Five initial steps in new construction or remodeling projects

    Leon Williams Contractors will be there every step of the way

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    Congratulations, you’ve made the decision to remodel your facility or build a new home for your business. What’s next?

    In previous blog posts, we touched upon reasons why a Knoxville or East Tennessee business should remodel, expand, or construct a new base of operations. Now that you made your decision, it’s time to start planning.

    Here are five of the most important stages of the planning phase before remodeling or new construction can begin:

    1. Scope/financing: We work with you to develop a clear and concise scope of work document so you can apply for financing. You need to have solid financing in place before work begins. This is for your protection.
    2. Guidance: We will work with you and our external design team to finalize any renderings and specific building design specifications. We can make tweaks or adjustments if site constraints or issues influence design.
    3. Preconstruction consultation: Our experts and those who design our work will meet with you early in the process for preconstruction analysis. We can locate and evaluate properties and negotiate with owners. We’ll identify any potential issues with the property that may affect the project’s budget and timeline.
    4. Value engineering: We want to maximize our clients’ budgets, not just cut costs. We will look at every part of the project to see whether they make economic sense, ranging from site preparation to roof materials and utility needs.
    5. Construction: Once the construction phase begins, we will continue our value engineering and review progress and provide updates regularly on your project. We can also account for weather delays and stay on top of the budget and materials.

    You still have a ways to go before you and your employees can get settled into your new business space, but the project will be done before you know it.

    Contact Leon Williams for more information on renovating existing businesses or building a new one from scratch.

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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

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    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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    Five ways preconstruction planning saves money

    How to benefit from streamlining your next commercial construction project

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    Studies indicate a direct correlation between project preconstruction planning and ultimate cost savings.

    It makes good business sense to get all clients and contractors on board before a project commences. At Leon Williams Contractors, a leading design-build firm in East Tennessee, preconstruction consultation is offered on all our projects as part of our comprehensive business model.

    Here are five ways the preconstruction process can yield savings over the life of a project:

    1. Preconstruction establishes the scope of work and an overall budget ahead of time to ensure proper financing is in place. Our design-build model brings all stakeholders – designers, contractors and clients – to the table ahead of time to discuss goals, feasibility, timelines, materials and expectations before a project begins. This prevents expensive change orders or delays should the project begin to creep past its budget.
    2. Site evaluation. The preconstruction process can be used to communicate the need for any possible additional site work before construction begins. Unanticipated site remediation or additional excavating costs can be identified and planned for ahead of time, eliminating delays or unexpected cost overruns. Infrastructure or utility needs and challenges can also be identified ahead of time.
    3. Preconstruction planning ensures all necessary permits are identified and in place before work begins, an assurance that can prevent costly work delays and citations.
    4. The longer a project takes, the more expensive it becomes. Preconstruction meetings can allow us – and our clients – to set schedules for equipment or materials deliveries, plan around holidays and anticipate potential issues that may arise during the life of the project. This prevents work delays and scheduling snafus.
    5. Value engineering. Preconstruction planning allows us to take a wider look at the scope of a project and immediately identify potential cost savings in design, infrastructure, and electrical or plumbing plans.

     

    This is just a sampling of the ways preconstruction planning can benefit our clients and streamline projects. It’s also a reminder that we will be with you every step of the way and see your project to fruition from beginning to end.

    Contact us today to learn how our comprehensive design-build process can bring your project in on time and under budget.

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    Straight to dessert: How the design-build method can save new restaurateurs

    Dairy Queen - Maryville Tennessee - Leon Williams Contractors

    More Americans than ever are dining out, and comfort food is a big draw. People want food that harkens back to their childhood, like meat loaf, chicken and dumplings, and pot pie.

    Your grandmother made a lot of her best dinners from scratch, but she likely still found ways to cut costs and increase efficiencies without sacrificing flavor or quality.

    The same thing can be said of building a restaurant from scratch: A good design-build firm can reduce costs and add value without sacrificing the quality and draw of your new restaurant.

    The Leon Williams team has helped design and build multiple restaurants in Maryville and throughout the Knoxville area, ranging from franchise sites to original casual concepts.

    Having a single contractor that handles both the design and actual construction offers numerous – and cost-saving – benefits, so you can focus on achieving your culinary dreams.

    Here are five ways the design-build approach of the Leon Williams team can cut costs and not quality:

    1. We can leverage our resources to obtain all permits, submit site plans and receive municipal approvals while you can focus on staffing, eventual inventory and furnishings.
    2. We will work with our pre-qualified subcontractors and vendors to provide a high quality job completed on time and on budget.
    3. We can again leverage our contacts to streamline purchase orders, so you can occupy yourself with the menu instead of your restaurant’s mechanics. We can also help prospective restaurateurs with practical, cost-saving advice on elements ranging from flooring types to ceilings.
    4. The time saved using the stream-lined design-build approach means you can open your restaurant or franchise more quickly – leading to faster opening days, which ultimately means more revenue.
    5. We have vast experience in the restaurant construction realm, so we are already familiar with frequent challenges or potential pitfalls that come with building and opening a new eatery.

