The design phase of the design/build process can be very exciting, as you see your vision turned into something you can actually see and show to your congregation and leadership. It is also a complex, interactive process that can be fraught with peril for the unsuspecting initiate.
Wardergroup wants your house of worship to be a beautiful reflection of your mission of faith. We want to help you grow your congregation by creating a facility that is wonderfully designed and solidly constructed. Wardergroup is dedicated to the construction of facilities that create energy, embrace warmth and allow spiritual comfort.
It is very important that you pick an architect who reflects your aesthetic sense. While flexible, to a certain extent, many architects do some kinds of styles better than others; possibly reflecting their own personal tastes. Look at examples of their other work before you proceed.
It is also very important to pick an architect who is familiar with the building codes … not just the International Building Code, (IBC) but codes for your local jurisdictions. You don’t want designs that can’t be built because of regulations your architect is not familiar with.
Most import of all, do not sign a contract for an architectural plan without a realistic idea of what funds you will have available for the project. It is even better to have a Feasibility/Master Plan, which will show important site features, and discuss permitting features, as well as financing estimates in today’s dollars. Wardergroup can also assist you in understanding how much money you are most likely capable of raising in addition to the overall estimate. Too many people have proceeded with an architect, paid that architect tens of thousands of dollars and then ended up with a plan they couldn’t use. We don’t want that to happen to you!
Wardergroup can direct you to an architect who has proven experience in the jurisdiction where you are building your house of worship. We will work with that architect as a seamless member of the Wardergroup team and we will facilitate the development of their plans as it relates to the Civil Engineer and Site Plans.
This can be one of the most important and often most overlooked aspects of project planning and budgeting. There are ever-changing rules regarding the dimensions, design systems, and site development codes required for new buildings or additions. Not understanding or making allowances for the costs of complying with regulations in this realm can “suddenly” turn a defined budget building design into a quite expensive cost over-run project.
What does all this mean? Site Design is a complex process. Consider the following scenarios …
Environmental laws greatly impact Site Design. For instance, every tree in the
construction area has to be counted and identified. If any are cut down, they have to be replaced elsewhere within certain boundaries. Or, the powers-that-be may conclude that not enough trees were on the property to begin with. That requires a reforestation of lots of little, baby trees of certain specified varieties, all of which need to be carefully planted and protected within designated areas.
Another example: Water runs off all impermeable surfaces, but where does it go? Jurisdictional authorities are very concerned with the quantity and quality of storm water runoff from roofs and parking spaces. A properly designed site might include dams, swales, storm pipes and sand traps. It could possibly include a bio retention pond with a special mix of sand and topsoil, filter cloth, and perforated pipe. Even special water filtering plants might be required and the site engineers will specify how many and of what type they must be.
There are also physical construction concerns related to site development. For instance, even the soil the building is built on must be of a certain density to support the weight of the foundation the walks and roof structure. If it isn’t dense enough the jurisdiction will require that you tamp down the soil for compaction. You may have to remove unsuitable soil and bring in soil of a better quality.
In addition, site requirements would influence just how many parking spaces are available which, in turn, influences the seating capacity of your facility. These requirements also vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and can allow or limit your seating capacity.
Permits must be obtained and inspections held, frequently, to ensure compliance with the many regulations. Even the tires of the work vehicles will be inspected to ensure they are not tracking mud onto the public roads. Special construction entrances must be built and if that doesn’t do the trick then little sprayers must be used to spray the mud off the tires before they hit the road.
It will be important for your Civil Engineer to be intimately familiar with the jurisdiction of the site.
Mistakes can be very costly.
Regulations are usually mandated at county and federal levels and include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Zoning – including FAR (Floor Area Ratios), etc.
- Building Restriction Lines, Existing Easements.
- Parking – Number of Required Spaces, Dimensions, etc.
- Storm Water Management (Usually Either Retention Ponds or Underground Drainage, Oil/Water Separators).
- Site Water Hydraulics/Water Table/Floodplain.
- Green Space.
- Tree Delineation, Conservation Requirements, Reforestation.
- Bufferyard Dimensions/Screening Required.
- Landscaping Plan/Planting Guidelines.
- Grading/Topography – Need for Retaining Walls.
- Soil Compaction/Composition – Soil Boring Tests.
- Percolation Tests/Drainage/Septic vs. Public Sewer.
- Feasibility and /or Master Plan for Site Layout Plan to Accommodate Future Expansion.
- Ingress/Egress – Need for Acceleration/Deceleration Lanes, Other Traffic Considerations.
- Special Exception Permits/Public Hearings Required?
- Lot Consolidation/Title Encumbrances, etc.