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Building in Good Faith - Green Building Resource for Religious Institutions

Planning & Decision-Making

Your Building Program - What it means…how to do it…and with whom

What it means…how to do it…and with whom

What's a Building Program?

Your building program is a prioritized list of the purposes and goals you want your new building, renovation or addition to accomplish, along with the number of square feet you estimate that each purpose will require. A good building program can help you to think about particular opportunities to make your project green.

For example, let's say that you are proposing to add a community room to your current facility. To develop the building program for this project, you would list the various types of gatherings that would take place in the new facility, their probable frequency and range of number of people attending. You would specify the number of square feet for the space, along with those support spaces you knew you wanted (such as kitchen, bathrooms, utility closet, etc.). A good building program gives you confidence that you know what amount of space you need - and the purposes for which you need it.

Involving Your Architect

The first thing to decide is whether to develop your building program before or after you hire your architect.

Working with a professional brings advantages, such as check lists to make sure you've not forgotten things and to learn about rules-of-thumb for the amount of space required for certain kinds of functions.

On the other hand, creating your building program before hiring an architect can give you an important perspective with which to evaluate prospective architects for your project.

We recommend that you create a preliminary building program on your own that can be refined once your architect has been hired.

Creating a preliminary building program is an undertaking well suited to a small group, which should include both staff and volunteers. To gather its information, the group should survey or interview the people and constituencies within your organization who can describe existing space shortfalls and what kinds of space is needed for various activities.

A building program is an important planning tool. Developed properly, it helps build consensus and support for your project. By thinking carefully about the programming that will take place in your new facility, you will develop a better understanding of your need for space.

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