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Pew Considerations

When a new church is being designed, or an old church is being renovated, the crucial decision regarding its sanctuary is selection of church pews and their arrangement and placement. Such elements as optimum line-of-sight and hearing, adequate comfort for the duration of the service, and architectural conformity are all high on the list of priorities.

To ensure intelligent selection of church pews, as well as proper measure, code adherence and installation ease, many church building committees as well as religious facility architects involve a competent church furniture manufacturer.

"You need to have someone you can go to who has experience and knows what they're doing," says Building Finance Chairman Larry Linman of the American Lutheran Church in Bourbonnais, Illinois.

Tony Mull, an architect with The Aspen Group of Frankfurt, Illinois, agrees.

"The elements of restrictions of how long the pews can be and their spacing are rigid to a point that many times the sanctuary needs to be designed around the pews," he says. "There are issues of whether the floor is flat or sloped, of clearance and making sure the aisles are right, and ensuring you are able to seat the right number of people."

A church building committee, when specifying a pew, is also looking to the architect for guidance, and an architect being guided by an experienced church furniture manufacturer will be able to provide the best service to the church.

Another important aspect of involving a pew expert, both for the architect and the church, is an understanding of the science of church pew design. The construction of the pew itself to last through normal moisture problems, the pitch of the pew backs, and proper accommodations for risers and kneelers are just a few of the crucial issues.

Of equal importance, of course, is the on-time delivery of the exact product ordered.

Involvement of an expert on church pews right from the beginning of a church construction or renovation will ensure the best possible receipt of the sermon from the pulpit and the comfort of parishioners for many generations to come.

Avoiding Cost Overruns
When it comes to working with contractors, no one likes surprises. Such is especially the case when unexpected problems arise during the building or refurbishing of the seats and other fixtures within the structure, and the contractor approaches church management to dig deeper into their pockets to cover mistakes and oversights.

Forgiveness aside, the initial selection of an experienced church furniture manufacturer can go a long way toward saving money upfront and avoiding cost overruns in the construction and placement of church pews.

The installation of church pew seating, a pulpit, communion tables, and the like should be a simple and fast process, but it seldom is, unless the church furniture manufacturer is qualified to foresee and prevent some problems, and work around the rest.

Of even greater importance in avoiding expensive "rebuilds" is building code compliance. A manufacturer that specializes in church pews is adept at helping architects and builders meet these codes. Dealing upfront with issues such as risers, miters, floor pitch, and row layout (distance between pews) helps speed the approval process and avoid costly delays.

Experience in the building and installing of church pews also accounts for lowered building costs in that the congregation isn't paying for "on the job training" of sub-contractors who have never built church furniture before.

To obtain further value for their dollar, church building committees should also evaluate the durability and construction of the furniture itself. Significant money can be saved by avoiding the use of solid wood, which tends to crack, split, and warp from variations in heat, cold and humidity.

Whereas, a church pew that offers modern combinations of plywood, MDF (medium-density fiberboard) and hardwood veneers can showcase the beauty of hardwood with far better long-term stability. Hardwood warranties usually extend to one year, but veneered plywood or MDF can be warranted for 25 years due to its superior structural integrity.

In seeking to stretch construction funds the furthest, it behooves any church building committee to carefully evaluate the credentials, experience, and range of offerings by manufacturers of church pews.

This article is courtesy of Imperial Woodworks, Inc., www.imperialww.com.

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Religious Product News