other designer that will handle church design. While an architect can design the church building of your dreams, those drawings can get expensive as more intricate details are added. If an architect is absolutely necessary, have them design around the pre-engineered steel building designs, rather than having a steel building provider design around architectural plans. Architects can take a steel building provider’s completed structural drawings and foundation plans, and bring them all together in one set.

The cheapest building isn’t your best bet

When you’re shopping for groceries, and you buy in bulk, those food items cost less. It’s the same rule with steel buildings. Steel building suppliers can get lower prices based on the amount of steel they buy on a regular basis. Contractors don’t have the same buying power. In order to stay in the competition, those contractors might offer the cheapest building initially, but then hide huge markups in the bid. Material costs can really get out of hand if you don’t choose a company that allows you to secure your steel price.

The cheapest preliminary price of a church building project could sound like a sweet deal, but in reality, it’s quite the opposite. How could a contractor really know exactly what you need, and have the means to provide it? Those types of buildings are rarely tailored to your exact desires and might come with parts missing, or holes that don’t properly line up. This leads to even more cost increases down the road, from on-site delays to the price of getting new materials and equipment.

Contractors who lure you in with a low price might try to convince you to upgrade to better materials halfway through the process. Don’t trust any contractor that won’t provide an itemized list of all expenses before you begin your project. Your steel building provider will lock in your order, and work with you to detail your accessories and add-ons like doors, windows, and insulation. Those accessories can be ordered direct from the supplier, free from contractor markup.

He’s screwed up church building projects in the past

We all make mistakes. However, you probably won’t have a contractor admit them to your face. It’s up to you to check their references and reviews. Did people complain about them online? Did they finish every project, like they said they would? Do they have money troubles? Have they obtained the right licenses in the state? After you design your steel church building with a reputable company, you’ll need to hire someone to erect your building, do your research into local contractors or ask for a referral. It’s a great idea to talk to past clients and ask to see a completed church-building project or work in progress.

It will be more expensive to buy from him

Heard of the term, ‘contract overhead?’ That could be the cost of the materials, concrete foundation, or any type of subcontracted work in your bill. You might ask, “If I were going to use a contractor in the first place, shouldn’t I just buy from them?”  The answer is a resounding No. You’ll be able to get a better steel price and control your costs if you do business with a steel building manufacturer. Avoid that hidden ‘overhead’ from a contractor.

When it comes to your new church-building project, there are no silly questions. When you’re ready to start planning your next project, give me a call and I’ll make sure you know everything you need to know before you begin.

Photo courtesy: Mandy1804