A Plan for Success

Starting with the right decisions means ending with the best results

If you want a satisfactory outcome to your building project, you will need to make the right decisions. The following reveals the first of five very important steps to your project’s success.

Getting Started

Before a blueprint is ever conceived, you must have a plan of action. There are a number of important decisions you must make, as well as several crucial details that need attention.

The following will take you through the planning process and keynote the important questions or issues you will need to address at each stage. There is also a checklist (the checklist is only available in the full version) which will help you keep track of the numerous details that are involved in the process. PBS Companies, nearing 30 years of service, has the experience and expertise to help you through this exciting, yet sometimes overwhelming process. Our desire is to help guide you through this process to keep planning more streamlined.

Step 1: Review Your Company’s Building Needs

You and your team will be living with the building decisions you ultimately make. It is imperative to thoroughly investigate what you need to do to make your new building work well for everyone.

If it’s not possible to talk with everyone in your company, then at least select key people in each department and ask for their opinions. Find out what works well in their present environment, in addition to what your employees believe is lacking. Try not to limit these discussions to only the department heads. Talk to those in the mainstream because they are certain to offer valuable insight on how your present building accommodates the day-to-day work process.

This is the point where you find out what will improve the quality of the work environment for your people. For instance, does the majority of your team bring lunches each day? If so, a lunchroom or kitchenette may be both convenient and appreciated. How many of your people commute by car each day? You will need to provide adequate secure parking.

Here are some other points to investigate:

  • Space
  • Special Requirements
  • Environmental Requirements
  • Locale Requirements
  • Operating and Maintenance Expense Considerations

Once you have a picture of what needs your building must meet, it will be easier to decide what building method will work best, which leads us to step 2.

If you’re interested in learning more, click here to receive the full, FREE version of our Planning Guide.

Glove - Bus Reflection

You’re probably thinking, what? Well, these are two words derived from two different phrases meaning essentially the same thing: “Glove Fit”, “Right Seat on the Bus”. Whether you are planning to design and build a new commercial, industrial, special use, municipal or church facility these are critical phrases when it comes to hiring the right team. They fit with your vision of accomplishing this building goal as well as are the right team player for your business, the proverbial bus.

It has unfortunately become commonplace to hear of leadership across the board in all industries reflect on the realization they hired the “wrong fit” and in hindsight for the wrong reasons. Remember the phrase, “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”. As you consider this common realization, review the following comments made by individuals in response to their selection process. This comes with sincere reflection on each real life comment. In this context the decision maker will be referred to as the “buyer”:

1. “We are looking for someone who we feel comfortable with, can trust and will provide a fair price.”

A. If this is truly the case, why does leadership often insist on bringing in 3 “qualified” firms? Taking this approach says that we are comfortable with 3 firms, trust all 3 firms, but really want the lowest price even though we state, “it is not all about price”. This becomes the buyer’s measurable on differentiating between firms. What then is left if you feel they are qualified and know that you can trust their quality and service?

i. So take this a step do you know they are truly qualified:
Is it because you have seen other similar buildings they have designed and constructed (do you know what the process was like for the other buyer going through the building process)? You see the finished product, but what was the journey like for the other buyer? Were things missed because they “won” the bid as is often the case? If you have worked with someone before and had a good working relationship with them, why do you feel it is necessary to consider multiple parties again? Did you truly trust them? Set the apparent “protocol” aside; previous trustworthy relationships should eliminate the need for typical protocol in utilizing the same team again. It should be a black and white decision process. Trust is the cornerstone of relationships. If it is not there, call it for what it is and move on.

2. We wanted to have someone design and then bid the project out separately to multiple general contractors in lieu of having someone design and build our building as a single source. We feel this will ensure we are receiving the “best value”.

A. So you are going to take on the responsibility of hiring an architect, separate mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineer, separate site/civil engineer and then make sure that each of the various entities are all coordinating their own plans with the others as well as with the local, county and or state authorities? Once you ensure they are all working together, are you going to qualify and then “bid” out to multiple general contractors and then make sure any questions are channeled to each of the appropriate parties? Ok, say for example all of the above actually comes together; how will you guarantee that the “lowest bidder” actually has included everything. Once into the job inevitably the finger pointing begins if something was missed and in the end, you the buyer bare the final consequence as you assumed responsibility for the design and are often left with a project that ends up over budget. With this approach it is imperative that a certain level of a relationship has been developed on the front end.

