5 ways Leon Williams Contractors can make your medical clinic patient-centered

    5 ways Leon Williams Contractors can make your medical clinic patient-centered

    Our design-build process leads to health facilities that soothe and cure

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    Even in relatively benign settings, health care consumers can be frightened and homesick. Leon Williams Contractors can make sure your clinic renovation or construction is patient-centered and puts them at ease. Design, colors and flow plans are all important aspects of healthcare facility design.

    Here are some things to keep in mind as we lead your design-build process for Knoxville-area medical facilities.

    1. Facetime is key. All health care facilities should be designed in such a way that doctors, patients, advocates and family members can interact in a comfortable setting. This can ease anxiety and empower patients to participate in their health care outcomes.
    2. Streamline spaces. We can help ensure your medical facility — ranging from eye clinics to dental clinics and primary-care offices — has ample storage to reduce clutter. Square footage is at a premium, so it’s important to accommodate space for medical devices and equipment. Streamlining your space puts patients even more at ease. Medical equipment should have a home to avoid being a distraction or cluttering up free space.
    3. Make it personal. Generic, clinical and antiseptic medical spaces can increase stress. Allow patients and family members to personalize their space with ample room for books, clothes, personal effects and ports for tablets and smartphones. Consider speakers so patients can stream their favorite music while waiting for or undergoing a procedure.
    4. Bring family together. Make sure waiting rooms have ample space for families, and consider offering a portioned space for private discussion. Make a space for water coffee and snacks.
    5. Colors count. Choose hues with care. You don’t want a patient facing a stark or overly bright wall. Facilities that cater to children should offer more varied and brighter colors. Various shades of blue can be calming. Artwork can also add great accents, but choose accordingly for the context.

    If you are a healthcare provider, your primary concern should be providing your patients the highest level of care. Our health facility design-build process can help guide you to the perfect ambiance and environment for doing so. Contact us for more information.

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    Leon Williams Contractors dishes on some current restaurant design trends

    Restaurant design changes as East Tennessee appetites persist

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    Americans love to eat. They especially love eating at restaurants. Americans now spend more money each year dining out than they do preparing their own meals at home.

    This provides a wealth of opportunities in the Knoxville area – for food suppliers, beverage companies and restaurateurs big and small. It creates opportunities for Leon Williams Contractors, too. Our restaurant design-build services have been used by franchises and for higher-end independent restaurants, too. But whether you are a franchise operator or building the private restaurant of your dreams, you need to stay on top of ever-changing American dining habits and demands. Now that 2018 is halfway done, here’s a quick look at four restaurant trends that will likely drive design-build approaches. Some may be fleeting, but some are likely here to stay.

    Pickup and delivery: It can be an annoyance when circling a packed parking lot to see spots reserved for “pick-up” customers. But those customers are becoming the lifeblood of an industry eager to keep pace with burgeoning meal-delivery services. Restaurant designs will increasingly add parking and integrate more pickup stations, to serve both third-party delivery companies as well as those who want to pop in and out with a full meal to take home.

    Noise reduction: Decibel readings at some restaurants actually enter the harmful range, and it’s a common complaint YOU HAVE TO YELL AT YOUR DINING COMPANIONS to engage in even sporadic conversation. Add a mediocre jazz trio, and you might as well resort to sign language or semaphore. The reasons vary, as do the solutions. In a move toward sleeker restaurants, designers have axed drapes, luxurious upholsteries and carpeting that used to absorb sound. Tile, steel and blonde wood, not so much. As the problem persists, expect restaurant design to include softer wall coverings, acoustical tile and carpets.

    Local, local, local: Be it in appearance or on the menu, diners want a reflection of their local culture and cuisine in their favorite eateries. We’re not talking about country kitsch-laden walls a la Cracker Barrel. We mean more along the lines of repurposed native wood, or displays by local artists or photographers. Budding restaurateurs may consider display cases of local products offered on the menu: Think Benton’s bacon, Blackberry Farm baguettes, or local honey. People want to feel a local connection to their food.

    Tabletop payment: More restaurants are going to try to more subtly incorporate those tabletop terminals into their décor. They are rather cumbersome to some diners, but many appreciate there is no need to give up their credit card to a stranger for five minutes. They can also be used to distract kids with games and leave reviews, and as a glance at any Yelp account will show, people love to leave reviews. Almost as much as they enjoy dining out.

    Ultimately, you decide how you want your restaurant to sound, feel and operate. We can guide, and be guided, every step of the way. Contact Leon Williams Contractors today for the best restaurant design-build options in East Tennessee.

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    Eight ways we use tech to keep your design-build project on time, under budget

    Construction management software adds vast efficiencies

    Modern construction sites are home to ever-evolving technology to keep projects on time and under budget.

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    There are drones, heads-up displays and smartphones that can be used to record progress or problems. At LWC, we use various types of technology to make sure our design-build projects proceed smoothly for you, be it a church, restaurant or retail project.

