We are here to help you manage the process to obtain approval for your project – from developing the concept through funding through working with the contractor..  We are thrilled to be of service as you pursue the needs and ideas of your parish to ensure the project is timely, efficient and successful.

Kelly Bruce, Office of Planning and Operations

At any given time in the Diocese of Charleston, approximately one-fourth of all parishes and schools are involved in some phase of planning, fund-raising, renovation or construction of a building project. This revised Process has been simplified to assist parishes and schools to successfully run projects and follow canonical requirements. “Parish” as used herein includes both parish and school. “Pastor” as used herein includes both pastor and parish administrator.

Throughout the process, multiple contracts and agreements that qualify as an Act of Extraordinary Administration will need to be signed in order to continue working. Please refer to the “Project/Contract Cheat Sheet” (Attachment _) to verify what, along with Votum (Attachment _), should be submitted in order to have it executed by an Officer of the Corporation Sole.

1. Preliminary Approval to Initiate Consultation Process

  • To begin a project, the Pastor writes to the bishop requesting preliminary approval to initiate a consultation process with appropriate parish groups (Parish Finance Council and Parish Pastoral Council). See Attachment C [formulary 12]. An expected scope of work, project narrative, and any facts about the project or parish that may inform the Bishop’s decision should be included in this letter.
  • Requesting consultation helps insure the project is consistent with the Bishop’s vision for the parish before promoting the project to parishioners.
  • The Bishop provides a letter of response including any recommendations. Soils and Environmental Testing should be done at the selected site.

2. Consultation

  • If the project being considered is the building of a new church, the pastor provides sufficient detail by completing the “Request to Build a New Church” (see Attachment D). In accordance with c.1215, §2, the Bishop consults with the Presbyteral Council on the proposed need for a church. After consultation with the Presbyteral Council, the Bishop may provide conceptual approval for the project.
  • If conceptual approval is given, the Pastor consults with his Parish Finance Council, Parish Pastoral Council and any appropriate established parish groups or interested persons. (See Attachment E [formulary 13].) If one does not exist, the Pastor may appoint a building committee.
  • If one does not already exist, a master site plan, in line with the pastoral plan, should be developed. If the parish has such a plan available, it should be updated to incorporate the proposed project in the campus layout.
  • If necessary, the pastor may engage the services of an architect/engineer to prepare conceptual drawings of the project for an amount not to exceed the parish spending limit. These drawings (typically floor plans, elevations and a color rendering) can be used as capital campaign material. They should help to inform parishioners as to the look of the finished building.
  • Depending on the size and type of project, the Bishop may decide an On-Site Consultation is necessary to review the Building and Renovation Process, discuss the project schedule and long range pastoral plans. The Building and Renovations Coordinator (Coordinator), Regional Project Liaison and members of the parish building committee are present for this discussion with the pastor.

3. Capital Campaign

While assessing the financial feasibility during the consultation process, it may be determined a capital campaign is necessary to fund the project.

  • In order to begin a capital campaign, the Pastor submits a letter requesting permission for an Act of Extraordinary Administration, (see Attachment A) following Formulary 14 from the Church Finance Handbook. Financial statements, along with documentation of council consultation and opinions of council members, expressed using the Votum Concerning an Extraordinary Act of Administration (see Attachment B). The Pastor should request that all funds raised be excluded from assessment.
  • The Pastor may initiate a parish capital campaign upon receipt of a written faculty from the Bishop.

4. Site Review

  • The consultative process is complete once the parish is ready to host the Site Review Team (SRT). With the letter to the Bishop requesting a Site Review, the pastor should include: the schematic design set (see below), campus master plan, and cost estimates for the project.
  • The pastor prepares information needed to receive Preliminary Financial Approval.
  • After reviewing the consultation process findings provided in the letter from the pastor, if the Bishop approves of the project moving forward, the pastor hosts the SRT (Dean, Director of Stewardship and Development, Director of Financial Services, Regional Project Liaison, and Building & Renovation Coordinator) at the parish.
  • During the Site Review Meeting, the schematic design set and results of the consultation process are presented to the SRT. The BRAC process and proposed project will be discussed in detail. Schematic Design set must include the following drawing sheets: site plan; floor plans; roof plan; N, S, E, W elevations; building sections; and a typical wall section.
  • Prior to the next BRAC meeting, the Pastor submits to the Bishop a letter requesting an Act of Extraordinary Administration to engage an architect. Signed vota evidencing consultation with the Parish Finance Council and financial information about the project should be included. (See pages 6 & 7 and Exhibit 1 of the Parish Finance Council Handbook.)
  • The Pastor will, in good faith and at his discretion, follow-up on any recommendations or “next steps” provided by the SRT.

