As I said last week, the right project delivery method can serve the team well, but no project delivery method is strong enough to overcome the wrong partners. The reality is that the fees paid to the architect and contractor are relatively small compared to the total cost of the project. And they become miniscule when you consider the lifecycle cost of the facility. Yet, these are the people you are hiring to tell you how to spend your big dollars.
Here are seven characteristics for selecting the right industry professionals for your team:
1) Experience – Look for specific experience not only in the building industry, but also with the specific type and size of facility you may be considering. Also look for experience in the specific project delivery method you are using.
2) Familiarity with current trends – Over the next decade, the way we “do” church is going to change significantly. Work with people that understand those trends, and how you can maximize the development of your facilities to anticipate those trends.
3) Breadth & Depth – A building project is a huge change initiative that will impact your church in more ways than you can imagine. Visioning, branding, communication, generosity, strategic planning, leadership development, assimilation, etc. are all important facets. Work with partners that have competencies and connections that can address ALL aspects of the project.
4) Flexibility – It requires patience and understanding to move with the ebb and flow of the variety of personalities and backgrounds in a church. A rigid position without regard for a global perspective will do damage to the people, the process and the product.
5) Fit – In most cases, you will be spending as much as two years or more with your industry partners. That’s longer than the average tenure of a youth pastor. If you wouldn’t hire an industry partner to be on your staff, don’t hire them to be on your team.
6) Collaboration – Collaboration is vital regardless of the project delivery method. Design/Build has overtaken Design/Bid/Build because it has been shown to be faster, less costly, less litigious and with better quality (per a Construction Industry Institute study). That certainly doesn’t mean it’s true in every circumstance, but what it does show is that working together in collaborative rather than adversarial roles will yield a better result. Work with people that know how to collaborate, not just cooperate.
7) Character - There is no amount of experience that can overcome a lack of integrity. Every project has challenges. You want people on your side with character you can count on. Be sure you are comfortable in this area – you will be spending the next couple of years together.
The industry partners you select are critical to the success of your project, even though their fees are a small percentage of the overall costs. If you could select 10 different teams and approaches, you would get 10 dramatically different projects delivered via dramatically different processes with dramatically different consequences. Even project costs (total or per sq. ft.) are only part of the picture. The ultimate goal is a facility that best fits the ministry needs so it propels you forward. And it should be developed through a process that strengthens you and your church.
Challenges are inevitable, so ask yourself this question: “Who do you want to be with in rough water?” The bottom line…
Hire for Competence & Integrity