The Planning Process

Planning a columbarium project begins when church members, leaders or staff begin their first discussions of whether a columbarium could fulfill a need for the congregation or cemetery. When these discussions reveal an opportunity to move ahead with the columbarium idea, CPI is available to become your planning partner.

Past clients have told us that perhaps the greatest value they received from working with CPI comes early in the planning process. Even before you decide whether a columbarium is in your future, a design expert from CPI can meet with your Columbarium Committee for a consultation. At this session and sales presentation, the CPI representative will:

  • Answer questions based on our past columbarium planning experiences.
  • Help identify practical issues and concerns to consider, such as:
    • Maintenance considerations
    • Appearance standards
    • Security considerations
    • The logistical and procedural issues associated with an urn placement service
    • How many cremation urns to be permitted in each niche
    • Policies governing purchase and assignment of niches
    • Rules for inscriptions
  • Discuss factors that affect where to locate the columbarium:
    • Indoor vs. outdoor
    • Visibility
    • Proximity and access relative to the sanctuary, parking, etc.
    • Noise considerations
    • Allowing for future columbarium expansion and/or additions to the church facility
    • Implementation phasing
  • Help develop approximate cost expectations and budgeting

If you decide to move forward after the preliminary consultation, CPI's next step is called the concept phase which develops a conceptual plan for the columbarium project. CPI can accomplish this step by working directly with the Columbarium Committee or through an architect designated by the committee. The conceptual plan is based on input provided by the committee, and includes:

Concept Phase:

  • A specific recommendation on where to locate the columbarium
  • The number and configuration of niches
  • Design features to make the columbarium consistent with existing site architecture
  • Landscape design
  • An architectural drawing of the proposed columbarium
  • A preliminary cost estimate based on the concept plan

Upon finalization and the client's approval of the conceptual plan, CPI can proceed with the construction phase by implementing the project, or turn the project over to a construction contractor retained by the committee. In either case, moving ahead with construction requires:

Construction Phase:

  • Completion of detailed construction plans and blueprints
  • Precise description of construction materials, fixtures, niche components, etc.
  • Obtaining appropriate permits
  • Finalizing arrangements with contractors and suppliers
  • Ongoing project supervision.

(For more information or to arrange a no-cost columbarium planning consultation for your church, please contact