Built of Living Stones 196-197: The Role of Professionals

Practical advice on the professionals that will almost always be hired to assist a building project:

§ 196 § In deciding to employ professionals, and in hiring specific people, the parish must be aware of any diocesan directives and requirements for contracts and licenses and is encouraged to utilize the expertise of diocesan staff with experience in this area. Doing so can help to avert serious financial and legal difficulties for the parish and major time delays. Because the architect is the contracted professional responsible for the development of the building’s design, it is appropriate that other professionals serve as consultants to the architect. It is also crucial that all professionals chosen have the expertise to fulfill the particular tasks needed and that a clear description of their roles and responsibilities be developed and agreed upon before they actually begin the work.

I think it important to have an architect well acquainted with church design.

Should a parish engage parishioners? Perhaps not:

§ 197 § Normally, engaging the skills of professionals with experience in the lighting of churches, acoustical design and sound transmission, and design is preferable to selecting vendors of equipment or accepting the “good will” services of individuals who may have some knowledge but who lack the requisite qualifications to design and install elements suitable for a church. Both the scale of the building and the demands of the liturgy require varied solutions that differ from those suitable for domestic or smaller scale projects.

I worked for a pastor who thought that a home audio expert was a good choice among his parishioners to install the church sound system. I knew the guy, who knew his stuff. But he was also urged to provide this service, which he reluctantly did, knowing that it was a bit beyond his expertise. As a result, we had a quirky system that sometimes worked, sometimes not. And it was not wired to the pastor’s specifications, a point he was unwilling to acknowledge. Many years later, many fixes were needed. Avoid these kinds of headaches, if you possibly can.

All texts from Built of Living Stones are copyright © 2000, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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