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


    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 reflects on East Tennessee design-build highlights of 2017

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


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

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

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

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

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

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    Leon Williams Contractors stands up to weather

    We have ways to avoid common construction delays


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

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

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

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


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


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

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    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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    The Design Build Advantage

    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 areas for the clients of Leon Williams Contractors is our Design/Build Services, which offers distinct advantages for construction clients interested in simplifying their building process. However, some companies and individuals that we have met with are confused about what Design/Build means and how Design/Build can make the construction build process easier for all involved.

    What is Design/Build?

    Leon Williams Contractors Design Build ServicesFor the construction industry, Design/Build is a method that can streamline the building process by taking advantage of the skill sets of the construction team to manage costs and deadlines more efficiently and effectively, delivering one point of contact for the entire construction process.

    An analogy that we like to use to explain the Design/Build process is the example of making a cake; to build a successful cake, you need a number of ingredients that all must come together for your final project. Imagine that you would need different individuals to decide upon the ingredients, more to put the ingredients together in the right proportions, even more to put the cake in the oven, others to pull out the cake at the right time and another set to put the final touches on the cake. With the number of different groups that have responsibility to make sure that their parts of the process are done correctly, you can run into delays, issues and even incorrect ingredients, which would delay the final delivery of your cake.

    If you have one person that is responsible for the ingredients, the baking and the final touches, the chances that something may go wrong decrease dramatically, because the one point of contact is responsible for all aspects of the cake build. The opportunity for success and timely delivery of your cake increases greatly, because the person on point is responsible for everything that goes into making your cake a success.

    Construction Design/Build works on the same principle; as an experienced Design/Build General Contractor, Leon Williams Contractors, LLC works with our clients to create a single point of contract for the entire Design/Build process to offer a clear scope of work and budget that can translate into confidence when approaching the financial aspect of your building project.

    The Design/Build integrated process offers distinct advantages for our clients, including:

    • Reduction in project delivery times
    • Lower number of changes and claims during the build process
    • Ease of continuity between design and contractor teams
    • Single Point of Contact and Responsibility
    • True teamwork on the project

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

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    Best New Technology for Commercial Contractors

    Technology is advancing pretty much daily these days, and popular gadgets are finding their way into just about every industry – even the world of commercial construction.

    At Leon Williams Contractors, we’re always watching technology to see how it might make our jobs a little easier. Like most general contractors, we want to be careful to implement gadgets and apps that will be an asset to our projects around East Tennessee. But whether we make use of such technology or not, it’s interesting to see how things are developing.

    Tourists and locals already enjoy using augmented reality around town – this technology gives you a live view of your surroundings, enhanced by digital content like pictures, videos, text, and graphics. Now, new software and apps are making augmented reality useful in the construction industry – allowing contractors to visualize a project in the office and on the job site, which can make it easier to communicate scale and context of a building with everyone involved, resolve any conflicts that may come up in the building process, and ultimately save time and money.

    Google Glass might make augmented reality even easier on a construction site by putting it right in front of contractors’ eyes, instead of in the palm of their hand. Some companies have already started working to develop or integrate construction-management software into the platform.

    What might be a little more practical and less futuristic for now is new workflow management software. Following in the footsteps of the recent cloud computing trends, this technology syncs sites, crews, data, and equipment both in the office and remotely, so everyone is on the same page at all times. Software like this could be a huge asset in managing a project more efficiently.

    Other cloud-based software makes it easier to track the location and status of heavy, expensive construction equipment. Monitoring location and setting up geofences with alerts if a piece of equipment leaves a designated site will make it easier to prevent theft and abuse, and can also help monitor whether the equipment is being used properly and whether there are any maintenance issues.

    There’s no doubt that as the world around us gets more high tech, the construction industry is sure to follow. We are excited to see how things continue to develop, and how we can best make use of the new technology available to our industry.

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    Roman construction techniques are greener than we thought

    How can the concrete in our building be more environmentally friendly? How can this commercial construction project be “greener”?

    At Leon Williams Contractors, we field these questions with every project we undertake in the Knoxville, Maryville and East Tennessee area. We have many techniques and processes to build a greener commercial construction property.

    While doing some research, we discovered that “green” construction is not a new idea. Yes, the concepts of protecting the environment and being less of a burden are new, but nature-friendly construction methods date back to the age of the Romans.

    Here’s a few of the interesting things we discovered about how the Romans made environmentally-friendly concrete. The Roman method is far ‘greener’ than current techniques, releasing far less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

    Most modern concrete is derived from lime that has been baked at approximately 2,600 degrees Fahrenheit. These high temperatures create seven percent of industry carbon dioxide emissions.

    The Romans weren’t thinking of carbon dioxide when making their cement, but the strength of their concrete is no accident.

    Did you know that contemporary concrete is designed to last for about 100 years?

    Yet at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea lie the remains of Roman harbors, buildings and other structures that have remained surprisingly intact for almost 2000 years. What’s the secret to their durable concrete?

    Like modern chemists, Roman builders took limestone and burned it to create lime, a key component of mortar. But then, Roman builders mixed the lime with volcanic ash and saturated the mixture with salt water.

    The reaction between the volcanic ash and the salt water naturally produces a bonding material called calcium aluminum silicate hydrate, or CASH.

    This structure of CASH differs significantly from modern industrial concrete, which lacks aluminum and relies more heavily on silicates.

    Furthermore, an X-ray analysis of the structures revealed that the concrete contains tobermorite, a crystalline material whose structure is considered “ideal”—meaning that the way its molecules arrange themselves is highly organized and therefore very strong–and which is nowhere to be found in industrial concrete.

    Some makers of modern concrete have experimented with using volcanic ash as a substitute for Portland cement, but until now, no one knew how long such mixtures could be expected to last.

    So, if going “green” is important in your next commercial construction project, see what Leon Williams Contractors can offer.

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    Steps to follow after an on-site accident

    Workplace accidents happen. No matter how much employee training or emphasis you place on workplace safety, accidents happen.

    Leon Williams Contractors, a leader in commercial construction in East Tennessee, offers you steps to take following an on-site accident.

    The information that follows is intended to be a general guide for supervisors. The accident investigation process involves the following steps:

    • Report the accident occurrence to a designated person within the organization
    • Provide first aid and medical care to injured person(s) and prevent further injuries or damage
    • Investigate the accident
    • Identify the causes
    • Report the findings
    • Develop a plan for corrective action
    • Implement the plan
    • Evaluate the effectiveness of the corrective action
    • Make changes for continuous improvement

    As little time as possible should be lost between the moment of an accident or near miss and the beginning of the investigation. In this way, one is most likely to be able to observe the conditions as they were at the time, prevent disturbance of evidence, and identify witnesses.

    When accidents are investigated, the emphasis should be concentrated on finding the root cause of the accident rather than the investigation procedure itself so you can prevent it from happening again. The purpose is to find facts that can lead to actions, not to find fault. Always look for deeper causes. Do not simply record the steps of the event.

    Reasons to investigate a workplace accident include:

    • Find out the cause of accidents and to prevent similar accidents in the future
    • Fulfill any legal requirements
    • Determine the cost of an accident
    • Determine compliance with applicable safety regulations
    • Process workers’ compensation claims

    Incidents that involve no injury or property damage should still be investigated to determine the hazards that should be corrected. The same principles apply to a quick inquiry of a minor incident and to the more formal investigation of a serious event.

    So, handle accident investigations quickly to relieve stress on all parties involved. Be sure to follow the proper protocol on each incident and do not cut corners. And finally, be open and transparent.

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