Five ways preconstruction planning saves money

    How to benefit from streamlining your next commercial construction project


    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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    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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    Go Build Tennessee Program

    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. As a Tennessee based contractor and construction firm, we are well aware that our state depends on the skilled tradesmen that call our area home and we are extremely excited about the new opportunity related to a state initiative, Go Build Tennessee.

    This new program is designed to encourage young people to become interested in the construction and contracting industry to help drive growth in the state of Tennessee for skilled tradesmen. According to the GoBuildTennessee website, the following statistics offer detailed information about the current state of Tennessee’s trade industries: Go Build Tennessee Leon Williams

    Tennessee’s Construction Industry is getting older and the talent pool is growing smaller:

    Thousands of men and women leave the trades every year, and there aren’t enough young workers to replace them. For Tennessee to continue to prosper, we have to start from the ground up.

    The average age of a construction tradesman today is 50 years old.

    For every five people who leave the trades, only one replacement is supplied by apprenticeship programs.

    New Workers are needed in Tennessee to maintain the growth of the construction industry:

    6.6 million Americans are employed by a construction trade annually.

    The construction industry is projected to grow by 22% through 2022.

    Students interested in the trades don’t need a four year degree to make a great living:

    Thousands of new jobs open up every year, and with training programs throughout the state, you can start earning a competitive salary with increasing benefits right away without worrying about student loans.

    It will take 39% of college graduates 10+ years to pay off their student loans.

    87% of apprentices find jobs when they’re finished.

    Qualified skilled tradesmen make an average of $50,000 annually.

    Commercial construction tradesmen are paid on average 33% more per week than the rest of Americans.

    Two and Four year degrees do offer opportunities:

    While you don’t need a degree to get started in the trades, having a two year or four year degree does offer some advantages.

    For those students who may want to further their careers and may be interested in architecture, the requirements include a four year degree and to pass the Architect Registration Examination.

    Individuals who have an associates or bachelor’s degree can make more money in the long run.

    Workers with college degrees generally have lower unemployment rates and earn more money than those with a high school diploma.

    Leon Williams Contractors 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. Our team is committed to the growth of the trades in Tennessee and are looking for students who are interested in learning more about the opportunities that the Go Build Tennessee project will mean for our state.

    To learn more about Leon Williams Contractors, the projects that we work on in Tennessee and the services that we provide, please contact us today to learn how we can assist you with your next project.

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    Maryville Dog Park at Pistol Creek

    Recently the team at Leon Williams Contractors team was a part of the team that created the new Maryville Dog Park at Pistol Creek.

    The Location:

    Located in Maryville, Leon Williams worked as a part of a joint effort between the city of Maryville, the Maryville-Alcoa-Blount County Parks and Recreation Commission and community leadership in Blount County.

    The Specifications:

    The Maryville Dog Park at Pistol Creek is located adjacent to the McCammon Avenue and McGhee Street greenbelt entrance in Maryville. Open from dawn to dusk, the area includes one acre for large dogs and a separate half-acre for smaller dogs.

    The spaces in the Maryville Dog Park are fenced and feature entry corrals that are double-gated, which allows dogs to be taken off leashes before entering the park. Also included within the space are a pavilion, benches, animal waste stations and water fountains exclusively for dogs.

    The Results:

    In an interview with the Daily Times, Jordan Blankenship, supervisor and project and construction manager at Leon Williams Contractors, said the project took about two-and-a-half months and the biggest challenge was the weather. The park was made possible by a grant from Radio Systems Corporation and was offered through the Legacy Parks Foundation.

    “We enjoyed working with the city and with PetSafe,” said Jimmy Hawkins, president of Leon Williams Contractors. “We’re excited any time we’re able to help the community and provide a beautiful space for our city. The park certainly couldn’t have opened at a better time.”

    For more information about the Maryville Dog Park at Pistol Creek, including rules of use, visit or call 865-983-9244.

    As a proud member of the Blount County community, Leon Williams has worked with 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 can offer your retail or commercial construction project, please contact us today. We can assist you to drive greater value for your retail and commercial construction needs.

