Building Renovation - Creating a Church AVL Technology Budget

Posted on Jul 13, 2022 4:23:04 PM

What if your church is renovating a store-front property or converting another building into a church? Since it’s not ground-up construction, basing any projected costs as a percentage of a typical construction budget will likely be skewed since the structure itself already exists. That doesn’t mean that MediaMerge hasn’t found trackable trends to help you on your journey.

In general terms, the figures discussed below would also work for a complete overhaul or full replacement of all AVL systems in a pre-existing building with similar room sizes. However, in that case, there may be portions from the existing system that could be reused to reduce cost significantly. The numbers below assume that you are starting with a blank AVL slate and need to begin from scratch. Any pre-existing gear or infrastructure that could be reused may reduce these costs significantly.

How much does AVL (Audio, Video, Lighting) usually cost in a Building Renovation project?

To answer this question, we break down the costs into three scenarios.

Modern Auditoriums utilize technology features throughout the service. Think black wall stages, full Band, theatrical lights and video IMAG. In this scenario, there’s a large amount of equipment and gear involved, which means a large amount of installation and configuration.

Blended Worship Centers integrate supplemental technology into their services. Think choir sections, worship team (perhaps with woodwinds or brass instruments interspersed), and a mix of contemporary and hymns. In these instances, technology is used as an extension to the service, but it does not serve as a focal point. This is probably the most cost-effective budget scenario - a smaller amount of gear and ease-of-access for labor decrease the overall costs.

Traditional Sanctuaries take a utilitarian approach to tech and use it as sparingly as possible. Think arched wooden ceilings, robed choir accompanied by an organ and full orchestra, and stained glass windows throughout. Stunning architecture and aesthetics take priority over technology, which means the amount of tech equipment is more limited than the previous examples. However, because of the nature of hiding or color matching the equipment, conduit and rigging, plus the amount of extra labor required to gain access in elevated ceilings, it often ends up costing more than you may initially expect.

How is the cost split between Audio, Video and Lighting?

Since Audio, Video and Lighting are all separate systems, we’ve also broken down general percentages and subsequent costs that we find most commonly using the examples above.

***The numbers below are intended to be reference points, and are not exact quotes. While this information is based on years of experience and dozens of actual projects, it is meant to serve exclusively as a conversational starting point.

Check out the cost breakdowns below:

Renovation/Overhaul Project:
Modern Auditorium, Tech-Centric

Room Size <250 seats 250-500 seats 500+ seats
Infrastructure Budget
(Conduit, Electrical, etc.)
$25,000 $50,000 $75,000
AVL Integrator Budget $250,000 $450,000 $650,000
Total Cost $275,000 $500,000 $725,000


AVL Budget Breakdown

AVL Integrator Budget 100% $250,000 $450,000 $650,000
Audio System 40% $100,000 $180,000 $260,000
Video System 30% $75,000 $135,000 $195,000
Lighting System 25% $62,500 $112,500 $162,500
Shared Infrastructure


$12,500 $22,500 $32,500


Renovation/Overhaul Project:
Blended Worship Center - Integrated Tech

Room Size <250 seats 250-500 seats 500+ seats
Infrastructure Budget
(Conduit, Electrical, etc.)
$25,000 $40,000 $50,000
AVL Integrator Budget $200,000 $350,000 $500,000
Total Cost $225,000 $390,000 $550,000


AVL Budget Breakdown

AVL Integrator Budget 100% $200,000 $350,000 $500,000
Audio System 40% $80,000 $140,000 $200,000
Video System 30% $60,000 $105,000 $150,000
Lighting System 25% $50,000 $87,500 $125,500
Shared Infrastructure


$10,000 $17,500 $25,000


Renovation/Overhaul Project:
Traditional Sanctuary - Aesthetic Focus

Room Size <250 seats 250-500 seats 500+ seats
Infrastructure Budget
(Conduit, Electrical, etc.)
$25,000 $50,000 $75,000
AVL Integrator Budget $250,000 $400,000 $600,000
Total Cost $275,000 $450,000 $675,000


AVL Budget Breakdown

AVL Integrator Budget 100% $250,000 $400,000 $600,000
Audio System 40% $100,000 $160,000 $240,000
Video System 25% $62,500 $100,000 $150,000
Lighting System 30% $75,000 $120,000 $180,000
Shared Infrastructure


$12,500 $20,000 $30,000


Notes to Help Understand the Tables

Tech Infrastructure Budget = Structural, Electrical, Conduit, and HVAC, etc. work that may need to be completed by other trades/companies. This infrastructure is utilized by all AVL equipment, as well as equipment racks, stage, and tech booths.