     

    It might seem that leaving both the design and construction in the hands of one project manager might cut you out of the loop, but according to testimonials from our customers, rest assured your concerns will be heard, your ideas will be welcome, and your dream of restaurant ownership will come true.

     

    For more information on how we can assist you with your restaurant construction, contact the team at Leon Williams Contractors today to learn how our knowledge and expertise can be used to your advantage.

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    A beginner’s guide to office renovation

    For many businesses, the idea of renovating an office space offers excitement about the possibilities that can be accomplished. From expanding an existing space to prepare for new employees to renovating a new location to meet the demands for products and services, the team at Leon Williams Contractors have worked with business owners to design and manage office renovations that have helped drive growth for our clients. Office Renovation

    A company that is looking for an office renovation partner may be beginners when it comes to planning out the extent of changes for their office designs. The design/build, pre-construction consultation and value engineering services offered by Leon Williams Contractors can help ensure success for your office renovation in Blount County, Maryville, Knoxville, Lenoir City and East Tennessee.

    Before you get started on an office renovation product, there are a number of factors that you need to keep in mind to help drive success for your renovation, including:

    Plan Ahead
    Before starting on your office renovation project, the best advice is to plan ahead for what your business is trying to accomplish. Are you designing the renovations to add staff, to offer more products and services or are you simply tired of the way that your interior looks? Planning ahead for the future of your business in one year, three years and even ten years in the future can help you determine the best plans for your office renovations. The design/build services of Leon Williams Contractors can be incorporated into your planning to help decide the best use of your office space to meet the future demands of your business.

    Assess your current property
    If your current business property is older, having the team at Leon Williams Contractors engage in a site assessment can help save you money in the long run. Your existing building may not be up to code, which will necessitate updating of your plans for your office renovation prior to the beginning of work. In addition, while using existing systems might save you money in your upfront costs during a renovation, your business may be better served by updating to new systems to lower long term operating costs in your renovated office space.

    Determine your budget
    While it may be exciting to think about all of the changes that you could implement during your office renovation, determining your budget for your office renovation can help you prevent over-extending what you want to accomplish for your business in the long term. Extensive renovations to your office space need to be prepared with your future business goals in mind, especially if you determine that growth in your business means that you move to a larger space in the future. Decide if the renovations that you are making will make your building more likely to sell if you decide to expand your business operations and incorporate value engineering services from Leon Williams Contractors to find the best use of your office renovation budget.

    When your business has determined that the time is right for an office renovation, leverage the experience and knowledge of our teams to help you prepare your business for your future needs. For more information on how we can assist you with your office renovation requirements, contact the team at Leon Williams Contractors today to learn how our knowledge and expertise can be used to your advantage.

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    Get the most out of your construction budget in 2017

    After a strong 2016 for commercial construction, the American Institute of Architects is anticipating an equally strong 2017, with forecasted growth of 5.6 percent anticipated. While national figures can often be different from the forecasts for Blount County, Knoxville, Lenoir City and Maryville, the team at Leon Williams Contractors is anticipating growth in commercial construction throughout our area this year.

    However, an anticipated rise in the commercial construction doesn’t mean that you should not maximize the opportunities related to your commercial construction budget for 2017. Commercial construction projects often run on tight schedules and even tighter budget constraints, so ensuring that you get the most out of your construction budget can help keep your projects financially responsible throughout the duration of your project.

    Some of the ways to get the most out of your commercial construction budget in 2017:

    1. Utilize Design/Build Services
    You can simplify your commercial construction building process by utilizing design/build services from Leon Williams Contractors. Used correctly, design-build services combines skill sets more effectively to make the most out of your construction budget. In addition, design/build allows you to reduce project delivery time, offer fewer changes and claims, offer continuity between designers and contractors and make the construction project run more efficiently. The benefits of working with a design/build partner like Leon Williams Contractors can help offer the most value for your construction budget in 2017.

    2. Consultation and Site Assessments
    Having access to a site assessment prior to beginning a commercial construction project can help minimize unforeseen expenses related to your project. From determining if your site is acceptable for the type of commercial project that you are creating or assessing concerns as they relate to road accessibility, including a site assessment program as a part of your commercial construction planning can help to pre-plan for potential issues before beginning commercial construction.