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    Maryville Construction Update: 321 Plaza

    Maryville Construction - HWY 321 Plaza Addition - Built by Leon Williams Contractors

    The Leon Williams Contractors team recently completed work on a new office space location at 321 Plaza in Maryville, Tennessee.

    The Location:

    Located at 1776 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway in Maryville, Leon Williams Contractors worked with Andes Group Tennessee to create a new office and retail space in Blount County.

    The Specifications:

    The client request was to seamlessly match the new 2,736 square feet addition with the existing structure, however the property was not rectangular and multiple city ordinances required a unique approach to ensure harmony between the two structures.

    The Results:

    To meet the city’s requirements, the Leon Williams team stepped the addition back. This approach created architectural character for the building while still allowing for a seamless, single-building look.

    Maryville Construction - HWY 321 Plaza - Before Shot - Leon Williams Contractors

    HWY 321 Plaza before the Leon Williams addition.

    Maryville Construction - HWY 321 Plaza - After - Leon Williams Contractors

    HWY 321 Plaza after the Leon Williams addition.

    In an interview with The Daily Times, Hal Brown, a representative of Andes Group Tennessee, remarked that “The new building requirements would not allow us to build anything even closely resembling what was already there. It was a challenge to put an addition on an old building and make it look like it was one building, built all together, and I think we achieved that.”

    In regards to working with Leon Williams Contractors, Mr. Brown stated “I know this is probably a small project for them, just a blip on the map of what they can do, but even so they put your concerns and your project at the forefront. They made me feel like this was the only project they had and that all their assets were just direct toward my project. You would have thought I was building a mall, or the Taj Mahal.”

    Leon Williams, LLC has worked with 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. We can assist you to drive greater value for your retail and commercial construction needs.

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    3 Common Mistakes to Avoid With a Commercial Project

    Commercial construction projects are complex. Between managing vendors, subcontractors, finances, timelines and any issues that could arise, there are a multitude of responsibilities to keep track of with very little room for error. At Leon Williams Contractors, we streamline this process by assembling an informed team of architects, builders, consultants, suppliers and subcontractors that know every element of the design, budget and timeline. But, still, it’s hard work. One mistake can set off a chain of events that can cause a detrimental loss of time and money. We’ve listed three of the most common mistakes you should avoid when managing a commercial project below:


    1. Lack of Planning – Although your contractor will be managing the project, it is important to make sure you also thoroughly understand the deadlines and timeline set forth from start to completion. In addition to serving as a reference and refocusing point, having a plan propels construction towards the goals and deadlines outlined within. Having a plan and not following it is an equally common and detrimental mistake. If deviation is unexpected and unavoidable, it’s a good idea to revisit you plan and make adjustments to ensure existing deadlines are met.


    2. Bad Contracts – Contracts are a part of any commercial construction project, so learning the terms and language of the contracts you’re signing is essential. Be sure you understand the contractual obligations to which you are consenting, particularly technical or procedural agreements like timely written notifications. In this instance, failing to deliver certain correspondence by the specified date and time can result in the surrendering of certain rights if a disagreement between you and a subcontractor deteriorates into a legal dispute.


    3. Ineffective Lead Generation ­– Assembling a team of workers that provide the quality results you’re looking for is worth the effort, but ineffective lead generation can make the task even more difficult when potential members seem to have vanished. Advertising, networking and referral agreements can be effective strategies to extend your candidate pool for your commercial project.


    Sometimes the biggest mistake is not asking for help when you need it. Contact Leon Williams Contractors to learn how we can see your commercial construction project through from start to finish.

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    3-D printing trends in the commercial construction industry

    The future of commercial construction is here. You may have heard of 3D printing being used for everything from prosthetics and manufacturing to furniture and accessories. Making a mark across industries, this additive form of manufacturing is changing the way many are doing business.

    The technology is also making waves in the commercial construction industry. Increased demand for 3D printing for commercial purposes is driving the cost of tech down and making it more attractive for companies to purchase and use to enhance projects.

