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​7.4.2 Major Plant Projects​​

​​​​​​​Under archdiocesan policy, a major plant project is any plant construction, repair, renovation, landscaping, or engineering project that exceeds $20,000. Major plant project contracts may only be reviewed and signed at the archdiocesan level.

Any facility project or improvement involving asbestos or mold remediation, lead-based paint, structural change to existing buildings, conditional use permits, and modifications to conditional use permits, even if it is $20,000 or less, must be reviewed and approved by the archdiocesan Construction Department before proceeding with any work.

Capital improvements should be planned during the projected budget process and scheduled to occur within the fiscal year in which the financial resources will be anticipated. If the project involves a school, construction should be scheduled when school is not in session. Expenses for capital improvements are prorated between the parish and school according to use. See Capital Improvements Policies &​ Procedures: 2018​.​ Approvals Required For Major Projects

Major plant projects require the following approvals:

Regional Auxiliary Bishop (except for archdiocesan high schools)

The pastor, in a letter to the regional auxiliary bishop, describes the proposed work to be done as well as the reason and need for the work, the projected cost of the work, and the proposed funding for the project. If the bishop approves the proposal, he prepares a written response (either by writing a separate letter or signing the original request letter) with any comments and sends it to the pastor with a copy to the moderator of the curia, chief financial officer (CFO), Construction Department, and if appropriate, to the director of the office for worship and the superintendent of elementary schools.

Office of the CFO

Before permission is granted for a major building project, approval of the funding arrangements must be obtained from the Office of the CFO.

Department of Catholic Schools (for school projects)

If the work involves a major project to any elementary school or high school, approval from the superintendent of schools is required.

Office for Worship (for liturgical projects)

If the work is in a place of worship, the pastor shall obtain a written review of the proposed work from the Office for Worship. The review process may include a formal meeting and review with the Liturgical Design Review Committee.

Archdiocesan Building Commission

If the work requested is estimated to cost one million dollars or more, or if the regional bishop or Construction Department so wishes, then the proposed project shall be submitted to the archdiocesan Building Commission for review and approval. Funding

The location must have 100% of the funds available for the project or qualify for a short-term archdiocesan construction loan or line of credit. The Office of the CFO works in conjunction with the Construction Department to perform a financial analysis and review before funding for a major plant project can be approved. See ​Loans. Office for Worship


The role of the Office for Worship is to promote general adherence to the Church's liturgical norms and documents, specifically the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. The Office for Worship does not restrict individual design creativity or promote a particular design style. The Office for Worship coordinates with the pastor, regional bishop, and Liturgical Design Review Committee before the proposal is submitted to the archdiocesan Building Commission and the archbishop for approval.


The pastor must follow the Office for Worship's Guidelines for initiating a renovation or new building for a worship space at the Parish. The Office for Worship will offer guidance and resources as well as review and recommendations to the archdiocesan Building Commission of all liturgical design elements relative to the building of any worship space, church, or chapel, as well as the significant renovation of any existing worship space before any commitment to the work is made.

"Significant" means work that affects the church structure or ov​erall worship​ space​​. Examples of such work are those that affect the sanctuary space; assembly seating arrangement; placement, location, and design of the chapel for eucharistic reservation, chapel for reconciliation, or music area; and changes to, relocation of, or purchases of liturgical furnishings such as the altar, tabernacle, ambo, presider's chair, or baptistry.

The pastor should also consult the archdiocesan Office for Worship for liturgical projects of a lesser degree before any commitment to the work is made.          

It is strongly recommended that projects of a lesser degree, namely projects primarily of refurbishing that affect the overall worship environment, should involve the Office for Worship. Examples of lesser projects include changing materials, colors, and finishes that affect the aesthetics of the liturgical space; painting or carpeting all or part of the worship space; purchasing or designing liturgical vessels and liturgical objects, as well as objects of devotion; purchasing or enhancing an organ, a sound system, or lighting; changing windows; and changing liturgical or devotional art. 

Note: When commissioning original works of art (e.g., statues, paintings, or tapestries), specific terms and conditions need to be negotiated with the artist. The Artwork Agreement​ addresses the pertinent terms and should be used. Consult the Office of the Legal Counsel if the Artwork Agreement needs to be modified to suit the location's purpose.

Any project dealing with basic maintenance need not involve the archdiocesan Office for Worship. Archdiocesan Building Commission

The function of the Building Commission is to guide the person in charge and building committees in the process of construction, from conception to completion. The Building Commission also evaluates architectural designs, construction documents, project budgets, costs, schedules, and contracting methodology, and following consultation and discussion with those who have submitted the project, the Building Commission presents recommendations and approvals. At the discretion of the chair, the Building Commission may present recommendations regarding project feasibility to the archbishop for his consideration.

The Building Commission exists solely to ensure that the best possible methods and practices for design and construction are observed in the realization of archdiocesan building projects. Other Considerations

Please note:

  • All proposed projects must conform to any approved master plans for the location.

  • The location must have a facilities maintenance​ plan in place.

  • The location must obtain a minimum of three competitive bids from prequalified contractors. Contractors who are not on the prequalified list must complete the prequalification process and meet the minimum archdiocesan requirements, including acceptance of the standard archdiocesan contractual terms and conditions.

  • Negotiated or guaranteed maximum pricing requires prior approval of the archdiocesan Building Commission if the project is one million dollars or more in value.

  • The Construction Department will prepare all contracts for major projects. Only archdiocesan standard contracts may be used.

Please refer to the construction Project Checklist for general guidelines to be followed in the event of a major plant project. The Construction Department​ must be consulted during all phases of a major plant project.​