An example of a professionally created replacement analysis can be found here. Simply reading the document gives a basic outline for what needs to be considered.
Inventory cost areas. It is likely that many future costs have really not been considered by your building ministry team or parish council. Your analysis should include:
- parking lots
- painting interior/exterior
- gutters & downspouts
- seating (pews/chairs)
- church school area furnishings
- accordion walls
- meeting room furnishings
- tuck pointing
- stain glass
- out buildings
- storm water management
- handicap lifts
- office equipment and furnishings
- kitchen appliances
- electrical wiring
- bells, cupolas, outdoor lighting
- and probably much more.
Identify remaining the remaining economic life for each and probable replacement year for each item. (This is of course no small task.)
Estimate probable replacement cost for each item and include that on a schedule looking out 15, 20 or better 30 years. (Likewise no small task.)
Summarize and identify a minimum annual deposit to a common pool of replacement reserve funds that:
- will allow replacement to be funded as projected
- prevents your replacement reserves from dropping below a minimum recommended balance (suggested to be five percent of the one-time replacement cost of the projected replacements listed in the Inventory)
- allows a constant annual funding level between peaks.
For parishes with complex situations it may be useful to consult with professionals.
Hiding from Future Costs?
When undertaking such an analysis one objection will likely be:
"How can we possibly think about examining long term building costs, and making significant annual/monthly payments to a reserve fund in this economy? We can barely balance the budget as it is."
Obviously no parish is looking for large additions to the cost side of its budget. But if the parish budget does not include a proper contribution to long term building costs the budget is not balanced. It has been balanced on paper only -- on the back of a hidden inability to fund future costs.
If your parish believes that such future unpleasant outcomes don't really occur please contact the Diocesan Parish Development Ministry
for the realities being faced by many parishes.
Is it not the essence of good stewardship then to perform the due diligence to understand what it will take to keep the church's real properties in good shape over the long haul? Even if the parish can't afford the reserve contributions now --there is a need to inform parishioners of the future reality.