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Frugal Church Design:  Church Plans for Less Cost and Effort

 Pre-developed Church Floor Plans & Building Plans Save Money and Time

While not free, pre-developed church plans can save 50% or more in church design costs.

Pre-developed church floor plans from previous church building projects provide several specific benefits over custom designed church plans - if you can find the right floor plan. For a lot less investment in money, time, and effort, you may be able to build your new church with plans developed for other church building projects.

While these are not free church plans, pre-developed church plans are typically a fraction of the cost of new church building plans and take much less time to obtain. In addition to the savings in time and money, the church gets a set of building plans that have already been proven &  built. Someone else worked the kinks out of the building plans, so you don't have to!  A great example of an architectural firms offering existing church building plans at huge savings is can be found here .

If maximum control and flexibility are more important than time and cost savings, then customized plans may be the way to go. However, it's in the church's best interest to investigate pre-developed plans, if for no other reasons than to rule them out or to count the cost difference for customized plans.

Pre-developed Church Building Plans or Customized Church Design?

Architects often charge between 8-12% of the project cost for new church design services.  While this fee includes services besides just church design, the cost of the church building and floor plan is a significant majority of the cost.  The high cost of church design services has many churches looking for free church plans.  Even if someone gave you the perfect set of plans that did not need to be modified to meet the needs of the church, those plans would need to be customized to meet the land characteristics and the ever changing local, state and federal building codes which are constantly changing.  While its not impossible to find a church that would donate a set of plans that just happen to be perfect for your church, and then find an architect to modify them and seal them at no cost, the odds are terribly against you.

Note: One of the challenges of finding plans that you can use is that many architects retain the intellectual property rights to the plans.  Check to make sure that whoever is supplying your church with plans is legally able to do so.

Customized church plans provide a high degree of control and flexibility in design, as the project essentially starts with a clean sheet of paper: A benefit that has a cost - both in time and in money.  Architects are professionals who get paid for their time.  The more time and effort that goes into plans, the more they cost.  Pre-developed plans provide a significant savings, as plans are modified from a set of complete working drawings.  The trick is to find a set of plans that are close to what the church needs and have them modified to meet the church's requirements instead of designing from scratch.  To be the most effective, the church should consider completing a needs study to determine what really need to build - and can afford. In truth, this step should be taken by all churches, whether they plan on developing custom plans or using pre-developed plans.  Working from some objective specifications based on need and budget, the church should be able to review various church plans  and options with an objective understanding of which may truly meet their needs, and why.

Once the church understands its needs it should develop or find a church floor plan or several plans that are close to what they need. The architect who developed those plans should be able to modify them (within reason) for a fraction of the cost of new church plans. Often times the changes will be limited to not changing the footprint of the building or moving load bearing walls.  Even with these limitations, the church can make substantial changes to the building or floor plan to meet their unique needs. 


Frugal Church Building Plans