Eight ways we use tech to keep your design-build project on time, under budget

    Construction management software adds vast efficiencies

    Modern construction sites are home to ever-evolving technology to keep projects on time and under budget.

    Construction-technology-Leon-Williams-Contractors

    There are drones, heads-up displays and smartphones that can be used to record progress or problems. At LWC, we use various types of technology to make sure our design-build projects proceed smoothly for you, be it a church, restaurant or retail project.

    One of the most effective pieces of technology used at Leon Williams Contractors to ensure your design-build project proceeds with ease is construction management software. Such software can help owners, project managers and superintendents track and monitor construction progress on any site.

    Here are ways we put the software to use for you to ensure your East Tennessee design-build project is well managed and delivered on time:

    1. Superintendents can save time with automated reporting features. This replaces old-fashioned paperwork, and means our clients and customers save money.
    2. Photos and videos can be directly uploaded to a project report, detailing any safety issues, weather delays or inventory issues.
    3. Site workers can be warned in real-time about approaching hazardous weather that may delay the project or pose a safety threat.
    4. Subcontractor activity and obligations can be tracked via a daily reporting feature.
    5. Safety protocols can be closely tracked to ensure adherence.
    6. Superintendents, owners and contractors can view job site progress remotely.
    7. Daily reports can be professionally collated and shared with all necessary parties.
    8. Requests for information and submittals can be tracked and send out automatic reminders to prevent missing answers and falling behind schedule.

    Construction field management software is just one way we deliver the most economical, effective and flawless design-build projects in East Tennessee and beyond. Contact Leon Williams Contractors today for all your design-build needs.

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    Leon Williams Contractors to Renovate Cafeteria for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

    Maryville, Tennessee-based commercial design-build firm to overhaul Crossroads Dining Hall

    MARYVILLE, Tennessee. – April 24, 2018 – Leon Williams Contractors, a Maryville-based commercial design-build firm, has been hired to renovate the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s (UTC) main student cafeteria, UTC Crossroads Dining Hall.

    Everything, except the restrooms, in the roughly 13,000-square-foot dining hall will undergo a complete renovation. All the furniture, food stations and fixtures will be replaced, and new features will be added to the dining experience, including a Mongolian grill concept and a sushi machine.

    “Crossroads is the main dining hall on campus, so it’s important for our student-life experience to have a place where students enjoy eating,” said Tyler Forrest, associate vice chancellor for budget and finance. “This renovation will help us expand what Crossroads offers while also providing a pleasant setting for students and teachers alike.”

    Leon Williams Contractors, which has worked with UTC Dining on 13 previous projects, will begin work on Crossroads Dining Hall in May.

    “We are grateful to be asked to renovate this space, which we were asked to build in 2011,” said Jimmy Hawkins, president of Leon Williams Contractors. “We’re blessed that UTC Dining believed in our work so much that they want us to undertake another project for this dining hall.”

    The company expects to complete the renovation in August, before the fall 2018 semester begins.

    “In addition to the new dining options and interior makeover, there will be a new kitchen exhaust system and we’ll be adding more windows to bring more natural light into the dining room area,” Hawkins said. “Students who are attending UTC in fall 2018 will be able to dine at what will essentially be a completely new Crossroads Dining Hall.”

    About Leon Williams Contractors

    An experienced commercial design-build firm, Leon Williams Contractors simplifies the building process by effectively managing costs, adhering to deadlines and reducing complications to provide a seamless building experience. As a value-engineering expert, Leon Williams Contractors offers a complete range of services including pre-construction consultation, site assessment, design-build expertise and construction management in the greater Knoxville, Tenn. area.

    For more information, visit www.lwcontractorstn.com or call 865-982-1734.

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    MEDIA CONTACT:
    Heather Ripley
    Ripley PR
    865-977-1973
    hripley@ripleypr.com

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    UT and UTC contracts a tasty testament to Leon Williams’ understanding of the college dining scene

    The college lunch lady is long gone, but students are eating better than ever

    Long-gone are the days of the college-level lunch lady, passing out portions on a cafeteria plate.
    Forget the meat-and-threes and fish Fridays on college campuses. College students today want choices, choices and more choices. And they love their tried-and-true brands like Chick-Fil-A, Starbucks and Einstein Bros. Bagels. We have built those and more – Subway, Pizza Hut, and Dunkin’ Donuts among them – on the University of Tennessee at Knoxville campus.

