One small step to effective mission

Dave HallByDave Hall

One small step to effective mission

The beginning of a major church building project can seem daunting but Phil Winch of CPL Architects thinks the simple answer is – take the first step.

Architectural design, technical complexity, site constraints, complex approvals, funding, procurement – what do you when faced with a challenge of this scale?

‘The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu wrote: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” It’s the same for many churches,’ explained Phil. ‘The beginning of a major building project can often seem like beginning a journey of a thousand miles.’ 

The answer is to put one foot in front of the other.

There is a well‐established process for the design and procurement of building projects, defined most famously by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in the Plan of Work, namely:

  • the envisioning and briefing process
  • feasibility analysis and research
  • option appraisal
  • consultation and concept design development 

After this comes statutory and other approvals, technical design and production information. Finally, there’s project procurement, with contractor selection, tendering, construction and handover. 

‘These are all significant steps in the design and construction process to deliver a first class building to meet the needs identified in the initial vision of a church project,’ said Phil. ‘You might say that building design is in fact a journey of a thousand small steps.’

One way in which this scheme can be applied is in the phasing of construction projects where funding is limited or being raised over a period time. 

‘We have been working with members of Dunchurch Baptist Church (pictured) in Rugby,’ said Phil. ‘They have a vision for a new building to replace an old, prefabricated structure. Phase One, the weatherproof shell is now complete, allowing Phase Two, the internal fit‐out work, to proceed under separate contract to suit funding at their own pace.’

Phasing is a simple and yet powerful way of achieving a significant building project, in a series of manageable steps.

‘If you have a vision for a new building project, do let us know if we can help you take that first step,’ said Phil.

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• CPL Architects will be exhibiting at CRE South West 2021 (17-18 Mar 2021) and CRE National 2021 (12-14 Oct, Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey)

Photo: Dunchurch Baptist Church, Rugby

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Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021
23-24 June 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021
12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

About the author

Dave Hall

Dave Hall author