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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    East Tennessee Project Profile: Foothills Church

    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.

    For September, we wanted to share information about a project that we are working on for Foothills Church, a beautiful ministry center located in East Tennessee that we are honored to create for the worship team at Foothills Church.

    Foothills Church

    The team at Leon Williams Contractors has previously worked with Foothills Church in the conversion of a 38,000 square foot family fun center previously known as Thunder World to a new church facility that includes exterior painting and a three phase design that included construction of classrooms, a children’s worship space, meeting rooms, as well as an 8,000 square foot sanctuary space and restroom remodeling for the Foothills Church facility.

    On July 31, 2016, we were blessed to be a part of a new auditorium groundbreaking ceremony for the next phase of construction for Foothills Church. This groundbreaking was more exciting than a traditional groundbreaking in the fact that the church elected to tear down an existing building in lieu of putting shovels in the ground to begin the construction project. We encourage you to review the images of the entire process below.

    We will continue to add information about the process of this new space for Foothills Church as construction of the new facility progresses. Leon Williams Contractors has worked with East Tennessee clients on a wide range of retail and commercial construction projects, as well as partnering with a number of churches throughout our area for their design/build and contracting needs.

    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 find out how we can assist you with your next project.

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    East Tennessee Project Profiles

    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.

    For this month’s blog, we are sharing information about two projects that we had the honor to work on for non-profit organizations in East Tennessee.

    “Sometimes our greatest reward is to work with the greatest designers, architects and owners and we get to cherish those memories.” – Leon Williams

    Alex Haley Farm
    Nestled in the foothills of the Tennessee Mountains near Knoxville, the Alex Haley Farm connects young leaders together and is where policymakers and community builders come to connect, recharge their spiritual and physical batteries and brainstorm strategies.

    The grounds of CDF Haley Farm include a main meeting lodge, modernized guest cottages, the Langston Hughes Library and the Riggio-Lynch Chapel. The ark-shaped chapel symbolizes the safe haven every child deserves. This beautiful, simple, functional and inspiring space is alive with great music and great preaching, prayer and worship, discussion and debate.

    For the farm, Architect Jennifer Martella and Nationally Acclaimed Designer Mia Lynn along with Leon Williams Contractors completely rebuilt a cantilevered barn that is located on the property in Norris. This vintage cantilevered barn was carefully taken down to preserve the original wood, taken apart and installed new footings rebuilding the dovetail log structure creating a Library for the visitors.. The lower stables were turned into office with frosted glass walls behind the logs and the loft was reconstructed with skylights added along with the environmental friendly Soy board attached to the bottom of the rafters. In order not to change the appearance of the structure a Geo-Thermal system was added with the required coils installed in the lake across from the structure. Mia Lynn designer, Jennifer Martella, Architect and Leon Williams were rewarded by a visit by one of our present Presidential Candidates.

    “With five sisters, two daughters and five precious granddaughter’s, let’s do something for the women in America.” – Leon Williams

    Women’s Suffrage Statue
    Located in the historic Market Square area of downtown Knoxville, the Tennessee Woman’s Suffrage Memorial was designed to honor the past and create a legacy for the future ladies.

    Leon Williams Contractors

    Image courtesy of TN Woman’s Suffrage Memorial

    The Suffrage Coalition was founded to create a lasting memorial to the suffragists of Tennessee. The suffragist’s efforts focused a nation as the last campaign was fought successfully to change the constitution to grant voting rights to women. These rights were guaranteed with the state of Tennessee’s ratification being the final vote to add the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

    We were able to work on this project with Knoxville Attorney Wanda Sobieski The complex base design of the statue required the computer design assistance of Jimmy Hawkins of Leon Williams Contractors, the Suffrage Coalition erected a life-size, bronze statue featuring three Tennessee suffragists: Lizzie Crozier French of Knoxville, Anne Dallas Dudley of Nashville, and Elizabeth Avery Meriwether of Memphis.

    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. Several of our projects have been completed working with Women and fun projects they are. “Dad taught me back in the late sixty’s that when you build a house for a couple listen to the wife the husband thinks he knows what he is doing but he is only paying the bills” Our team is committed to the preservation and history of the state of Tennessee and are honored to be able to work with these projects in the Knoxville, Maryville and East Tennessee communities.

    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 http://www.parksrec.com 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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    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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    Keep commercial construction workers healthy in cold weather

    The winter season is here to stay – for at least the next few months.

    Chilly temperatures mean general contractors should take extra precautions to keep workers safe and healthy when they’re exposed to the elements.

    Even in the Southeast and areas like Maryville or Knoxville, cold weather is often accompanied by rain, wintry mix, ice and snow. So where do you begin to keep workers safe? OSHA is a great place to start to learn more about the effects of cold stress on the body. Increased exposure to cold temperatures and gusty wind chills forces heat to leave the body and could result in the following serious conditions:

    Hypothermia – This condition occurs when a person’s regular body temperature drops to 95 degrees or less. The symptoms of mild hypothermia are as simple as mild shivering. More severe hypothermia symptoms include slurred speech, confusion, slow heart rate and loss of consciousness.