3. “If someone is my single source designing and building my building, how can I guarantee I will receive the most value?”

A. First, it is important to determine what value truly means to you.

B. If you are partnering with someone who can design and build your building this will be a marriage in essence for the better part of 1 – 2 years depending on the level of project. What better way to get to know someone than spending time planning together with the same team who will be building your building. You are building trust with one another, designing a building that will meet your needs as well as fit within your budget all prior to moving into construction with a single source of communication and delivery. You partnered with them because you know they are capable of designing and building your building as you have spoken with other references as well as have seen their “product”. This approach generally will save up to 4 months compared to the design/bid/build model because you are now dealing with one single source through all the phases. Now, returning to the above reflection: you have someone who is qualified, you can trust and is designing a building that will be guaranteed within your budget. It is important to have a thorough understanding of why one would consider the risk and assume the responsibility in the aforementioned approach. Someone will always be able to state on the front end they will provide a guaranteed maximum price (GMP) for your project prior to start of design. What does this matter if you are unable to afford the what has been designed?

Remember, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Plan well. It is a marathon and not a sprint. Your operational costs will be the greatest cost over the life of your building. Choose wisely the resource you feel will be a true partner through the process to ensure you are developing the best long term and most efficient tool for your intended use.

If you have a need and have thought about planning for the design, renovation and/or construction of a new facility and would like a free consultation please contact PBS at 920.868.2229 or visit us at

How to Begin the Church Building Process

[An excerpt from the book, Faith Building]

How do we begin the Church Building Process? Countless groups have met for hours, days, weeks and months to discuss this question.

A very small percentage of churches build, add on or repurpose their facilities more than once or twice in a generation. Generally pastors and church leaders seek out people within their church family to begin a planning or building team. In most cases they also seek outside advice to assist in the important planning and feasibility phase.

Involving a design/build firm at this important stage early in the process can pay financial and space utilization dividends for years to come. Trust and an open relationship are key at this point in the process. Developing a trust relationship with a design/build firm is much like allowing a Dad to catch his trusting toddler when the toddler jumps off a table into Dad's arms. The church has to allow and entrust the professionals to do what they do best. However that is not to say that the church just blindly allows the design/builder free reign, but it is to say that, working in partnership together, the Church trusts the expertise and experience of a good design/build team.

Trust That Leads to The Wedding

This trust is much like a marriage for a significant period of time. The courtship occurs during the time where the design/build team asks questions and learns of the church's dreams and aspirations.
The engagement occurs when the church has contracted with the design/builder to develop planning schemes and illustrations during which time the church and the design/builder deepen their trust and relationship with one another. Both the church and the design/builder, much like transferring trust when first coming to faith, must be open and totally honest with one another. This is not a time for wavering or second thoughts about one another. You have now both gone through many meetings and learned of the strengths that will significantly impact your ministry. This time together can be significant and eventually leads to the actual wedding. On the wedding day, the church and the design/builder enter into a design build contract triggering the final design phase leading to construction.

This courtship, engagement and wedding concept and the churches transferring trust to the design/builder is vital to the Faith Building concept.

Faith Building will ask and answer key questions as to how to build a ministry tool. It will assist your ministry to focus and head in a direction that will help you ask and then answer the important questions.

For your FREE copy of Faith Building click here.

If you have considered planning for the design, renovation and/or construction of a new worship facility and are looking for a team of resources to help guide you through the process please contact PBS at 920-868-2229.

Extraordinary Journey

Sometimes in life we experience certain circumstances, events or an all-out journey that take us beyond our minds definition of ordinary or happen chance and into the realm of extraordinary; or, perhaps for those who are Christ followers there is no other explanation than, the Sovereign Hand of God.

Southfield Church is such an example of this Extraordinary Journey. With humble, patient and faithful leaders they have been able to weather the "trials and tribulations" that often come our way in life and ministry as they have journeyed and navigated to this new destination they now call home. After being in their new home for just a few years they have been blessed by what they would refer to as non-other than the Hand of God wrapped around their ministry. Growth has not been an ambitious or singular pursuit, but an encountered result of their faithful stewardship.

