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Business owners: Should you remodel or rebuild?

Six considerations when determining the best course of action for your growing business

So your office or retail space is getting a little old, or maybe you’ve added more employees and need more space. At any rate, a need to expand your office or shop is generally a good thing. But deciding whether to renovate or build a new space from scratch can be a tough call.

Leon Williams Contractors can do the job regardless of your decision and can even help you decide whether to remodel or erect a brand new structure. In this and upcoming blog posts, we’ll share our East Tennessee design-build expertise in weighing the pros and cons of each option.

Here are six considerations if you are leaning toward a renovation of your office or retail space:

  1. Cost. It can be cheaper in the short-term to remodel or expand an existing structure. What you are sacrificing, however, is the ultimate longevity of your building. A new building will last much longer.
  2. Hazards. Some bad surprises can accompany a remodeling project. If you find asbestos or other hazardous materials during remodeling, it could drastically increase the cost.
  3. Time. Renovations can generally be accomplished in less time than building a completely new structure.
  4. Significance. Does your existing building hold historical or architectural significance that can be retained with renovation or remodeling? If it does, it may be worth more than you know, and you could be abandoning an asset if you decide to construct a new building.
  5. Economic factors. What is the economic pulse of your current location? Is it on the upswing or stagnating? If you are in a booming part of town, it might benefit you to stay put and remodel your existing building. The contrary may be the case if your neighborhood is in decline.
  6. Disruptions. What is the scope of your plan? Can remodeling or renovations be done without drastic disruptions to your office functions?

Deciding between a renovation and a new building is a good problem to have. It means your business is growing. There are many variables to consider. Our design-build experts can help you decide the right course, and we’ll be with you every step of the way regardless of your decision. Contact us today about our Knoxville-area renovation services.

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Leon Williams Contractors dishes on some current restaurant design trends

Restaurant design changes as East Tennessee appetites persist

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Americans love to eat. They especially love eating at restaurants. Americans now spend more money each year dining out than they do preparing their own meals at home.

This provides a wealth of opportunities in the Knoxville area – for food suppliers, beverage companies and restaurateurs big and small. It creates opportunities for Leon Williams Contractors, too. Our restaurant design-build services have been used by franchises and for higher-end independent restaurants, too. But whether you are a franchise operator or building the private restaurant of your dreams, you need to stay on top of ever-changing American dining habits and demands. Now that 2018 is halfway done, here’s a quick look at four restaurant trends that will likely drive design-build approaches. Some may be fleeting, but some are likely here to stay.

Pickup and delivery: It can be an annoyance when circling a packed parking lot to see spots reserved for “pick-up” customers. But those customers are becoming the lifeblood of an industry eager to keep pace with burgeoning meal-delivery services. Restaurant designs will increasingly add parking and integrate more pickup stations, to serve both third-party delivery companies as well as those who want to pop in and out with a full meal to take home.

Noise reduction: Decibel readings at some restaurants actually enter the harmful range, and it’s a common complaint YOU HAVE TO YELL AT YOUR DINING COMPANIONS to engage in even sporadic conversation. Add a mediocre jazz trio, and you might as well resort to sign language or semaphore. The reasons vary, as do the solutions. In a move toward sleeker restaurants, designers have axed drapes, luxurious upholsteries and carpeting that used to absorb sound. Tile, steel and blonde wood, not so much. As the problem persists, expect restaurant design to include softer wall coverings, acoustical tile and carpets.

Local, local, local: Be it in appearance or on the menu, diners want a reflection of their local culture and cuisine in their favorite eateries. We’re not talking about country kitsch-laden walls a la Cracker Barrel. We mean more along the lines of repurposed native wood, or displays by local artists or photographers. Budding restaurateurs may consider display cases of local products offered on the menu: Think Benton’s bacon, Blackberry Farm baguettes, or local honey. People want to feel a local connection to their food.

Tabletop payment: More restaurants are going to try to more subtly incorporate those tabletop terminals into their décor. They are rather cumbersome to some diners, but many appreciate there is no need to give up their credit card to a stranger for five minutes. They can also be used to distract kids with games and leave reviews, and as a glance at any Yelp account will show, people love to leave reviews. Almost as much as they enjoy dining out.

Ultimately, you decide how you want your restaurant to sound, feel and operate. We can guide, and be guided, every step of the way. Contact Leon Williams Contractors today for the best restaurant design-build options in East Tennessee.

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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.

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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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