    Creating Models

    One of the most useful applications of 3D printing in the commercial construction industry is to create models. This rapid form of prototyping is a powerful sales tool for general contractors – like Leon Williams Contractors – who want to show customers what the finished project will look like. One firm even went so far as attempting to build the first 3D-printed house!

    Printing Components

    Another exciting potential application is the ability to “print” concrete walls and other concrete building components. Using this method would improve speed, deliver better surface finishes and would even allow for accommodating spaces within walls for wiring, pipes and other needs. To top it off, the benefits of this process include a safer work environment, cost savings and efficiencies.

    Collaborative Process

    Sometimes when projects move from design to construction, certain elements can get lost in translation. This printing process provides collaborative tools for both modeling and assembly. It helps teams visualize complex issues and work through it before there’s a problem on site.

    More than a passing fad, many in the industry are already reaping the ROI of 3D printing technology. We can’t wait to see what’s next.

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    5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Commercial Contractor

    Think you might need the services of a commercial contractor? Before hiring a professional, you’ll want to do your research and ask key questions to find the right match for the size and scope of your project.

    From renovating your retail space to outfitting your health practice to be more energy efficient, commercial construction contractors can help you usher your business into a new era.

    Here are five questions to ask a general contractor before agreeing to work together on a new project:

    1. Business History – Did you know that standards vary by state? In East Tennessee – and the entire state for that matter–contractors must be licensed to work. Other states have more lenient standards. Also, ask for a list of references so you can talk to others who have worked with the contractor. Don’t be afraid to ask former clients about any challenges they faced during the project, the punctuality of workers etc.

    2. Leadership Team – What’s the contractor’s policy regarding on-site supervision and using subcontractors? You’ll want to discuss who will supervise your project as well as who will be doing the actual labor. It is also a good idea to talk about liability insurance and workers’ compensation to ensure everyone who would be working on your project site is fully covered.

    3. Timing and Execution – Timing is important for everyone involved. Ask your potential contractor to provide a timeline with a start date and completion date as well as any factors (weather, change orders) that have the power to impact the timeline. Inquire about other projects that may be going on simultaneously and if your project site will share any workers with the contractor’s other clients during that time.

    4. Routine Work – Good contractors have a process or way of working that sets them apart from the rest. The information-gathering stage is the best time to learn more about their project routines.

    5. Money Matters – What will you be required to put down? It’s important to have a frank discussion about budgets and expenses.

    To learn more about working with a general contractor that will simplify the building process for your commercial project, contact Leon Williams Contractors.

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    La Lupita Continues Expansion, Construction Begins on Lenoir City Location

    Leon Williams Contractors begins construction on third location for Hispanic grocery & restaurant


    LENOIR CITY, Tenn. Oct. 30, 2014 — Leon Williams Contractors, a commercial construction company serving East Tennessee, has begun construction on a new La Lupita, an East Tennessee Hispanic restaurant and store, in Lenoir City. The ground-up construction for the new site, located at 510 West Broadway Street, will feature a grocery store, restaurant and Laundromat.

    “This is third store we have opened in the East Tennessee area, and we are excited to have a brand new store for the Lenoir City community,” said Maria Cornejo, co-owner of La Lupita. “We have been working with Leon Williams Contractors for eight years and they have been a part of every La Lupita build and will be in the future, so we are grateful to have them on board again.”

    Currently La Lupita is in a leased space in Lenoir City, but Maria and Manuel were ready to have a permanent location in the area. In addition to the new location, there are also stores in Maryville and Loudon.

    Renowned for its baked goods, La Lupita has become a namesake for authentic Hispanic cuisine in the region. The new retail space will feature 5100 square feet of store and restaurant, in addition to 2100 square feet of a Laundromat that will be adjacent to the food offerings.

    “The new location is a great opportunity for us to showcase our food that are a large part of our heritage, and many others’ in the community,” said Cornejo.

    Leon Williams Contractors broke ground on the third location in Fall 2014, and projects it to be completed by April 2015.

    “Work is underway and we are making progress on getting the new La Lupita up as quickly as possible,” said Jimmy Hawkins, senior partner. “La Lupita means a lot to the communities it serves, so we are excited to help Manuel and Maria expand its reach to the people of Lenoir City.”

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