After a number of years in a temporary facility following the sale of an original campus location and many ups and downs, they were able to design and build a beautiful new multi-purpose ministry facility. Planning the design and construction under one umbrella allowed them to be good stewards in how they approached their vision. As a result of this faithful stewardship the Lord has blessed them with the ability to expand after just a few short years. In lieu of doing everything they would have desired out of the proverbial gate, they planned efficiently and effectively in order to not put themselves under the column affecting many ministries across the country commonly referred to as being "building poor". Proper planning and guidance allowed them to continue doing ministry with significant Kingdom impact, in lieu of being burdened with a focus on debt beyond their reasonable means. Not to be mistaken, this was still a large step of faith for this ministry trusting that the Lord would provide in alignment with their prayers, planning and stewardship, yet they know in whose hands they remain.

Often times we allow previous circumstances to bind us and we bypass the vision God has for our lives and our ministry instead of allowing God to be God. Stepping back and understanding that God is Sovereign and THE one true navigator, even in the midst of trials, is often the launch pad He utilizes to create great change within us. When we limit God, He will often work through others to open our eyes and hearts to what he has in store for us. As you seek to expand your ministry, step out in faith and walk into the open arms of Jesus allowing him to chart the course. Prayerfully seek God's wisdom in preparing the best leaders around you to navigate the waters ahead.

If you have considered planning for the design, renovation and/or construction of a new worship facility and are looking for a team of resources to help guide you through the process please contact PBS at 920-868-2229.

Dental/Medical Design and Construction Planning

Working With a Single Source of Delivery

If you are a practice owner or manager and are growing and need to expand or perhaps desire your own stand-alone building, the task of determining the best space to meet your needs can at first seem daunting. This does not have to be the case. Working with a qualified and integrated team that can be your single source for complete design and construction will help paint the picture, count the costs and coordinate all construction activities for a seamless transition from planning through permitting and into construction. A professional team will ask appropriate questions, listen to your vision/needs and guide you through the process. Your time is valuable and cannot be spent trying to direct a design and construction process.


Variables to Consider

There are many variables to consider which will affect your end goal. A few of these might be whether you want to purchase land and build a new facility, have found space in an existing building that you would like to build out and lease or perhaps you have found an existing building that you would like to purchase and repurpose to meet your needs. If an existing space, most can be repurposed to meet your needs; the question becomes, at what level of repurposing? Your investment in the space can go from A to Z depending on your specific needs including such factors as size, conditions and type of space. If a new building, have you purchased the property? Is the entire site buildable? Do we have municipal utilities close to the site? If existing, how much has to be undone prior to renovation? By working with a professional design/build team they can help you determine what will be necessary to meet your needs by laying out an efficient and functional design plan and counting all project costs prior to moving forward into final construction.


Planning and Delivery Process

In years past owners would generally go directly to an architect/engineer and have a beautiful design prepared with little understanding or thought given to the project budget. What would generally occur and still does to this day is that while the design may meet their needs, they "bid" the job out to multiple providers only to determine the project cost exceeds their budget. Also important to mention, under this circumstance you the owner assume full responsibility for the design. So, the owner has a beautiful design that cannot be constructed without going through redesign incurring valuable lost time and money. This can be extremely costly if you are under a tight time frame moving from one location to another. In lieu of a close working relationship with their design/builder, they have minimized the relationship to one of a transaction bid out to multiple "general contractors" who may or may not have picked up everything in the design. Regardless, in this circumstance the owner will end up paying the price through lost time and often unexpected costs with the potential for a sacrifice in quality.


The 3-Headed: Quality, Service and Price

The old adage that you cannot receive quality, service and price is simply false. If you are working with a professional design/build firm, you should receive all three. You will receive quality as they are partnered with a trusted and qualified team, service as this should be inherent and proven in their ability as a firm to serve their customers and price as they are providing you with fair and real project costs through your taking the time to work closely together to design a space that is functional and predetermined to be within your budget. In providing all three, you have a qualified design/build firm who will assume full and complete responsibility for the project.


The Big Question

So, with all due respect, an important question to consider: why would you not want to partner with someone you can build a level of trust with as they help you plan; who will design a plan to meet your needs; and who will count the costs for you ensuring the plan is within your budget prior to moving into construction? Your investment meets your budget; you have a space that meets your needs within your budget and are partnered with someone you have developed a high level of trust with. Why would you want anything different?

If you have a need and have thought about planning for the design, renovation and/or construction of a new dental or medical space and would like a free consultation please contact PBS at 920-868-2229.