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How to Design and Build Your Steel Church

Church steel building rendering

Introduction

If you’re thinking about getting a steel church for your congregation, you might have some crucial questions that need to be answered.

For instance, are there any limits to having a steel church? What do they cost? What is the process of getting your steel church designed?

Luckily, you’re in the right place.

In this guide, you’ll find out what you need to know about building your steel church, including design plans and how it works.

Ready? Let’s go!

What’s in this guide?

What is a steel church?

A steel church is a structure that either has a frame which is made out of steel or it might be made almost entirely out of steel.

These types of churches are traditionally prefabricated, which means the parts are manufactured elsewhere and then taken to your location.

Prefabricated churches often save on time and costs thanks to this method.

Then, you might either be able to assemble the building yourself along with your congregation, or you will be able to hire professionals.

There are many benefits to having a steel church, as well as some disadvantages too, so let’s take a look at some below.

What are the advantages?

So, what are the advantages of getting a steel church plan, especially one that is prefabricated?

  • They can be designed to bespoke specifications
  • You can benefit from having a high-quality structure
  • The materials give you excellent air quality
  • You can build your church much quicker with steel
  • Steel churches are more accessible to make
  • They can allow you to use your structure for worship, classrooms and youth centres for example
  • Steel structures will often be resistant corrosion, rust and things like insect infestations
  • Using red iron oxide, steel buildings will be protected against water which leads to rust and so on

Are there any limitations to steel churches?

Like with many things, there are some negatives to using steel for your church, so here are a few you might want to keep in mind.

✗ There might be high initial costs

✗ In some countries, there might be low production of steel and so less availability

✗ Ungalvanized steel is at risk for corrosion

✗ Steel is susceptible to fatigue

However, many of these negative sides of using steel for your church can be combated by working with a steel specialist to design your church.

How do I design a steel church?

So, now that you know what a steel church is and both the advantages and disadvantages, how exactly do you design a steel church for you?

There are three main ways that you can initially design your steel church.

1. Pick a prefabricated church

Your first option is potentially the easiest, where you pick a ready-made church kit from one of the many providers online.

This can allow you to pick a premade church which matches your needs, the size you want as well as the ability to customise your church with paint colours and designs.

So although this would be a standard kit, you can still reflect your church’s personality.

2. Customise a prefabricated church

Another option is to customise a prefabricated church kit.

This is when you choose a general shape and size for your kit; then you can work with a steel church provider to customise different parts of your prefabricated church.

The benefits of doing this are that you won’t need to spend the time to construct a church from scratch, but it will still be more unique than using a standard kit.

Customisation might include the following:

  • Where your doors and windows are, and how many there are
  • The size of your doors and windows
  • What type of roof you want, like lean-to or gable for instance
  • The colours of your walls as well as the designs
  • Additional materials for your church such as drywall or wood for instance
  • The exterior of your church such as using stone cladding

3. Design your church

The last option is to design your church, which you can do working with one of the many steel church providers.

This allows you to start from the very beginning, and work closely with professionals who will allow you to customise every aspect of your church.

As you’re starting right from scratch, you can define what kind of frame you want to use, all kinds of different materials on offer, the shape of your building such as the traditional to the modern.

There are many different types of church buildings, including the following categories:

  • Parish churches
  • Colonial meeting houses
  • Chapels
  • Church halls

Some churches, for instance, have modern flat roofs and columns, whereas some more traditional churches have steeples and pitched roofs.

What is the process?

If you are interested in designing your church with the help of specialists, they will go through a design process to ensure that they design a building that suits you and your churches needs.

Here are some of the stages that are typically involved.

1. Zoning and regulations

Before you make any decisions or get carried away with planning your new steel church, you should first try and ascertain what you can realistically build on your land.

First of all, let’s start with zoning ordinances and how they can help you discover what you can do.

Zoning ordinances

Zoning ordinances are often dictated by local municipal organisations and tell you how your developments or improvements can be made.

They are more concerned about how the building will be used, and how it affects the surrounding community, which means they have rules about how big your building can be, as well as the height and position.

Usually, zoning ordinances won’t be too concerned about the material that you use for your building. However, there are always exceptions.

For instance, some of these organisations won’t allow a steel building to be built for any reason.

On the other hand, some will allow steel buildings as long as the exterior looks like a different material; such as brick, stone or wood.

Building code

Building codes are similar to zoning ordinances in certain ways. However, there are some very stark differences in terms of what they look after.

Codes are more geared towards the physical building, such as what it is made out of in terms of materials as well as issues regarding safety.

Each of these code regulations usually points out the lowest acceptable standard for each aspect of your building, so you should work with your steel church provider to see what would be best for you.

2. Identify your needs

Traditionally, the first thing that will happen when you decide that a steel church might be the best fit for you is that you will have a meeting or phone call with your provider.

