Administrative Norms for Church Construction and Renovation


Of a parish’s many construction and renovation projects, those concerning the church building itself and its worship space are key. The purpose of these policies is to inform and facilitate the decision making process for such projects enjoined by the parish community, pastor, and archbishop. Every such project, regardless of size, affects the Church’s liturgy. The local church community needs and deserves clear procedures to prepare space for worship in the best way possible.

No document can foresee every possibility or accommodate every need. Therefore, a means to consider exceptional situations is warranted. The Environment, Art and Architecture Committee (EAAC) of the Archbishop’s Worship Commission provides the forum through which exceptions to these policies may be requested (see initial contact with EAAC in Section I I). They thereafter advise the Archbishop according to their consensus of the merits of each appeal.

Section I


The pastor contacts the Archbishop’s Office (Form A) to obtain approval to begin any preparation for the renovation or refurnishing of the worship space, the installation or redesign of an organ, or the construction of a new church building and/oraddition.

Section II


In every instance the pastor contacts the Environment, Art and Architecture Committee (EAAC) by way of the Office of Worship to determine which of the following policy provisions shall apply to the given project. When exceptions are requested, the EAAC shall submit their recommendations to the Archbishop within 45 days of receipt of Form A. The pastor may request the assistance of the EAAC in completing specific steps of the process mandated in this policy.

Section III


With the assistance of the Parish Council, the pastor appoints a steering committee to study the entire facility, and to guide the work of renovation, refurnishing, addition or building of a new worship space.

Section IV




1. It is required that parishes hire a liturgical consultant for the project. The Office of Worship or the EAAC can assist in the selection of prospective liturgical consultants. If needed, a list of approved consultants is available from the Archdiocesan Office of Worship.

2. The EAAC can assist the parish with an interview process if needed.

3. The pastor submits the contract for the liturgical consultant to the Archdiocesan Legal Department (ALD) for review and approval.


1. The liturgical consultant provides formation for the parish steering committee with careful study of the documents on the liturgy, giving particular emphasis to the US Bishops’ document, “Built of Living Stones”. The requirements for the Rites of the Church (i.e. music, processions for the different parts of the sacraments of baptism, weddings, the various parts of the Triduum such as footwashing, procession to Reservation Chapel, adult baptisms) should also be studied as they impact on the worship space and art and environment chosen.

2. The liturgical consultant can also provide catechesis to the parishioners on the liturgy documents with special emphasis on “Built of Living Stones”.

3. At the conclusion of the formation process, the liturgical consultant will facilitate the formulation of a preliminary program statement.


1. The Building Department of the Archdiocese will help coordinate the selection of an architect from the approved

list of architectural firms.

2. The pastor, parish steering committee, the liturgical consultant and the RPSC Building Department review portfolios submitted by the architects and choose four (4) to interview. Based on the fee proposal and interview process, an architect is chosen.

3. Once a firm is chosen, a contract is to be drawn up and reviewed by the RPSC Building Department for review and sent to the Vicar of Administration or RPSC Board Members for signature.


The architect and liturgical consultant finalize the written program statement for their use during the design phase.

Section V




1. The architect, in conjunction with the liturgical consultant, prepares an overall preliminary design, cost estimate, and construction schedule including project milestones, meetings and presentation dates, as well as a written and graphic overview of the project. The pre-design cost estimate and schedule are sent to the RPSC Building Department for review.

2. After master planning is completed the pastor makes an appointment with the EAAC to review the Master Plan. The pastor, architect, liturgical consultant and representatives of the parish steering committee meet with the EAAC. After approval by the Archbishop, the pastor makes an appointment with the RPSC Building Committee of the Archdiocese.

3. The EAAC forwards their recommendations for the Master Plan to the Archbishop for his final approval before

moving on to the next phase.


1. The architect, in consultation with the liturgical consultant and the parish steeringcommittee, begins the schematic design study.

2. An updated cost estimate is prepared by the architect and presented to the RPSC Building Department and the parish steering committee. Once reviewed and approved, a recommendation will be given to the pastor.

3. The pastor, representatives of the parish steering committee, the architect and liturgical consultant meet with the EAAC and a representative of the Archdiocesan Music Committee to review the schematic drawings.

4. At completion of the schematic drawings, the parish steering committee makes recommendation to the pastor for the plan chosen, and an appointment is made for presentation of the project to the Archdiocesan Building Committee. Upon approval from the Archdiocesan Building Committee, the architect continues with design development, permit applications, city planning approvals.

5. The recommendations of the parish steering committee, the archdiocesan RPSC Building Committee and the EAAC are forwarded to the Archbishop for his approval before moving on to the next phase.



1. The design is developed by the architect with the liturgical consultant and the parish steering committee.

2. The parish steering committee working with the liturgical consultant selects artists and craftspeople for the furnishings and artifacts. The designs for the altar furniture, font, statuary and organ are submitted to the EAAC for review and to the Archbishop for approval.

3. The cost estimate for Design Development is brought up to date by the architect or cost estimator.

4. Designs and cost estimates are submitted to the Archdiocesan Building Committee, and their recommendations are presented to the pastor for his approval.

5. The pastor, representatives of the parish steering committee, the architect, and the liturgical consultant meet with the EAAC for review of the plans.

6. The recommendations of the pastor, Building Committee, and the EAAC are forwarded to the Archbishop for his approval before moving on to the next phase.

7. Thereafter, the Archbishop must be consulted regarding any changes.



1. Construction documents are prepared by the architect and submitted to the Building Department for approval.

2. The Building Department assists the architect and pastor in selecting contractors for the project. Please refer to the Archdiocesan Guidelines for Construction and Renovation projects.



1. Bidding

a. The Invitation to Bid this project is prepared by the architect and Building Department and sent out by the Building Department to a minimum of four contractors. They submit a sealed bid to the Building Department on the date required with a copy to the pastor.

b. The building department reviews the bids and forwards his/her recommendations to the pastor.

c. The general contractor is selected and a contract between the Owner/Contractor is submitted for review and approval to the RPSC Building Department and signed by the Vicar of Administration or the RPSC Board members. Copies of the signed executed contract are sent to the general contractor and parish. The Archdiocesan insurance company is copied on contracts over $100,000.

2. Construction

a. Construction is monitored by the architect and the Archdiocesan Building Department.

b. Weekly meetings are scheduled between the contractor, building department, pastor, and architect to assess progress and address new issues and concerns.

c. Furnishings and artifacts are installed.

d. The architect and contractor issue certificates of payment to the building department and are then forwarded to the pastor for payment.

e. The liturgical consultant works with a parish committee to prepare the Rite of Dedication or Blessing of the Church. The Archbishop’s office is contacted for a possible date and works with the committee on the Dedication.

f. The liturgical consultant works with the parish steering committee on how to use the new or renovated space for the Rites of the Church.