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    Our design-build firm has also built numerous restaurants on the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga campus and are commencing a project that will bring a Dippers, Einstein Bros. Bagels and a Provisions on Demand (P.O.D.) convenience store to a new dormitory complex.

    We know what Vols and Mocs want, and we know how to build their favorite franchises. We also keep on top of campus dining trends to make sure we are ready to roll with any new concepts or opportunities that might come our way.

    Here are five things to consider about college campus dining these days:

    1. Options. Prospective students will take available food and dining options into account when deciding on a college. Thus the drive to transform and improve campus food options across the country.

    2. Customization. Food allergies are on the rise and college kids want to customize their orders because of health or dietary concerns, explaining the lure of pizza places and sandwich shops with customizable options.

    3. Demand. Food services directors take feedback seriously, and their restaurant selections will reflect demand. That may explain the meteoric rise of franchises like Starbucks and fast-food restaurants.

    4. Grab and go. College life can be demanding and hectic, and students avoiding fast food still want to pop in and out of a place with a banana and juice or a coffee and muffin. Premade food options are in demand, and explain the prevalence of convenience-type stores like Provisions on Demand.

    5. Cost. Traditional meal plans at colleges cost thousands of dollars a year, offering limited hours and heavy and hearty choices. College students these days want to set their own budgets and want access to lighter fare. Why wade through a cafeteria line when all you want is a bagel or simple sandwich?

    Of course, trends come and go, but it’s likely the dining options we provide on campuses will be in demand for quite some time. We’ll be listening and keeping up with the food trends, and likely won’t rue the loss of the lunch line, and lunch lady, anytime soon.

    See a sampling of our college dining work here, and contact us for more information on our campus design-build solutions.

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    Leon Williams Contractors Helps Bring New Foothills Church to Life in Time for Easter

    Foothills Church built by Leon Williams Contractors

    Maryville, Tennessee-based commercial design-build firm finishes brand new 33,000 square foot Foothills Church building

    MARYVILLE, Tenn. – March 27, 2018 – Leon Williams Contractors, a Maryville-based commercial design-build firm, has completed construction of the new 33,000 square foot Foothills Church building in Maryville.

    Foothills Church (FC) started in 2009 in a local school before moving into a former arcade and entertainment center in 2011. The new space, which will be, by attendance, Blount County’s largest church, will serve as an auditorium and creative space for the congregation’s Sunday services.

    “It’s amazing to see what God has done at FC,” said Dr. Trent Stewart, pastor at Foothills Church. “We want people to know that FC is a place they can find hope and purpose. Our message to this city is simple: You Belong Here.”

    Leon Williams Contractors has been involved with Foothills Church since it purchased a building formerly known as Thunderworld, helping FC transform the facility into an elegant space for children, families, and worship. Constructing a church with such a large capacity and with advanced technology meant that special considerations had to be made.

    “There are a lot of moving parts on such a large project, and several teams have to work together to make it a reality,” said Jimmy Hawkins, president of Leon Williams Contractors. “The entire audio, video and lighting setup is state of the art, and we had to work with Foothill’s Church’s audio/video consultant to ensure that the piping and conduit placement were considered during every step of the building process. We also had to ensure the sound equipment had clean power via isolation transformers so no interfering frequencies would disrupt the technology or those involved in a service. The final product of that teamwork really speaks for itself. When you walk into the auditorium, it’s impressive.”

    To help with the flow of traffic, and since the church was limited to one point of ingress and egress, Leon Williams Contractors also included a traffic circle in the parking lot.

    “One of the things you have to keep in mind when building a church with a large congregation is the flood of people that come in and out every Sunday,” Hawkins said. “It’s not like a restaurant where there is steady traffic in and out. Instead, you’ve got a couple hundred cars moving in and out almost all at once. The roundabout will help traffic flow with as little congestion as possible and gives them flexibility with traffic patterns.”

    The building that was previously used for services will be turned into space for students, children, and the church’s preschool ministry called Launchpad.

    Foothills Church will have their open house on April 1, Easter Sunday. Those interested in attending Foothills Church’s Easter service can attend the 9 a.m. or 11 a.m. service. More information can be found on the church’s website, foothillschurch.com.

    “We’ve been blessed to see people find meaning in life and connect to God in a deeper way,” Stewart said. “We wanted to accommodate our growth, but also open up empty seats for people who aren’t here yet. This new building is really for them and our city, and we look forward to its completion this Sunday.”

