Getting Started: Church Facility Management

Over the past several years, I have had numerous church leaders approach me with the question,”How do we get started with a Facilities Management initiative?”  My guess is that there are many of you out there asking the same question…or possibly trying to re-evaluate your current facility management program, processes, budgets and staffing.

Those who have asked this of me have been looking for guidance in a number of areas…the ones that seem to be the most common include:

  1. How much should we budget for facility management and operations?
  2. How do we staff for our current or new facility?
  3. How do we plan for future capital replacements?

These are a great place to start, but to answer these questions without more information and context is getting the proverbial “cart before the horse.” We need to first step back and ask more strategic questions before we can address the tactical.

With regards to setting up a Facilities Management initiative, I would suggest that there are a series of questions that should be asked before you dive too deep. Let me give us some things to think about:

  1. How much do you plan to outsource? This is fundamental and clearly will impact the size and skill set of your internal team and budgets.
  2. What functions do you expect them to do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis?
  3. Will they also be responsible for set-up and tear down of rooms?
  4. Who will directly manage the daily activities of the staff?
  5. Are you planning to have a full time facilities “manager” or instead, a “maintenance” person? There is a huge difference between the 2 skill sets – click HERE to dig deeper into the difference.
  6. What is our plan for developing Capital Reserves?
  7. How much deferred maintenance do we need to address?
  8. Do you plan on using an Event Scheduler software program (other than Outlook, Google Calendar or paper and pencil)? If so, will it be web based? What do we want the tool to do for us?
  9. Do you plan on using a Work Order Management program? If not, how will you track work orders, historical data, vendor management, reoccurring preventive maintenance, etc.?
  10. What is the Current Replacement Value of your facilities?

I would suggest that your systems and processes should be defined before you determine how to staff. Your systems/process and methodologies, coupled with the costs associated, need to be the foundation of any facilities management program…then staff accordingly. As part of that process, you need to determine the type of Preventive Maintenance you plan to perform in-house or outsource. To help you get started I have posted a draft of “best practices” for a preventive maintenance program. Click HERE and download for your use. This is not an “end-all” list, but will help get you started.

There are several things to consider as you explore these questions. To help answer many of them, I would suggest the Facility Stewardship Manual. This will give you some good guidelines to get started.

I realize that I have thrown a lot at you and may have actually raised more questions than provided answers. The fact is that you are preparing to care for a complex commercial building…that God has ENTRUSTED to the care of your church…and I applaud you all for being proactive to prepare for this process.

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