    3. Value Engineering
    To offer the most value for your commercial construction projects in East Tennessee, Knoxville, Blount County, Maryville and Lenoir City, the incorporation of value engineering into commercial construction planning and implementation can capitalize on your construction investment. Value engineering services from Leon Williams Contractors can deliver evaluation, construction quality and anticipated project life expectancy of your commercial construction project.

    With high growth expectations for commercial construction in 2017 in Blount County, Knoxville, Lenoir City and Maryville, finding ways to make the most of your commercial construction budget can help keep your project on time and within scope. For more information on how we can assist you, contact the team at Leon Williams Contractors today to learn about our variety of commercial construction services available.

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    Building for the future: 2017 Southeast Construction Trends

    Commercial construction has a healthy outlook for 2017, with a rise expected at a rate of 5.6 percent in 2017 after a growth of 5.8 percent in 2016. While recent changes may cause these numbers to show slight variations throughout the year, the team at Leon Williams Contractors believes that commercial construction in Blount County, Knoxville, Lenoir City and Maryville should meet or exceed expectations in the coming year.

    Commercial Construction Leon Williams Contractors Design Build Services

    At Leon Williams Contractors, our principals have been designing and building for the residential community and for the commercial needs of Knoxville and East Tennessee since 1964. For generations, Leon Williams Contractors has worked with commercial clients throughout our area on a wide variety of projects. While we have seen a number of trends in commercial construction come and go throughout the years, we believe that these predictions will be a part of construction trends in the Southeast for 2017:

    1. Importance of Design/Build

    The use of design-build services versus traditional design-bid-build services will continue to grow in 2017. Design-build services are designed to lower unit costs, improve construction and delivery speed, while also reducing unnecessary growth related to costs and schedule. With nearly 40% of non-residential design and construction being created as design-build projects, the benefits of working with design-build partner like Leon Williams Contractors can create better outcomes for your commercial construction projects in the coming year.

    2. Utilizing Site Assessments

    As commercial construction grows in 2017, understanding the importance of site assessments will be critical for businesses that are looking to grow their footprint without expanding their costs exponentially. Utilizing a site assessment program as a part of your commercial construction planning can help to identify, assess and pre-plan for potential issues prior to the construction process, allowing businesses to save time and budget overages.

    3. Jobs Growth for Skilled Construction Workers

    Anticipated growth in the commercial construction sector is a potential boon for those looking for jobs related to construction in the coming year. With construction employment rising in 39 states in the past year, opportunities are available for skilled construction workers, although the existing pool of skilled workers continues to dwindle. To help find and train more skilled construction workers to meet demand in Tennessee, the state created a program in 2016 called Go Build Tennessee to help encourage young people that are interested in the construction and contracting industries to become skilled tradesmen. The team at Leon Williams Contractors is committed to the growth of the trades in East Tennessee, Knoxville, Blount County, Maryville and Lenoir City and encourages those looking for job opportunities in our area to pursue a career in the skilled trades!

    2017 is shaping up to be a busy year for the commercial construction industry in our area, so if you are looking for assistance with commercial construction or design build services in Blount County, Knoxville, Lenoir City or Maryville, contact the team at Leon Williams Contractors for more information about our services.

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    Is your business expanding? The pros and cons of building for growth

    The team at Leon Williams Contractors, LLC, offers complete general contractor services, including a full range of construction services, pre-construction consultation and site assessment, construction management, value engineering, and construction management. Regardless of the size and scope of the project, the team at Leon Williams Contractors delivers outstanding, on-time and on-budget results and can assist your business when it comes time for building for growth of your business. 

    As many businesses are looking to expand their operations to meet the demands of their customers, one question that we often discuss with clients is understanding the pros and cons of building a new space for expected expansion versus expanding the build of an existing location to meet anticipated needs. This question can also be considered for worship centers as well; a recent project that our teams worked on for Foothills Church shows the importance of determining the best choices for expansion for your organization.

    Building for Growth with Leon Williams Contractors
    Understanding Expansion Planning with existing locations
    Regardless of the business that you are in, expansion of your reach is a process that will involve a large number of moving parts before you make the move to expand. From a practical standpoint, taking stock of your current building location to see if you have additional space to grow should be one of the first steps in the process of expansion. 

    For industrial and manufacturing clients, engaging with a design/build firm to determine if your existing space will support an expansion of your current footprint can offer excellent insight in the creation of an expansion plan with the resources that you have in place. Retail and restaurant clients may have specific restrictions in their existing space, which may necessitate a move to a new, larger location that would help your business expand your retail or dining space to better serve a larger volume of customers at this new location. 

    Building for Growth
    No matter the type of business that you are looking to expand, planning for growth should include planning for the future of your business. From a strategic standpoint, while you may be thinking about this next step of expansion, consider what the next step will be after this step. If your business continues to grow, ask yourself how you would want to proceed when you decide to grow your business again.

