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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    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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    Leon Williams Contractors’ design-build experience positions us well for the future

    Here are five construction trends to look for in 2018

    Efficiency is more than a buzzword to us. Our design-build model vastly streamlines the construction process in multiple East Tennessee construction sectors, including church, retail, restaurant and medical construction.

    2018-trends-construction-Leon-Williams-Contractors

    It seems the entire construction market is catching on to the need to streamline projects from the design to building phases. Efficiency – from preconstruction to modular construction – is top of mind in many predictions of top 2018 construction trends.

    Here are five trends to look for in the construction sector in 2018:

    1. Growth rates will vary by sector, but overall nonresidential construction, which we specialize in, will grow about 3 percent in 2018. That growth could be higher or lower, of course, depending on everything from the final structure of federal tax reform to whether long-awaited infrastructure spending will materialize on the local, state and federal fronts. Interest rates remain low, and if corporate tax cuts proceed, that could arguably inject more capital into the economy.
    2. Increasing costs of supplies and labor will prompt construction companies to further identify cost-saving measures. Our economical design-build and value-engineering model is ahead of the curve, and look for more companies to adopt this approach. We already have years of experience with this method, and we cut costs, not corners.
    3. Technology will continue to drive and enhance our design-build process. From project management reports via smart phones to 3-D design methods and active use of social media, we will stay on top of these tech trends to better communicate and plan your project from beginning to end. That’s yet another hallmark of our proven design-build process in East Tennessee.
    4. Technology will also continue to drive safety improvements. As the construction market roared back to life in recent years following the Great Recession, injuries and fatalities at construction sites increased, too. We follow strict protocols at every job site to ensure our employees and site workers are working as wisely and safely as possible.
    5. Look for more state and federal programs to teach construction fundamentals to younger generations to address a labor crunch in the construction market. In Tennessee, that includes Tennessee Promise, a scholarship program geared toward getting more adults a secondary education, including vocational training.

    The prognosticators may not be perfect, but one thing is clear as we head into 2018: It’s going to be another great year for our design-build construction company in Maryville, Knoxville and elsewhere in East Tennessee. Contact us today  for more information.

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    Leon Williams Contractors stands up to weather

    We have ways to avoid common construction delays

    construction-delays-Leon-Williams-Contractors

    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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    Which Wich® Arrives in Fountain City with the help of Leon Williams Contractors, Studio Four Design
    Fountain City Tennessee Which Wich built by Leon Williams ContractorsMaryville-based commercial design-build firm and Knoxville-based architecture firm help bring Which Wich Superior Sandwiches to Fountain City

    MARYVILLE, Tenn. – June 26, 2017 – Which Wich® Superior Sandwiches, with the help of Leon Williams Contractors, a Maryville-based commercial design-build firm, and Studio Four Design, a Knoxville-based architecture firm, has officially opened in Fountain City.

    Franchise owner Jeff Hensley, along with his wife Amy and two children, are responsible for bringing the store to the area. The new location was designed by Studio Four Design with Leon Williams Contractors bringing the design to life.

    “This is our fourth location in the greater Knoxville area, and a location we’ve had our eye on for quite some time,” Hensley said. “We were fortunate enough to work with the great people at Studio Four Design and Leon Williams Contractors to help bring our large variety of sandwiches and awesome milkshakes closer to residents in Fountain City and North Knoxville.”

    Along with his Alcoa store that was opened in April, this marks the second Which Wich Hensley has opened in 2017.

    “We worked on the Alcoa location with Jeff, and it’s been great to see his franchise business grow,” said Jimmy Hawkins, president of Leon Williams Contractors. “We’re happy to help him and his team bring Which Wich to even more Knoxville residents.”

    Along with the Alcoa store, Hensley also has locations in Cedar Bluff and Oak Ridge, making the Fountain City store the fourth opened by Hensley in the greater Knoxville area.

    “We are grateful for the opportunity to have worked on three of Jeff’s stores in the Knox and Blount County region,” said Stacy Cox, president of Studio Four Design. “Our entire team looks forward to working with Jeff and his family in the future as they continue to grow their business.”

    About Which Wich
    Which Wich® Superior Sandwiches was founded in Dallas in late 2003 by restaurant entrepreneur, Jeff Sinelli. The national sandwich franchise chain is best known for its customizable sandwiches, creative ordering system, and personalized sandwich bag. In 2014, QSR named Which Wich one of their “2014 Best Franchise Deals” and Forbes listed Which Wich as one of their 2014 “30 Best Franchises To Buy.” Which Wich is also the recipient of the 2015 Nation’s Restaurant News MenuMasters “Healthful Innovations” award. Which Wich currently has 500 locations open or in development in 39 states and 12 countries. For more information, visit www.whichwich.com.

