Fager Mcgee Church Construction

What To Consider When Building A Church

Building a new church is a very exciting initiative that will be rewarding for generations to come when it’s complete. However, if you don’t properly plan, design, and choose the right partner(s), the process can turn into a headache really fast. We recommend that your church do some form of feasibility study to identify what you need to build, where you should build it, and how your church will pay for it.

One of the first considerations of building a new church is how much property you will need for the church, parking, and growth. In our experience, we estimate that for every 300 congregants, two acres of land is recommended. This includes the construction of the sanctuary, educational needs, and relative size parking lot. When making your site selection and budget, consider purchasing additional acres for outdoor activities and future expansion.

The easiest time to save money in church construction is in the planning process. The key is to understand what you need to build, what you can truly afford to build, and how you will pay for it before you retain an architect or builder. The money you save by getting an objective understanding of needs and feasibility will save your church money, time, effort, and stress.

During the planning phase, ask yourself a few questions with regards to your needs and budget.

Should the church build a center aisle in the sanctuary?
We have found that a center aisle is completely optional. However, we always strongly recommend a center aisle if the church will offer the location for weddings.

How tall should the church steeple be?
The steeple should be the approximate height of the roof at the peak (from the ground to the top of the ridge) and the base at 1 tenth of the building width. Aesthetically the height is actually more important that the width. You also don’t want to forget to consider a lightning rod.

When do we involve an architectural firm?
Most building committees feel more comfortable partnering with a Design Build or Construction Management company during the discovery process in order to assist in matching an architectural firm to the project.

Are all Foyers/Narthexes about the same?
Absolutely not, the Foyer should be designed to create a predetermined atmosphere. This entry space could include a coffee bar, reception area, worship overflow, fellowship area, etc.

Can we use a Multi-Purpose Room/Gym for a Fellowship Hall?
If proper consideration has been given to acoustics, lighting and access to the food preparation area, a Multi-Purpose Room makes an excellent fellowship area. (Acoustics are most neglected.)

As you can see, there are a number of factors to consider when building a new church. It is important to have an experienced and reliable construction management company in your corner. If you are exploring the possibility of building a new church, please give us a call so that we can help you from the beginning.

The Myth of Bidding

The Myth of Bidding

Are you planning a construction project for a new or existing facility? If you are, you will be facing some demanding responsibilities.

Among them is the responsibility of choosing the contractor who will take care of all your needs for your project.

Unfortunately today, this decision is driven in large part by the bids contractors submit to construct your project. This drive results from the belief that bids are indeed the best way to assure you of the lowest possible initial cost of construction. This belief is founded in myth.

Dispelling the myth begins with an understanding that the role you play requires that you make an informed and responsible decision for yourself and other stakeholders in your project. Part of a responsible and informed decision includes spending no less – and certainly not more – than is necessary to complete your DREAM, right?

The answer is obvious. As an owner you are entitled to a fair and competitive price for satisfying your needs and getting one is a part of making an informed and responsible decision. The real question is; how do you do that?

Bidding does not assure you of the lowest price for a solution to your needs and rarely, if ever, provides any assurance of the best price for a solution to your needs.

Study the following chart carefully. What you see down the left margin are items typically priced by general contractors from key sub-contractors and material suppliers. Across the top are four bidding general contractors. The data within the chart represents the component prices they use in tabulating their bid for your project.

Subcontract Contractor 1 Contractor 2 Contractor 3 Contractor 4
Site Work $155,000 $163,000 $146,000 $172,000
Concrete $ 96,000 $ 80,000 $ 82,000 $ 90,000
Carpentry $135,000 $116,000 $125,000 $104,000
HVAC $305,000 $305,000 $290,000 $311,000
Plumbing $ 30,000 $ 33,000 $ 30,000 $ 28,000
Electrical $120,000 $105,000 $118,000 $120,000
Painting $ 15,000 $ 11,000 $ 13,000 $ 14,000
Flooring $ 21,000 $ 26,000 $ 27,000 $ 23,000
Total $877,000 $839,000 $831,000 $862,000


By means of the traditional bid process, contractor three, with a price of $831,000 has the lowest bid and should, if the myth of bidding is believed, get the award for construction. Look carefully. The spread or range among bidders varies by 5.5% ($831,000 – $877,000).

The numbers shaded in the chart represent the lowest component price for each sub-contracted component of the total bid. The true lowest price for the project is $785,000 or an additional 5.5% below the lowest bidder!

Contractor three wins the award by having only two of the lowest component prices. Can you be certain that contractor three has the best price? The answer is no. How do you know for example, that contractor three’s site work sub-contractor will perform to acceptable standards? Do you take the contractor’s word and litigate in the event of a problem? The point is, this entire process is risky, cumbersome, and most importantly, avoidable from the start.

When you choose a contractor on the basis of the price they bid you are using the wrong standard. The responsible thing to do is choose your contractor on the basis of reliability, performance and quality of work before you begin the process of determining cost of construction. Unite together where you and the contractor can approach the sub-contracting and material supply communities as a team.

As an important member of the team, you participate in the process of determining the cost of constructing a solution to your needs. Your influence on the bottom line is direct. Collectively, you and the builder act together to select the best possible option for each price component of the project. In the event the best is not the lowest, you know exactly why because you are a part of the team and a part of the process. That’s what being informed is all about!

Abandon the myth of bidding and with it, the risk and inaccuracies of the traditional bid process. Choose your building contractor on the basis of the factors that truly measure their value; reliability, performance and quality. Join your contractor as a team member to enable him to help you achieve a practical and affordable solution to your need for general construction service.


Fager-McGee Design-Build Construction

What is Design-Build Construction?

Design-build is where one entity, the design-builder, enters into a single contract with the owner to provide both design and construction services.

In all other project delivery systems, there are separate contracts for design and construction. The single contract for both design and construction is the design-build distinction.

The Design-Build construction project delivery method is a method to deliver a project in which the design and construction services are contracted by a single entity. Fager-McGee offers comprehensive Design-Build services, teaming up with architects best suited for each project so that our engineers and project managers are able to facilitate the Design-Build process with a single point of contact. This results in a more efficient and cost effective construction process. As the Design-Builder, we insure that even the most complex, difficult project is managed with a building program that is realistic, achievable, and simple for the owner.