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 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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    Whatever your taste, Leon Williams Contractors will design and build your eatery

    Franchises and chains go from flairy to airy

    One of our design-build niches in the Knoxville area is restaurants. We handle design services and construction from soup to nuts.

    Our list of restaurant projects ranges from the new Panda Express at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to the new Dairy Queen that opened earlier this year in Maryville. While we have completed fine-dining facilities for Green Meadow Country Club and the J. Milton and Five Oaks steakhouses, we are especially adept and experienced in the construction of franchise restaurants, including Starbucks, Moe’s, Which Wich and Chick-fil-A.

    Dairy Queen - Maryville Tennessee - Leon Williams Contractors

    Most franchise agreements include design stipulations, and we adhere to the requirements of the franchisor throughout our design-build process. We also stay abreast of design trends, so we can steer franchisees in the right direction as soon as the project commences. Some franchisors also require periodic upgrades and changes in décor to keep their restaurants unique, fresh and trendy.
    Many, though not current clients, are going for the sleek, minimalist, modern and airy look:

    • Applebee’s: The restaurants known for their somewhat kitschy wall décor are transitioning to a sleeker appearance. Two prototypes feature an open kitchen and place more emphasis on the bar and open areas for socializing. You may have noticed another change in recent years: table-top computers for gaming, ordering and settling the bill.

    • TGI Fridays: The casual chain is also doing away with its flair. A prototype in Corpus Christi, Texas features high ceilings, a more open dining room, blond wood and simple yet aesthetic table tops and chairs. That’s a far cry from the cluttered living-room feel of the original Friday’s, which opened in New York City in the 1960s as a singles bar.

    • McDonald’s: Even the mighty Golden Arches have gotten a makeover in recent years. Many of the changes you may have noticed are actually imports from foreign McDonald’s. Franchisees can now choose from a variety of styles such as “Allegro,” “Form,” and “Living Room.” It’s part of the burger giant’s own drive toward a minimalist aesthetic to escape its cookie-cutter past.

    So be warned and beware: Some of your favorite restaurants may lose their flair. But we’ll always help our restaurant clients achieve the design and look they want, be it kitschy, modernist or country. Contact us today to see how.

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    Leon Williams Contractors can ensure your medical facility buildout goes well

     

    Be it urgent care or a full doctor’s office, we keep patients in mind

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    By some counts, there are nearly 11,000 urgent-care and retail medical clinics in the U.S.

    The reasons for their proliferation are manifold, but most patients cite convenience, better accessibility and lower relative costs for care. Most doctors agree such clinics are largely acceptable for urgent services such as colds and flu or routine services such as blood tests, but the clinics should not be considered primary-care centers. Regular medical checkups are best handled by your personal physician to ensure continuity of care. And of course, if you just cut your fingers off with a table saw, you want to head straight for the emergency room.

    While convenient and cost-effective, retail clinics and walk-in medical providers are very utilitarian in nature. That means they probably lack design features customary in some health care settings to put patients more at ease and reduce the cold, clinical feel of a medical environment.

    Leon Williams Contractors has designed and built medical facilities for years. We can put our design-build expertise to work on a new eye clinic, dentist office or even urgent-care center. But we will never scrimp on design and appearance. That’s one benefit to our design-build system: Clients can engage early and often to ensure the design of their medical facility is exactly what they want.

    Here are a few things we will keep in mind when envisioning, and ultimately building your medical facility, in Knoxville, Maryville or beyond:

    • Tech-savvy. Technology is a major driver in medical facility design. Some technology components, such as check-in kiosks, should definitely be accounted for at the design stage. Some medical facilities even incorporate pneumatic tubes to more quickly move lab results around a building.
    • Room to grow. Allow for expansion and reorientation. Given the vast changes in the way health care is provided, we can ensure your design allows for reconfiguration if another doctor joins the practice or new services are offered.
    • Let in the light. Research indicates patient outcomes improve when medical facilities are well-lighted via sunlight. Our experts can ensure your design includes ample light and other features, including color choice, so your patients are relaxed and receptive when their name is called for care.
    • Meet halfway. Some medical facilities overdo it with fancy and redundant accoutrements that can drive up prices. We can help ensure your facility is attractive and aesthetically pleasing without becoming too showy.

    There are enough patients to go around, and there’s a reason for the explosive growth of urgent-care centers and walk-in retail clinics. But whether you are an eye doctor, dentist or physician wanting to build or expand a “traditional” medical facility, we will bring decades of expertise. Our design-build process can accelerate you toward your ultimate goal: Offering the best care and service to your patients.

    Contact us today for more information about medical facility design trends or to discuss your doctor’s office design-build options.

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    Five ways preconstruction planning saves money

    How to benefit from streamlining your next commercial construction project

    Leon-Williams-Contractors-preconstruction

    Studies indicate a direct correlation between project preconstruction planning and ultimate cost savings.

    It makes good business sense to get all clients and contractors on board before a project commences. At Leon Williams Contractors, a leading design-build firm in East Tennessee, preconstruction consultation is offered on all our projects as part of our comprehensive business model.

    Here are five ways the preconstruction process can yield savings over the life of a project:

    1. Preconstruction establishes the scope of work and an overall budget ahead of time to ensure proper financing is in place. Our design-build model brings all stakeholders – designers, contractors and clients – to the table ahead of time to discuss goals, feasibility, timelines, materials and expectations before a project begins. This prevents expensive change orders or delays should the project begin to creep past its budget.
    2. Site evaluation. The preconstruction process can be used to communicate the need for any possible additional site work before construction begins. Unanticipated site remediation or additional excavating costs can be identified and planned for ahead of time, eliminating delays or unexpected cost overruns. Infrastructure or utility needs and challenges can also be identified ahead of time.
    3. Preconstruction planning ensures all necessary permits are identified and in place before work begins, an assurance that can prevent costly work delays and citations.
    4. The longer a project takes, the more expensive it becomes. Preconstruction meetings can allow us – and our clients – to set schedules for equipment or materials deliveries, plan around holidays and anticipate potential issues that may arise during the life of the project. This prevents work delays and scheduling snafus.
    5. Value engineering. Preconstruction planning allows us to take a wider look at the scope of a project and immediately identify potential cost savings in design, infrastructure, and electrical or plumbing plans.

     

    This is just a sampling of the ways preconstruction planning can benefit our clients and streamline projects. It’s also a reminder that we will be with you every step of the way and see your project to fruition from beginning to end.

    Contact us today to learn how our comprehensive design-build process can bring your project in on time and under budget.

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    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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    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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