*** Did you know that MediaMerge is licensed as a General Contractor? This allows us to pull permits, oversee subcontractors and provide specifications and drawings for work required by other entities on projects where a Construction General Contractor isn’t required.

AVL Integrator Budget = The general cost of AVL Systems and Installation when compared to Construction costs.

Each portion for Audio, Video, Lighting and Shared are percentages of the total AVL Budget.

The Audio System would include purchase and installation of Speaker System, Audio Console, DSP/Amplification, Stage Monitoring/IEM, Microphones, Floorboxes for Inputs and Outputs.

***Instrumentation, Drum Enclosure, Staging/Risers not included.

Note: Increased Audio Budget generally = provides a mix of increased quantity and quality. As an example, higher-tier speakers and/or audio console. Additional + better wireless microphones, IEM receivers/mixers.

Cost could decrease if existing Microphones or Audio Consoles are repurposed. Generally, speaker systems are designed for use in specific rooms, so these would generally need to be purchased specifically for this room instead of being repurposed.

Cost could increase if you need additional mix positions for Broadcast Audio, need extensive wireless IEM, or have large distributed audio systems throughout the rest of the building.

The Video System would include purchase and installation of Video Display (Screens/Projectors) for Lyric, Scripture and Video presentation. Computer System for Lyrics/Graphic Presentations. Base camera system with video switcher and live streaming computer or hardware encoder. (Camera Quality scaled according to budget.) Multiview TV to monitor video Inputs and Outputs. Confidence Monitor TV or Projector that can be seen from Stage. Limited number of distributed TVs in a nearby Lobby/Common area.

Note: Increased Video Budget usually = increased quality. For video hardware, that often means a better quality camera, projector and streaming encoder instead of more individual units.

Cost could decrease if existing Computers or Cameras are able to be repurposed. Screen sizes are determined by dimensions of the room itself, so screens, projectors and TVs are usually purchased specifically to fit into this space correctly.

Cost could increase if you need a specific item to be large or specifically high quality. If you need/want an LED Wall instead of Projection, this will increase the cost considerably. If you need multiple TVs throughout the Lobby/Common areas or need top tier cameras, then this would also increase the cost.

The Lighting System would include the purchase and installation of Lighting Console / Control Interface, LED Front Wash fixtures, LED Back Light fixtures, moderate amount of LED Scenic Fixtures, and all piping and safety cables required to construct the Lighting Grid.

***House Lighting is generally included in the Electrician’s bid package. If AVL needs to incorporate House Lighting and/or add RGB functionality, this will increase the cost significantly.

Note: Additional Lighting Budget generally = increased Quantity and Quality. More fixtures gives you more flexibility. Adding in higher tier Movable Fixtures or designating static fixtures to certain tasks like Floor Wash, Baptismal, etc. allows the rest of the lights in the system to focus on their role.

Cost could decrease if you already have a Lighting Console or Control system; however, fixtures are generally purchased with specific brightness and lenses.

Cost could increase if Ceilings/Angles are low and distances are short. This may require additional fixtures to cover the area. If large numbers of scenic or movable fixtures are required, this will also increase the cost.

The Shared Infrastructure includes items like equipment racks, cable trays, floor boxes, and networking gear that are shared among AVL components.

To learn how long AVL Renovations may take, check out this article on Timelines: When Will Your Gear Be Ready?

Get the conversation started today

Whether your church is in the initial phases of conversations, just dreaming or in dire need of an upgrade, let us know today! We love the relational aspects of our roles and enjoy being a part of the conversation.

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Topics:Worship AVL Technology


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