Should you renovate your Knoxville business or construct a new building?

    Seven ways new construction can benefit your business

    In an earlier blog we examined some of the benefits and challenges of renovating a new office building or retail location in the Knoxville area.

    While there are advantages to renovating an existing structure to accommodate company growth, there are a lot of variables to take into consideration. These include disruption to your business, challenges bringing old buildings up to current code, and the future economic vitality of your current neighborhood or part of town. Our design-build construction services and preconstruction planning will help guide you through these challenges from the get-go if you decide to go this route.

    There are clear advantages to new construction, however, and we can put our design-build construction expertise to work for you on this front, too.

    Benefits of starting from scratch and building a new office, clinic, restaurant or retail space include:

    1. Relocation: An opportunity to move your business to a more robust part of town.
    2. Utility savings: Increased energy efficiency and utility savings can be realized with modern building materials and new windows.
    3. Functionality: If you aren’t happy with your current facility’s layout, flow or design, starting fresh offers you the chance to create a space that’s right for your business.
    4. Tech integration: Modern wiring and integrated technological systems such as security and digital cabling or conduits are easier to install in new construction.
    5. Better parking: Revamping your parking lot to better accommodate employees and customers.
    6. New infrastructure: Less maintenance and extended warranties on new building features such as HVAC systems.
    7. Less risk: Fewer concerns about the discovery or release of hazardous materials such as asbestos that may be present and disturbed by renovation of an existing structure.

    Ultimately, you make the decisions and call the shots. Our construction professionals and design partners can help you with a cost-benefit analysis to help determine whether renovation or new construction is right for you. Once you decide, our design-build construction experts will be with you every step of the way to help grow and expand your business from the top down or bottom up.

    Contact Leon Williams today to get started on this exciting new phase of your East Tennessee business.

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    5 ways Leon Williams Contractors can make your medical clinic patient-centered

    5 ways Leon Williams Contractors can make your medical clinic patient-centered

    Our design-build process leads to health facilities that soothe and cure

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    Even in relatively benign settings, health care consumers can be frightened and homesick. Leon Williams Contractors can make sure your clinic renovation or construction is patient-centered and puts them at ease. Design, colors and flow plans are all important aspects of healthcare facility design.

    Here are some things to keep in mind as we lead your design-build process for Knoxville-area medical facilities.

    1. Facetime is key. All health care facilities should be designed in such a way that doctors, patients, advocates and family members can interact in a comfortable setting. This can ease anxiety and empower patients to participate in their health care outcomes.
    2. Streamline spaces. We can help ensure your medical facility — ranging from eye clinics to dental clinics and primary-care offices — has ample storage to reduce clutter. Square footage is at a premium, so it’s important to accommodate space for medical devices and equipment. Streamlining your space puts patients even more at ease. Medical equipment should have a home to avoid being a distraction or cluttering up free space.
    3. Make it personal. Generic, clinical and antiseptic medical spaces can increase stress. Allow patients and family members to personalize their space with ample room for books, clothes, personal effects and ports for tablets and smartphones. Consider speakers so patients can stream their favorite music while waiting for or undergoing a procedure.
    4. Bring family together. Make sure waiting rooms have ample space for families, and consider offering a portioned space for private discussion. Make a space for water coffee and snacks.
    5. Colors count. Choose hues with care. You don’t want a patient facing a stark or overly bright wall. Facilities that cater to children should offer more varied and brighter colors. Various shades of blue can be calming. Artwork can also add great accents, but choose accordingly for the context.

    If you are a healthcare provider, your primary concern should be providing your patients the highest level of care. Our health facility design-build process can help guide you to the perfect ambiance and environment for doing so. Contact us for more information.

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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

    Restaurant-design-trends-Leon-Williams-Contractors

    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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    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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