    About Leon Williams Contractors

    An experienced commercial design-build firm, Leon Williams Contractors simplifies the building process by effectively managing costs, adhering to deadlines and reducing complications to provide a seamless building experience. As a value-engineering expert, Leon Williams Contractors offers a complete range of services including pre-construction consultation, site assessment, design-build expertise and construction management in the greater Knoxville, Tenn. area.

    For more information, visit www.lwcontractorstn.com or call 865-982-1734.

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    Leon Williams Contractors will help answer the call to expand your church

    We are putting the final touches on what will be, by seat count, Blount County’s largest church. The planned grand opening of the new 33,000-square foot facility at Foothills Church is set, appropriately, for the Easter season. The previous location will serve as classrooms and a learning center for children.

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    The church has had a number of rebirths, and we’ve been there along the way. It started in a school, then moved into a former arcade and entertainment center. Each time, church leaders felt the call to expand. The need for a larger facility was obvious and quantifiable; three services occur every Sunday.

    While church leaders often feel called to expand to accommodate their flock, there are some very down-to-earth principles to follow before embarking on a major renovation or expansion.

    As part of our process, we guide congregations throughout preconstruction planning and the design-build phase, but here are some things to consider before proceeding with a new church:

    • Develop a master plan. Don’t just think about the next step, but consider the next 30 years. Articulate a vision. Do you want to offer a family-life center? Have a commercial kitchen? Open a school? What are your anticipated square-footage needs? Having a vision for the future can justify the first step toward expansion or a whole new church.
    • Conduct a car and head count. It might seem as if you have good turnout, but numbers don’t lie. You are going to need this information when it comes time to plan a new sanctuary or auditorium. From these numbers you can project how many people are attending and how your congregation travels to your building. This can also help justify any variances or approvals needed from municipalities to allow the project to proceed.
    • Identify a feasible site. You probably don’t want to move across town, but does the proposed site accommodate the new structure or expansion, have adequate parking and landscaping and provide good egress or ingress? We designed a traffic circle for the Foothills parking lot because of one sole entry and exit point.
    • Keep infrastructure demands in mind. Many churches use a lot more power these days because of auditorium-style services, audio-visual equipment, musical performances and the sheer size of the facility. Make sure you have access to an adequate power supply. The same goes for sewage needs. Don’t plan on too many bells and whistles if you want to open a large church in the country.

    We have built and renovated churches throughout East Tennessee. If you feel the calling to expand, contact us and we can help every step of the way.

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    Leon Williams Contractors can handle site selection and accompanying challenges

    We can navigate the complications and variables of where to locate your business

    Dairy Queen - Maryville Tennessee - Leon Williams Contractors

    When it comes time to choosing a site for your East Tennessee or Knoxville-area restaurant, retail shop, clinic or church, we are sure you are aware of the “three Ls:” Location, location, location.

    While this is a prime and obvious consideration for virtually any new commercial construction, there are other things to take into consideration before committing to a project location, including building size, visibility, taxes, site access and parking.

    Leon Williams Contractors’ preplanning and consultation services and design-build approach can limit the headaches involved for business owners wanting to construct a new business or expand an existing one. Here are five things we keep in mind.

    1. Building size: Is the site large enough to accommodate your building? It could appear so, but you must take into account other needs, including parking, storm water detention, required setbacks, buffers, signage, and other features such as a deck or patio.
    2. Visibility: This is obviously a function of location, but is not necessarily based on how much vehicular traffic passes by the site. Pedestrian traffic is a factor, too. There are location analyses available, but one surprising rule of thumb is to locate near competitors. This means there’s an established pattern of people coming to the area for a similar service.
    3. Soil and Environmental: Many sites may appear to be a great spot for your new business, but what is not as evident is what could be underground. Sites can have environmental issues that may require remediation such as contaminants in the soil or hazardous materials in existing buildings. Other concealed concerns with sites can be soils that are unsuitable for typical foundations, sink holes, and bedrock.
    4. Site access: Just because a business is sited next to a busy roadway doesn’t mean automatic big paydays. If ingress or egress to your location is difficult, that could sink sales quickly. Avoid complicated intersections or sites from where it’s difficult to make a left turn or otherwise enter the roadway. Depending on the road classification, proximity to intersections, and other governing requirements, the number of access points may be limited. Limited access can cause problems with deliveries, drive-thru queuing, and general circulation on the site.
    5. Parking: Many municipalities have formulas of varying complexity determining how much parking must be provided for various types of businesses or services (for instance, one parking spot per 200 square feet of retail building). There are also ADA requirements to keep in mind for handicapped parking, and some local governments even require landscaped medians and a set number of trees. The rules can get even more complicated if municipalities govern or limit the extent of impervious surfaces.