    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.

    About Studio Four Design Inc.
    Since 2002, Studio Four Design has served as a premiere architectural and interior design firm to the Greater Knoxville Area. Their guiding principal is Design Matters, and their goal is to go beyond expectations to provide design solutions that positively impact their clients’ lives and organizations. Their team has worked on a variety of projects over the last decade that includes: churches, educational facilities, restaurants, retail buildings, athletic venues and much more. Studio Four Design takes pride in and is dedicated to all of the clients they serve. To find out more, call 865-523-5001 or visit http://studiofourdesign.com.

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    Three traits of smart retail design

    Think about your favorite places to shop and ask yourself what they have in common. Many people would say that there should be plenty of parking spaces, the interior should not be cramped and everything inside the location should be easy to find. While this may seem like common sense, a number of retailers often overlook the human component that makes a retail location successful. If your retail business needs a new look or wants to update an existing space, the team at Leon Williams Contractors can help you understand the best ways to take advantage of your retail design.

     

    Sleep-Outfitters-Leon-Williams-Contractors-Maryville-Tennessee

    While some franchise retail locations may be limited to what they can do from a design position, the design/build, pre-construction consultation and value engineering services offered by Leon Williams Contractors can work within your requirements to create an amazing retail experience in Blount County, Maryville, Knoxville, Lenoir City and East Tennessee.

    What are the traits of smart retail design? Some of the best ideas include:

    Analyze your potential traffic
    A great retail design might be wasted if potential customers are not able to easily access your location or if the parking lot can’t handle a heavy influx of traffic. The design/build services of Leon Williams Contractors can help determine ease of access and available parking during your site selection process. From building orientation to parking designs, our teams can help you make the most of your retail site investment so you don’t have to lose customers because of traffic flow and parking issues.

    Make your customers comfortable
    Having customers linger may not be a good thing for restaurant owners, but for retail, building for comfort can encourage your customers to linger and shop longer. If your retail design is cramped for space, customers may not want to stay as long, minimizing your opportunities for additional sales. Similarly, if you don’t have a checkout design that encourages quick transaction times, customers may decide to skip on a purchase instead of waiting to pay. Having a design that maximizes your current retail space while allowing for a comfortable retail experience can drive higher sales and customer loyalty.

    Blend your budget with function
    While it may be great to have an unlimited budget to work with, many retail locations need to find a way to manage their budget while still offering an inviting, functional environment for their customers. The value engineering services that are offered by Leon Williams Contractors will help blend the retail design requirements that you have in mind with the budget that you have to work with to create a functional, enduring, affordable design that will hit all of the check boxes that you have for your retail design.

    If you need assistance with creating the perfect retail location or redesigning an existing retail space to meet your needs, contact the team at Leon Williams Contractors today to learn how our knowledge and expertise can be used to your retail advantage.

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    Doug Irving Joins Leon Williams Contractors as Superintendent

    Growing Maryville, Tennessee-based commercial design-build firm announces new superintendent

    Construction Superintendent - Doug Irving - Leon Williams Contractors

    Doug Irving, construction superintendent at Leon Williams Contractors.

    MARYVILLE, Tenn. – Feb. 15, 2017 – Leon Williams Contractors, a Maryville-based commercial design-build firm, has hired Doug Irving as construction superintendent.

    Irving, an honorably separated Lance Cpl. with the U.S. Marine Corps, is a Hollandale, Mississippi native who previously worked for a Knoxville-based contractor.

    “Before, I was travelling state to state helping build automotive retail stores,” said Irving. “Making the switch to Leon Williams has been great for me and my family. I have more time to spend with my wife and two-year-old son, and working with Jimmy, Paul, Jordan and Scott, they’re all great. It’s really a team environment. Everyone is willing to help out and pitch in to make sure we get the job done on time and on budget.”

    Irving has already worked with Leon Williams on the new DQ Grill & Chill in Maryville, and is currently working on the new Which Wich Superior Sandwiches fast causal restaurant that will be opening in April in the Hamilton Crossing shopping center in Alcoa.

    “We’re happy to have Doug on board as we continue to grow,” said Jimmy Hawkins, president of Leon Williams Contractors. “He’s working toward his degree in construction engineering technology, and he’s been able to bring that knowledge, along with his previous construction experience, to the table for the benefit of our team, and ultimately, our clients.”

    Leon Williams Contractors is also currently looking for a construction project manager/estimator. Qualified applicants are encouraged to email their resumes to info@lwcontractors.com.

    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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    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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