    Having a partner like Leon Williams Contractors, LLC, will allow you to use our design/build, pre-construction consultation and site assessment, as well as our value engineering services, to not only plan your initial expansion, but to determine the best ways to help your business grow to meet the demands of your clients over time.

    To learn more about Leon Williams Contractors and how we can provide the services to help your business expand on a schedule that makes sense for your individual business needs, please contact us today to find out how we can assist you with your next project.

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    Retail Construction Trends

    The team at Leon Williams Contractors, LLC, offers complete general contractor services, including a full range of construction services, pre-construction consultation and site assessment, construction management, value engineering, and construction management. One of the key client areas for Leon Williams Contractors, LLC, is our Retail Construction Services, where we have worked to create memorable retail space designs for a variety of clients. As we continue to expand our commercial and retail construction design/build services, we have noticed retail construction trends for the industry that can be used to help deliver outstanding customer experiences for our retail clients. While some of the latest trends in retail and commercial construction may not apply to all businesses, keeping these ideas in mind can differentiate your retail space when it comes to time to build. Retail Construction Trends

    Latest Trends

    Environmentally Friendly and Sustainable:

    Utilizing opportunities for environmentally friendly and easily sustainable retail space is becoming increasingly important for not only retail customers, but for the owners of new retail and commercial construction. From the addition of open-air retail spaces, designed to promote less use for air-conditioning for more natural airflow, to the use of high-efficiency lighting to reduce electricity use and the incorporation of other types of sustainable products, being able to create an environmentally friendly retail space can pay dividends for retail customers and the owners themselves.

    Location:

    The old adage of “location, location, location” is still a very important consideration for retail companies, but more often, being able to take advantage of existing locations can offer outstanding results for retail clients. If your retail location space has unique attributes, take advantage of the natural aesthetics available with a design/build process that incorporates these into your retail design. If your retail site location is closer to an urban area or positioned more in the suburbs, finding a way to take the surrounding space and make it more appealing to potential customers can help drive long term retail growth.

    Technology is key:

    The use of technology in the retail construction process has allowed construction teams and retail construction clients to better visualize the entire process, leading to quicker delivery times for retail construction companies and less time lost to changes during the process. Incorporating 3D scanning technology to offer virtual walkthroughs of retail space, incredibly realistic renderings of retail spaces and even 3D printing of scale physical models of the retail construction space offers levels of realism that could not be achieved with traditional floor plans and elevations. Additionally, for the build out phases of the retail construction process, determining retail client’s needs for actual technology that will be used in the retail location can also help minimize completion delays related to the retail project.

    Leon Williams, LLC has worked with East Tennessee clients on a wide range of retail and commercial construction projects, including banks, medical facilities, commercial offices, residential projects, restaurants, and retail locations. To learn more about the advantages that Leon Williams Contractors, LLC can offer your retail or commercial construction project, please contact us today to learn how we can assist you with your next retail building project, general construction requirements, pre-construction consultation/site assessment and value engineering to drive greater value and utilize the latest retail construction trends for your retail and commercial needs.

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    How Do White Roofs Cut Energy Costs in Commercial Buildings?

    As energy costs continue to rise, and as companies become more environmentally conscious, we’re seeing an increasing trend toward green building in the commercial construction industry.

    At Leon Williams Contractors, we want to make sure we’re knowledgeable about easy, affordable ways to build in an eco-friendly manner, for our East Tennessee clients who may want to make use of those techniques.

    One way more companies are incorporating “green” elements into their buildings is through the use of color. That doesn’t mean actually painting the entire building in shades of green. Rather, it means that you choose colors for elements of a building, especially on the roof, that will cut down on energy costs. And it may surprise you to learn that while dark roofs are still the dominant choice in residential and commercial building, it’s actually better to choose a light-colored roof.

    Think of it this way: Let’s say you were attending an outdoor business function on a hot, sunny day, and you were required to wear a long-sleeved, button down shirt – but could choose the color of that shirt. Would your instinct be to think that a lighter color or a darker color would keep you more comfortable? A light colored shirt would reflect sunlight away from you, keeping you cooler.

    Likewise, a light colored roofing material, sometimes called a “white” or “cool” roof, reflects sunlight away from a building, lowering the temperature of the roof itself, cutting indoor energy use by as much as 20 percent, and even cutting carbon dioxide emissions. In fact, a study found that if cities used reflective roofing on all their buildings, it would offset the emissions put out by all the cars in the world, for the next 18 years.

    Many developers and architects still choose dark roofs for aesthetic purposes, but as you can see, the benefits of choosing a white roof are worthwhile. If you’re interested in incorporating a light-colored roof in your next commercial construction project, contact Leon Williams Contractors today to find out how we can do that for you.

     

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