5. Schematic Design Review

  • At the next available BRAC meeting following the Site Review, the Building and Renovation Coordinator (Coordinator) reports on the Site Review and the schematic design set (SD) is reviewed by the Design Review Team (DRT). One full size set of drawings and PDF’s are submitted, by the first Thursday of the month, to the Coordinator for this review. DRT advises the Bishop on changes to and concerns with the design.
  • Chief Financial Officer and Director of Financial Services reviews parish financial reports and advise the Bishop with proceeding with the project.
  • The BRAC Chair sends a letter to the pastor with all comments and suggestions to come out of the SD review. If approved to proceed, this letter will contain the suggested AIA contract to be used as well as any other necessary information needed from the pastor.

6. Contract Review – Owner & Architect

  • A draft contract packet (PDF) of the suggested AIA contract, listed in letter from BRAC, is submitted to the Coordinator for review.
  • Once approved, at least three (3) original hard copies (one each for Diocese, Parish, Architect) of executable contract packets, are submitted to the Office of Finance for execution. A cover letter signed by the Pastor should accompany this submission.
  • Work on the design development set may begin once executed contracts are returned to all parties.

7. Design Development Review

  • The Design Development (DD) review is used to ensure all design issues are resolved to the satisfaction of the Bishop.
  • For each review, one full size set of drawings and PDF’s are submitted to the Coordinator by the first Thursday of the month. Engineering drawings should be included with the DD set.
  • At each review, the DRT advises the Bishop on the design’s progression and the BRAC Chair sends a letter with the committee’s comments and suggestions.
  • A parish may be invited to present the project to the BRAC to clarify any major design or financial issues. If a formal presentation is not warranted, but there are still outstanding issues, the Coordinator will set up a meeting with the parish building committee and the project architect to clarify design issues.
  • Once all major design concerns are resolved, and the DRT advises to proceeding to Construction Documents, the Chair sends a letter to the Pastor granting this permission.

8. Construction Document Review

  • A complete Construction Document (CD) set is submitted to the BRAC for review to seek approval to go to bid. One full size set of drawings and PDF’s are submitted to the Coordinator by the first Thursday of the month.
  • After this review, the BRAC chair sends a letter with comments from the review. If the project is approved to go to bid, the necessary edits to the suggested AIA contract between Owner and Contractor will be provided. The parish prepares draft contracts for review.
  • If all bids collected are over budget, the project will have to be revised before a contract can be executed. Any changes to the plans will necessitate an additional review by the DRT before the project can be put to bid again.

9. Final Financial Review

In order to receive final financial approval, a parish must have 100% funding for the project planned. The break down should include a total of 50% cash (of the total project amount) on hand before construction can begin. The remaining 50% is to be provided by some combination of pledges, a Diocesan loan, or an offertory in excess of the parish budget.

  • When a bid has been accepted, the Pastor requests final financial approval of the Diocesan Finance Office. The Pastor includes with his letter to the Bishop the final project budget, cash flow projections through the end of construction, parish financial reports, and, if applicable, capital campaign statements.
  • If needed, the Pastor writes to the Bishop requesting a loan. The Director of Financial Services should be contacted for assistance with the request. A loan cannot exceed $2 million dollars and should be backed by Capital Campaign pledges or a demonstrated offertory to support the amortization of the loan.
  • The Pastor sends a letter to the Bishop advising him of the financial status of the parish and, if needed, requests permission for another capital campaign. This phase may be repeated, as needed. An additional consultation and Votum Concerning an Extraordinary Act of Administration (Attachment B) would need to be submitted. The Pastor may also request an exemption from assessment of all funds raised for the purpose of a building project.

10. Contract Review – Owner & Contractor

  • A draft contract packet (PDF) of the suggested AIA contract, listed in letter from BRAC, is submitted to the Coordinator for review.
  • Once approved, at least four (4) original hard copies (one each for Diocese, Parish, Architect, Contractor) of executable contract packets, are to be submitted to the Office of Finance for execution.
  • Construction can begin once executed contracts are returned to all parties.
  • For projects with a cost exceeding $50,000, a Performance Bond is required. A copy is submitted to the Coordinator upon its receipt by the contractor.

11. Construction

  • The Regional Project Liaison will make contact with the Pastor (or the Clerk of Works) on a monthly basis to provide support or assistance as needed.
  • The parish will complete a monthly Project Update Report (see Attachment F) and submit to the Coordinator and the Project Liaison by the 1st Thursday of each month.
  • Cash Flow Projections (see Attachment G) should be updated monthly and submitted with the monthly project report.
  • Regional Project Liaisons may schedule visits to the construction site to better inform the BRAC of the project’s progress.
  • All Change Orders must be signed by an Officer of the Corporation Sole, in accordance with the contract Addendum included in all contract packets.

12. Completion

  • For new or expanded buildings, a completed Catholic Mutual Group Building Report is required to be submitted to Catholic Mutual Group to add the facility to the insured property listing. Please contact Eric Meister, emeister@catholicmutual.org, for assistance with this step.
  • “As-Built” plans are to be submitted to the Coordinator for further submission to the Office of Archives.

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