    Building and opening a new office or shop entails much more than hanging a shingle and opening your doors. Site selection is but one step in the complicated journey toward planning and opening a new business. Our construction preplanning services and design-build approach can streamline the process so you can get on with the business of raising your profile and running your business.

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    Leon Williams Contractors Tapped to Build Out New Dining Spaces for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
    LeonWilliamsContMaryville, Tennessee-based commercial design-build firm hired to create three new dining spaces for the new West Campus Housing building at UTC

    MARYVILLE, Tenn. – Jan. 26, 2018 – Leon Williams Contractors, a Maryville-based commercial design-build firm, has been contracted out to help build three new dining options for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s new West Campus Housing, including an Einstein Bros.® Bagels, Dippers and a Provisions on Demand (P.O.D.) quick-serve store.

    “The new West Campus building allows for a more traditional-style housing to foster a feeling of community,” said Dr. Dee Dee Anderson, interim vice chancellor for student development. “These new brand offerings will be a terrific addition for the students who live in the building, and for our campus as a whole.”

    The dining spaces Leon Williams will build out take up roughly 6,500 square feet of the 231,000 square foot building and offers some unique challenges.

    “This project is somewhat unique in that we are completing a project inside a project,” said Jimmy Hawkins, president of Leon Williams Contractors. “We are working alongside the contractor building the main building to complete the interior dining area which means there is additional coordination to connect our systems to theirs and keep the systems from conflicting with each other. Another challenge is that all of the plumbing underneath the dining space will run through a parking garage, which requires additional work to ensure that all piping is insulated and heated in order for them to flow properly.”

    This marks the 13th project Leon Williams has done with UTC, and construction is set to begin in early February. The dining spaces and the new West Campus Housing building will be open to students for the 2018 fall semester.

    About Leon Williams Contractors
    An experienced commercial design-build firm, Leon Williams Contractors simplifies the building process by effectively managing costs, adhering to deadlines and reducing complications to provide a seamless building experience. As a value-engineering expert, Leon Williams Contractors offers a complete range of services including pre-construction consultation, site assessment, design-build expertise and construction management in the greater Knoxville, Tenn. area.

    For more information, visit www.lwcontractorstn.com or call 865-982-1734.

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    MEDIA CONTACT:
    Heather Ripley
    Ripley PR
    865-977-1973
    hripley@ripleypr.com

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    Leon Williams Contractors’ design-build experience positions us well for the future

    Here are five construction trends to look for in 2018

    Efficiency is more than a buzzword to us. Our design-build model vastly streamlines the construction process in multiple East Tennessee construction sectors, including church, retail, restaurant and medical construction.

    2018-trends-construction-Leon-Williams-Contractors

    It seems the entire construction market is catching on to the need to streamline projects from the design to building phases. Efficiency – from preconstruction to modular construction – is top of mind in many predictions of top 2018 construction trends.

    Here are five trends to look for in the construction sector in 2018:

    1. Growth rates will vary by sector, but overall nonresidential construction, which we specialize in, will grow about 3 percent in 2018. That growth could be higher or lower, of course, depending on everything from the final structure of federal tax reform to whether long-awaited infrastructure spending will materialize on the local, state and federal fronts. Interest rates remain low, and if corporate tax cuts proceed, that could arguably inject more capital into the economy.
    2. Increasing costs of supplies and labor will prompt construction companies to further identify cost-saving measures. Our economical design-build and value-engineering model is ahead of the curve, and look for more companies to adopt this approach. We already have years of experience with this method, and we cut costs, not corners.
    3. Technology will continue to drive and enhance our design-build process. From project management reports via smart phones to 3-D design methods and active use of social media, we will stay on top of these tech trends to better communicate and plan your project from beginning to end. That’s yet another hallmark of our proven design-build process in East Tennessee.
    4. Technology will also continue to drive safety improvements. As the construction market roared back to life in recent years following the Great Recession, injuries and fatalities at construction sites increased, too. We follow strict protocols at every job site to ensure our employees and site workers are working as wisely and safely as possible.
    5. Look for more state and federal programs to teach construction fundamentals to younger generations to address a labor crunch in the construction market. In Tennessee, that includes Tennessee Promise, a scholarship program geared toward getting more adults a secondary education, including vocational training.

