There are very few structures in the world as timeless in appearance as the classic church building. Church that were built hundreds of years ago still hold the same reverence and beauty as those built recently. However, although they are designed to withstand decades (and even centuries) of time, eventually, church steeple repairs become necessary. When your church is in need of steeple repairs, or you are considering a new church steeple design, there are a lot of factors you should consider. Since church steeples are such a long-term investment, it is important to put extensive thought into the planning phase. Before investing in expensive steeple repairs, there are several important considerations that may not have crossed your mind yet:
Five Important Considerations When Planning a Steeple Repair or Installation
There is a misconception that steeples are an antiquated design element in historical churches. In fact, even contemporary church designs can gracefully incorporate a church steeple. The important factor is taking care that the steeple repair or new steeple meshes well with the design of the rest of the building. While considering the overall design of the church, you should take into consideration the surrounding area, so that the entire structure is cohesive and pleasing to the eye.
- Lightning Protection
The tall design of a steeple puts it at a greater risk of being hit by lightning than other buildings. If your steeple is struck by lightning, it not only creates an unattractive appearance that is nearly impossible to repair, it could introduce an extensive fire risk. In order to protect your church steeple — as well as the entire building — from the risk of fire, you should incorporate a solid aluminum or copper rod into the design of the steeple. This is a simple measure that ensures your steeple is grounded, and the energy produced by lighting will be absorbed and neutralized rather than sparking a fire.
- Building Codes
Zoning laws — especially in regards to church buildings — vary widely from one area to the next. The building regulations that your church is subject to depends on the area in which it is located. However, at a minimum, you will likely be required to ensure that your steeple is built with non-combustible and fire retardant material. You will likely have additional licensing and building requirements, you should gather this prior to starting the work. Additionally, we recommend that you request a copy of the engineering report from the contractor who designs or restores your steeple, to guarantee that it meets the building codes you are subject to. Going the extra mile to make sure that your steeple is designed or repaired according to your zoning requirements while it is being constructed (and maintaining documentation of it) is a good insurance policy that you won’t be slapped with fines or additional rework down the line.
- Cellular Tower Access
Although your church is primarily a place of worship, it can also provide a community service by housing a cellular tower. If you are approached by a cellular provider about installing a tower in your steeple, it is important to really consider your options before signing the dotted line. Before agreeing to house a cellular tower in your church steeple, you should talk to several providers, to ensure you make the most advantageous agreement.
- Size Considerations
Steeples come in a very broad range of sizes. You might find that selecting the best size for your church is difficult without actually being able to “try it on” in advance. Some people think that a tall steeple can give an otherwise small church an appealing height, however, this tends to overpower the structure and makes it look lopsided. On the other hand, a steeple that is too short for the building it is attached to has a diminished impact. Many church design experts recommend installing a steeple that is approximately 10% of the the size of the rest of the structure for the most visually appealing final result.
Do you have any other suggestions that should be taken into consideration while designing a church steeple? Please share them in the comment section below.