Leon Williams Contractors will help answer the call to expand your church

    We are putting the final touches on what will be, by seat count, Blount County’s largest church. The planned grand opening of the new 33,000-square foot facility at Foothills Church is set, appropriately, for the Easter season. The previous location will serve as classrooms and a learning center for children.

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    The church has had a number of rebirths, and we’ve been there along the way. It started in a school, then moved into a former arcade and entertainment center. Each time, church leaders felt the call to expand. The need for a larger facility was obvious and quantifiable; three services occur every Sunday.

    While church leaders often feel called to expand to accommodate their flock, there are some very down-to-earth principles to follow before embarking on a major renovation or expansion.

    As part of our process, we guide congregations throughout preconstruction planning and the design-build phase, but here are some things to consider before proceeding with a new church:

    • Develop a master plan. Don’t just think about the next step, but consider the next 30 years. Articulate a vision. Do you want to offer a family-life center? Have a commercial kitchen? Open a school? What are your anticipated square-footage needs? Having a vision for the future can justify the first step toward expansion or a whole new church.
    • Conduct a car and head count. It might seem as if you have good turnout, but numbers don’t lie. You are going to need this information when it comes time to plan a new sanctuary or auditorium. From these numbers you can project how many people are attending and how your congregation travels to your building. This can also help justify any variances or approvals needed from municipalities to allow the project to proceed.
    • Identify a feasible site. You probably don’t want to move across town, but does the proposed site accommodate the new structure or expansion, have adequate parking and landscaping and provide good egress or ingress? We designed a traffic circle for the Foothills parking lot because of one sole entry and exit point.
    • Keep infrastructure demands in mind. Many churches use a lot more power these days because of auditorium-style services, audio-visual equipment, musical performances and the sheer size of the facility. Make sure you have access to an adequate power supply. The same goes for sewage needs. Don’t plan on too many bells and whistles if you want to open a large church in the country.

    We have built and renovated churches throughout East Tennessee. If you feel the calling to expand, contact us and we can help every step of the way.

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    Building a church can be a challenge, but keep the faith

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    There are some potential pitfalls and challenges, but Leon Williams Contractors can help ensure construction of a new worship facility goes as smoothly as possible.

    Most churches encounter cost-overruns the congregation is unprepared – or unable – to cover. That’s why working with a design-build firm can ensure your project comes in on time and under budget. At Leon Williams Contractors, we’ve been building houses of worship in the Maryville and Knoxville areas for years and we subscribe to the design-build process because of its ability to keep costs in check and produce the facility that is right for the needs of your church and congregation.

    Here’s a quick look at common challenges associated with church construction:

    Planning and design

    Make sure your church planning committee has a good idea of what purposes and needs the new church will meet. You should also know your budget constraints and commit to staying within those guidelines. We can help with this process on the front end to help mold the design to meet both the program and budget.

    Cost

    Churches typically pay for construction costs through money on-hand; capital fundraising; and traditional borrowing. Needless to say, failure to remain within the financing footprint can wreak havoc on an entire ministry and threaten the very future viability of a congregation. Make sure “soft” costs –such as fees, permits, furnishings, audio, video, lighting, signage – beyond the scope of the building contract are kept in mind.

    Contracting

    This step is key to locking in a cost and reducing financial risk. Your congregation or diocese should make sure you have a qualified representative in place to negotiate and set terms on your behalf. One advantage to a design-build firm is the streamlining of negotiations. At Leon Williams Contractors, we can contract the designer of the project and walk thru the process as your representative. We also have decades of experiences building houses of worship, and understand and can anticipate the needs and challenges that may arise.

    Variables

    The cost per square foot of church construction hinges on a range of factors, including location, size, style, and volume. The site of the church can have a big impact on cost, depending on the amount of necessary site preparation, including ease of excavation and utility infrastructure needs. Site preparation can be a big determining factor in the ultimate cost of your worship facility. Ensure your budgeting is liberal to avoid potentially devastating cost overruns. Site assessment is a primary part of our pre-construction consultation.

    Master plan

    Make sure your church has a master plan – and make sure the project falls within the master plan. The plan should entail midrange and long-range visions for your congregation and its mission. It’s important to ensure your ultimate building plans fall within this master plan.

    Building a new worship facility – or expanding an existing one – may seem like a daunting proposition, but Leon Williams Contractors, which has built more than a dozen worship facilities in the Knoxville area, can ensure it blossoms.

    If you or your congregation is interested in learning more about how design-build construction can more efficiently and effectively manage costs and deadlines for your new church or expansion, give us a call at 865-982-1734 or fill out our contact form today.

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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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    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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    Finding the right space for your restaurant is key

    Leon Williams Contractors, a commercial and residential design/build company, has developed many commercial, residential and retail buildings in Blount County, Maryville, Knoxville, Lenoir City and East Tennessee, in addition to building and renovating existing spaces for many of the restaurants throughout our area. If you are thinking of starting your own restaurant or other food and drink-based establishment, the design-build experts at Leon Williams Contractors can help you find the best location for your restaurant construction needs.

    Leon Williams Contractors restaurant construction

    We provide a full range of construction services, pre-construction consultation and site assessment, construction management, value engineering, and construction management. We can also help you obtain an existing structure and remodel it if that approach makes more sense to your budget and design plans. The main considerations in Maryville, Blount County and East Tennessee to consider for your restaurant planning include:

    1-Location
    You can’t beat a good location. Our familiarity with Maryville, Blount County and East Tennessee can be leveraged to help you find a high traffic location with access to utilities and other amenities to help maximize your opportunity in the restaurant space. The team at Leon Williams Contractors is experienced in finding the right place for the right business throughout our area and can leverage our experience on your behalf.

    2-Space

    Our wide ranging capabilities related to existing space renovation will allow our team to adapt nearly any space to accommodate your restaurant plans. If we deem the existing spaces aren’t useable, we will design and build your space to appeal to you and your potential customers to help create the best possible result for your restaurant location.

    3-Infrastucture

    Is parking nearby? Is the restaurant easy to get to? Are there attractive sidewalks and scenery? Are other restaurants and businesses nearby that attract strolling and walk-by foot traffic? We’ll find out if the building codes in Maryville, Blount County and Knoxville will allow a restaurant space to be created and to ensure that there is adequate water, sewer, electrical and even internet connectivity to accommodate your restaurant design plans.

    We know that starting a restaurant is tough, but when you work with Leon Williams Contractors, we can offer expert restaurant construction and build out advice, assist with planning your space for success and we will can design, build or renovate your new restaurant in your chosen location to help you attain your business ownership dreams.

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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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    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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