    The prognosticators may not be perfect, but one thing is clear as we head into 2018: It’s going to be another great year for our design-build construction company in Maryville, Knoxville and elsewhere in East Tennessee. Contact us today  for more information.

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    Leon Williams reflects on East Tennessee design-build highlights of 2017

    From Dairy Queen to Which Wich, it was another great year

    2017-year-in-review-Leon-Williams-Contractors

    Thanks to a fantastic crew and clients, it was another great year at Leon Williams Contractors LLC!

    We worked on campuses, in shopping centers and in cities across East Tennessee. We put our design-build talents to work on restaurants and retail, and have a raft of projects to focus on in the coming year. We will continue to aspire to being the best design-build firm for our customers in the retail, franchise, worship and restaurant sectors.

    As we look forward to 2018, let’s pause for a quick look back at some of our most notable achievements of 2017.

    • We rang in the new year with the finishing touches on a new Dairy Queen Grill and Chill on West Broadway in Maryville, bringing the iconic burger and ice-cream destination back to Blount County. The project, built from the ground up, was contracted by Fourteen Foods, the leading franchisor of Dairy Queen restaurants.
    • We partnered with Studio Four Design to construct two new Which Wich Superior Sandwiches restaurants, one in Alcoa and one in Fountain City. We worked with franchisee Jeff Hensley to bring the unique restaurant to Alcoa, and it opened its doors in April. The Fountain City location, also operated by Jeff Hensley, has been serving patrons since June.
    • We built the new Sleep Outfitters, a division of Innovative Sleep Solutions, on Foch Street in Maryville. This brings a range of mattress brands and top sleep specialists to Blount County consumers. Check out a time-lapse video of the store construction
    • We designed and built three new food-service options for students, staff and the public at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. We were contracted to build a new Panda Express, a Steak ‘N Shake and a Provisions on Demand, a new concept in campus food services.
    • We also remodeled the Thompson-Boling Arena dining area. Food options at Thompson-Boling now include Which Wich, Bento Sushi, Grab n Go salads and sandwiches and the Southern Kitchen hot bar. This was the 22nd project we have done for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
    • We were still grading the site and finalizing building plans at the end of last year, but we were able to bring Foothills Church in Maryville out of the ground this year and are excited for its completion in 2018.

    We owe yet another year of success to the dedication of our partners, clients and employees, and we wish you and your family a prosperous New Year. Contact us today for information on how we can help you meet your design-build needs in 2018.

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    Leon Williams Contractors stands up to weather

    We have ways to avoid common construction delays

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    As sure as the sun will rise, weather is a No. 1 schedule-killer in the construction industry.

    Utilizing the services of a design-build firm can certainly help bank project time on the front end. Our preconstruction planning and careful client consultation allows us to commence work quickly, order materials up front and plan ahead for any expected delays because of inclement weather in Knoxville or elsewhere in East Tennessee.

    But then there’s the weather, and there’s not much anyone can do about it. However there are some processes in place that can limit the weather delays that commonly prevent construction projects from coming in on time and on budget. Here are some ways we ensure that weather delays are kept at a minimum on our projects, saving our client’s money and getting the job done on time:

    1. Understand the climate. There is a difference between climate and weather, yes, but weather trends help dictate climate. In East Tennessee, fall is typically the driest season of the year. This provides a good window for work such as grading and site preparation, but comes just ahead of the coldest time of year.
    2. Schedule wisely. March is known as a windy month, so it doesn’t always make sense to schedule projects such as roofing or framing during that period. Winter, which can be cold and rainy in East Tennessee, might be a good time for interior work if the building under construction is sufficiently sealed against the elements.
    3. Protect employees. In the summer, work days can start early, especially during the peak hot-weather months. Daily high temperatures typically occur around 3 or 4 p.m., so it’s wise to get workers off the site by then. This will avoid heat-related injuries that could set projects back even more if you have to replace stricken employees.
    4. Make hay while the sun shines. As the old saying suggests, it makes sense to accelerate work when conditions are most favorable or poor weather is on the horizon.
    5. Site preparation. It’s good practice to make sure a period of heavy rain won’t wash out erosion- control measures, flood the site or damage project roadways or walkways. This means keeping an eye on the weather and taking appropriate precautions ahead of time. Having to repair storm damage to a site only makes a weather delay all the longer.

     

    Be it heat, cold, sleet, snow or rain, we’ll finish your design-build project as quickly as possible, regardless of what Mother Nature has to say.

     

    Contact us today for more information on our design-build services in Knoxville, Maryville and throughout East Tennessee.

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