    Prevention Train commercial construction workers to know the signs and symptoms of hypothermia. Take breaks in warm, dry shelters and complete work in shifts and in pairs. If hypothermia is suspected, call 911 and move the worker to a warm, dry place. Cover the body with blankets and if medical assistance is more than 30 minutes away, provide the person with warm, sweetened drinks. Apply heat packs to sides of chest, underarms, neck etc.

    Frostbite – In cases of frostbite, body tissues start to freeze. Hands and feet are especially sensitive to frost bite and injury can occur even when temperatures are above freezing but wind chills are present. Symptoms include numbness and areas where red skin starts to look gray or white.

    Prevention – Layer clothing and wear personal protective equipment such as hats, gloves. If the weather is extremely cold, wear a hat that includes pieces to cover and protect the neck and ears. If frostbite is suspected, loosely cover the area – but do not rub the skin. Do not try to re-warm the area – seek medical attention immediately.

    Trench Foot – This is caused by lengthy exposure to cold, wet environments. If feet are constantly wet, this can even occur in temperatures as warm as 60 degrees. Symptoms include redness, swelling and blisters.

    Prevention – Waterproof boots are required to prevent these cold-weather foot injuries. If trench foot is suspected, remove wet shoes and socks. Elevate your feet and seek medical attention.

    Leon Williams Contractors takes pride in its safety processes for commercial construction workers. To learn more, visit http://www.lwcontractorstn.com.

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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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    Century Harvest Farms in Greenback Expands Operations

    Leon Williams Contractors recently completed construction of expanded facilities


    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. December 2, 2014 – Century Harvest Farms, a family farm in Greenback, partnered with Leon Williams Contractors, LLC, a commercial construction company serving East Tennessee, to complete construction on a new USDA kitchen facility. The new facility was constructed on the main farm property in Greenback, TN .

    Century Harvest Farms provides families and restaurants in the greater Knoxville area with wholesome, East Tennessee-raised 603215_438940302824623_824536663_n100-percent grass-fed beef.

    “This facility means big things for the future of Century Harvest Farms,” said Christopher Burger, co-proprietor of Century Harvest Farms. “It will provide us with the capabilities to expand our reach, and bring our grass-fed meat and organic products to the greater East Tennessee region.”

    The new facility is 4000 square feet and features a commercial kitchen, dry storage and a cut and wrap facility, which allows the space and amenities to package products for resale.

    “The mission of Century Harvest Farms is to provide our East Tennessee community with direct market access to the highest quality locally and sustainably farmed foods,” said Burger. “We trusted Leon Williams Contractors to help us expand that mission.”

    This is the second project that Leon Williams Contractors has constructed for Century Harvest Farms.

    “We believe in the mission of Chris, and his wife Shona, and their passion for what they do is contagious,” said Jimmy Hawkins, senior partner of Leon Williams Contractors. “We’re grateful to have been a part of helping them expand their mission and we’re excited to see what the future holds for the farm.”

    For more information about Century Harvest Farms, visit www.centuryharvest.com.

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    Retail Store Technology Trends on Display this Black Friday

    It won’t matter if the turkey isn’t yet out of the oven, retailers will open earlier than ever this Thanksgiving and Black Friday, showcasing in-store technology that is changing the landscape of the holiday shopping experience as we know it.

    From multi-channel shopping to more personalized store experiences, commercial construction gets a tech boost this holiday season as retailers vie to capture the attention and loyalty of consumers.

    Here’s a look at the trends:

    Tech Integration – Brick and mortar stores will be more technologically connected than ever. For example, Apple Stores are putting iPhones in the hands of employees so they can assist customers and process payments from anywhere in the store. Others are integrating LCD displays that create more customized, interactive buying experiences for shoppers.

    Multi-channel retail and outreach – The buying experience isn’t what it used to be. Stores must connect the online buying journey to the in-store experience. An example of this is streamlining the process so consumers can flag products they like online and pick them up inside the store or return them inside the store in a seamless way. It is also important that the design of your online store matches the design of your brick and mortar location, so that the consumer has the same visual experience regardless of how they shop.

    Personalization – Is it possible for technology to enable a more personal Black Friday shopping experience? Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology lets Bluetooth 4.0 devices (think PayPal Beacon) communicate with mobile devices and send customized notifications based on where shoppers are in a store – this can mean receiving special deals for certain products in one area of a store and other offers for another area.

    From the design-build process to putting products in the hands of consumers, there’s no doubt technology is revolutionizing the start of the holiday shopping season. Leon Williams Contractors has the experience to develop a retail location that highlights your technology offerings and the branding for your East Tennessee location.

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