During this phone call, you will speak to your steel church provider about your needs and wants, which might include how big you need your church to be, as well as the different uses you might want to use it for.

This might include things like classrooms, youth centres and places to worship.

It will give your provider a good idea of the scale of your project, as well as how they can design a church with the appearance that you want.

They might ask you about the following:

  • How big your church will be
  • What doors and windows you’ll want
  • What you will use your church for
  • How many doors and windows you need
  • The style of your church like adding steeples or pitched roofs
  • What material you’ll want for your exterior, like stone or wood
  • How you want you’re interior to be finished, like with drywall

3. Floor plans and renders

Your steel church provider won’t go ahead with any plans until you are confident and sure about every detail, so they will work with you to create floor plans as well as 3D renders, so you get the church that you need.

This can also help you to see different options and how that will affect the appearance and space used in your church.

4. Cost analysis

Once you have established exactly what you need, as well as discussed all of the details with your steel church provider, next will come the financial element.

Using an A.I.A. certifiable cost analysis, it means you can use this information in a pack to get a loan from your bank or loan provider.

This can help you to secure the funding that you will need for your church.

5. Funding

Once you have your cost analysis, you can then approach a lender, or your steel building company, with a full proposal for your building.

Many lenders won’t accept an application for a construction loan without essential information such as where your church will be, how big it is as well as how much it will cost.

They will also usually expect things such as floor plans and 3D renders.

This allows them to get a much better idea of the details of your church, which can help them establish whether it would be a good investment.

Sometimes applications can take hours or weeks, depending on the complexity of your project, so you should make sure you are as prepared as possible.

5. Delivery

Once your loan has been accepted and you finalise your plans with your steel building company, they can manufacture the different parts of your church and have them delivered.

If you are assembling everything on your site, you will usually need a team of professionals or your congregation, as well as all of the tools and equipment that you might need.

This can help you get off to a great start, and sometimes assembly won’t take more than a few days or weeks.

6. Construction

The last step is the most exciting; constructing your church!

Depending on the size, materials and extras such as plumbing and wiring electricals, your steel church could take months to build, or it could take a few days.

Some companies might offer services for all of the above, or you might need to hire different companies for plumbing or wiring.

This is why having a timeline you can keep an eye on and specific deadlines can help you stay in on track.

Especially considering that if you get a loan from a bank, they might want to visit occasionally to check how your construction is going.

How much do steel buildings cost?

Although a steel church will likely have very bespoke costs, here are some of the prices you might be able to expect from a steel building per sqft.

Type

Pricing

I-Beam $8 – $17 per SQFT
C-Channel $15 – $18 per SQFT
Quonset Hut $13 – $15 per SQFT

Prefabricated Church providers

1. GenSteel

General Steel

Type: Steel building company

GenSteel is a well-known supplier of prefabricated buildings, which includes steel churches that can be tailored to match your specific needs and requirements.

This steel company will not only deliver your steel building, but they can also help you to design your structure by working closely with you to create floor plans and choose aspects like how many doors or windows you would like.

Their steel beams come with a warranty of 50 years, their paint has a warranty of 40 years, and they will provide you with a project coordinator at no extra costs.

2. MBMI

MBMI Steel Buildings Logo

Type: Steel building company

The MBMI team have over 40 years of experience in the steel building industry and provide their customers with excellent customer service, skills and a wide range of building types.

Their prefabricated steel buildings allow you to customise your perfect steel structure, fast installation, resistance to many of the problems that occur with wooden buildings and resistance.

3. REIDSteel

ReidSteel

Type: Steel building company

ReidSteel offers its customers a wide variety of steel buildings as well as construction services with custom designs, fabrications and erections included in their prices.

With their steel churches and other worship centres, you can choose from many popular styles of steel frames such as box purlins, Romanesque windows, gothic style windows and thin section rafters.

4. Safeway Steel

Safeway Steel

Type: Steel building company

Safeway Steel has over 20 years of experience in the steel building industry, who can also offer you a 40-year warranty on the premises on offer.

This includes garages and workshops, agricultural buildings, recreational buildings and church or worship areas.

Their churches can not only be delivered by Safeway Steel, but they will also help you to construct your new worship space as well.

5. Universal Steel of America

Universal Steel of America

Type: Steel building company

Universal Steel of America can offer their customers a much more cost-effective solution when it comes to your church buildings, thanks to the prefabricated nature of their kits.

This can help you to save significantly as the separate parts are manufactured somewhere else then brought to your location for assembly.

USA has even managed to earn an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

Conclusion

In conclusion, getting a steel church designed to your custom specifications can help you to develop and create the church of your dreams.

As well as one that is functional and looks aesthetically pleasing too.

Have you found out everything you need to know about steel church design plans?

Do you want to learn more about using steel in buildings?

Take a look at the Green Building Elements guides here for more.

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