A Smarter Church Design Process Blog Feature

By: Dave Wilde on June 09, 2010

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A Smarter Church Design Process

Church Design | Church Construction

Buzz words…..every sector of business has them.  In the design/construction world, what has been stirring up the latest “buzz” for the past several years are two new three letter acronyms. IPD-Integrated Project Delivery and BIM—Building Information Modeling. Both of these processes are new ways of thinking about design and construction that are substantially different from the methods used for the past several decades, and are a direct result of the digital revolution we are currently navigating. These two processes have been in the incubation stage just waiting for the right environment of technology to emerge. It’s here and in full swing.

Aspen Group has used many of the elements of Integrated Project Delivery and BIM for several years. In its simplest form these two processes can be characterized by the mindset of “manage the whole instead of the parts”. BIM software provides immeasurable value in the world of design in that it can be used to create a “prototype” building in three dimensions that is highly interactive and visual. The computer model includes everything from walls, roofs, windows, doors, and furniture, to mechanical, structural, plumbing, and facility equipment. BIM then can quantify these elements and report a complete data set of a facility which is then directly tied to the estimated cost of the facility. This technological advancement in software has, in turn, forced issues of full team collaboration much earlier in the design, thus the need for some definitions and process structure. IPD is that methodology.Revit Screen

IPD’s goal is to rewrite the design/construction model to be about the team. This includes church leadership, the project management, the architects, engineers, and team subcontractors. Together, each party can provide his/her expertise and insight early in the process to develop the best design that matches a church’s ministry need, culture, and its budget. With a powerful building model in the middle, changes and iterations can happen quickly and data sets are updated instantaneously. Building conflicts are identified early and constructability issues are resolved before construction. And let’s face it, the later in a project that design changes are made, the result is always additional time, money, and lost ministry momentum. From the church/customer’s perspective, they will experience their new space through these virtual models and better understand the environment and the experience their new ministry space will provide.

All of these factors together mean an optimized design with respect to cost and time, a higher degree of leadership confidence, and greater spirit of unity in the process. The way we see it at Aspen, that perfectly lines up with our mission…..to enhance ministry through a design that will draw people in and help them grow closer to God.