Church Construction has many facets that define it from other forms of construction.  This is why it is best to work with a contractor who is familiar with church construction.  Most churches will want to stay open, so that they can continue to serve the community, and the contractor must be prepared to work safely around an open construction site.  When choosing a church construction firm, there are three main options of construction contract: Design-Bid-Build, Construction Manager, and Design-Build.


In this case, the owner of the church has two separate contracts with the architect and the contractor.  This is a high risk, lowest cost option, but it may equate to lower quality. In this church construction contract method, there are multiple types of bidding options:

Hard Bid: In this bidding option, a church construction project owner will choose the lowest cost, qualified bid, but without a clear idea of what the quality of the project will be. There is a possibility, in this option, that you may miss out on a lower bid, because one subcontractor can give different contractors different prices. Hard bids also may attract lower quality contractors.

Select Bid: In this bidding option, a church construction project owner accepts the lowest cost bidder from a list of selected, qualified general contractors. This list is selected from personal history or familiarity.

Negotiated Bid: With a negotiated bid, the owner will  negotiate the price with contractor prior to construction. In this case, owners base their selection on trust, confidence, and relationship. This is best when the church has used the contractor for a similar project previously.

Cost Plus Percentage: This is the cost of the building project, plus a percentage fee. This total could vary widely, based on the cost of materials and labor.

Hiring a Construction Manager

A construction manager will provide pre-construction services for your church construction project. They have varying amounts of responsibility in the relationship, based on whether you are paying for their services as an agent or their services as an agent and contractor.

Construction Manager as Agent: In this case, the church construction manager will provide pre-construction services but takes no responsibility for subcontractors.  The owner holds all contracts with subcontractors.

Construction Managers as Contractor: A construction manager as the contractor will provide pre-construction services and manages construction and subcontractors. The owner pays a fee for the contractor and for the construction manager.

3. Design-Build

This final option gives you the most peace of mind and the most flexibility in your church construction project. Vanman is a fully integrated design/build company. We offer a single source of responsibility, fewer change orders, and a guaranteed maximum price reached early in the design process.  Vanman will allow the owner to see subcontractor bids and we will explain our rationale for each recommended subcontractor to provide a higher quality project.

Vanman has experience ensuring that your church continues to function as close to normal as possible, including accommodations for Wednesday services and staff offices. The work of the church does not stop for construction – Vanman works with you to further your mission.