    One of the most effective pieces of technology used at Leon Williams Contractors to ensure your design-build project proceeds with ease is construction management software. Such software can help owners, project managers and superintendents track and monitor construction progress on any site.

    Here are ways we put the software to use for you to ensure your East Tennessee design-build project is well managed and delivered on time:

    1. Superintendents can save time with automated reporting features. This replaces old-fashioned paperwork, and means our clients and customers save money.
    2. Photos and videos can be directly uploaded to a project report, detailing any safety issues, weather delays or inventory issues.
    3. Site workers can be warned in real-time about approaching hazardous weather that may delay the project or pose a safety threat.
    4. Subcontractor activity and obligations can be tracked via a daily reporting feature.
    5. Safety protocols can be closely tracked to ensure adherence.
    6. Superintendents, owners and contractors can view job site progress remotely.
    7. Daily reports can be professionally collated and shared with all necessary parties.
    8. Requests for information and submittals can be tracked and send out automatic reminders to prevent missing answers and falling behind schedule.

    Construction field management software is just one way we deliver the most economical, effective and flawless design-build projects in East Tennessee and beyond. Contact Leon Williams Contractors today for all your design-build needs.

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    UT and UTC contracts a tasty testament to Leon Williams’ understanding of the college dining scene

    The college lunch lady is long gone, but students are eating better than ever

    Long-gone are the days of the college-level lunch lady, passing out portions on a cafeteria plate.
    Forget the meat-and-threes and fish Fridays on college campuses. College students today want choices, choices and more choices. And they love their tried-and-true brands like Chick-Fil-A, Starbucks and Einstein Bros. Bagels. We have built those and more – Subway, Pizza Hut, and Dunkin’ Donuts among them – on the University of Tennessee at Knoxville campus.

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    Our design-build firm has also built numerous restaurants on the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga campus and are commencing a project that will bring a Dippers, Einstein Bros. Bagels and a Provisions on Demand (P.O.D.) convenience store to a new dormitory complex.

    We know what Vols and Mocs want, and we know how to build their favorite franchises. We also keep on top of campus dining trends to make sure we are ready to roll with any new concepts or opportunities that might come our way.

    Here are five things to consider about college campus dining these days:

    1. Options. Prospective students will take available food and dining options into account when deciding on a college. Thus the drive to transform and improve campus food options across the country.

    2. Customization. Food allergies are on the rise and college kids want to customize their orders because of health or dietary concerns, explaining the lure of pizza places and sandwich shops with customizable options.

    3. Demand. Food services directors take feedback seriously, and their restaurant selections will reflect demand. That may explain the meteoric rise of franchises like Starbucks and fast-food restaurants.

    4. Grab and go. College life can be demanding and hectic, and students avoiding fast food still want to pop in and out of a place with a banana and juice or a coffee and muffin. Premade food options are in demand, and explain the prevalence of convenience-type stores like Provisions on Demand.

    5. Cost. Traditional meal plans at colleges cost thousands of dollars a year, offering limited hours and heavy and hearty choices. College students these days want to set their own budgets and want access to lighter fare. Why wade through a cafeteria line when all you want is a bagel or simple sandwich?

    Of course, trends come and go, but it’s likely the dining options we provide on campuses will be in demand for quite some time. We’ll be listening and keeping up with the food trends, and likely won’t rue the loss of the lunch line, and lunch lady, anytime soon.

    See a sampling of our college dining work here, and contact us for more information on our campus design-build solutions.

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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.

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    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 reflects on East Tennessee design-build highlights of 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    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.

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    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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    Construction labor crunch = Greater Knoxville opportunities

    Leon Williams Contractors an attractive place to work

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    “Labor shortage.”

    “Major fixes needed.”

    “Shifting construction plans.”

    Google it if you dare, but that’s just the hint of headlines that abound about a growing labor scarcity in the design-build construction fields.

    But what some may call scarcity, we call opportunity. Our current labor force at Leon Williams Contractors is qualified, skilled and highly sufficient, but we are always looking for skilled additions to our team.

    The U.S. unemployment rate – at 4.3 percent as of Aug. 10, is back to pre-Recession levels, if not less. Many markets – including Knoxville – are seeing jobless rates below 3 percent. That means there is stiff competition for construction laborers and skilled craftsmen in the Knoxville and Maryville areas.

    That also means skilled workers can shop themselves around before committing to new opportunities. But our history and reputation as a leading East Tennessee design-build firm already makes us stand apart from other companies, and we tend to attract and retain the best minds and hands in the industry.

    Send your resume today to info@lwcontractorstn.com if you are interested in joining our team and taking your construction career to the next level.

    In the meantime, for some perspective on the opportunities that await, here is a quick by-the-numbers snapshot of the current labor situation:

    • 56 percent of home builders report a lack of skilled laborers is a major issue.
    • 75 percent of builders say they have recently increased wages.
    • 40 percent of the workforce in some markets is foreign born. Many of those workers left the American workforce during the Recession.
    • 500,000 skilled electricians and carpenters are needed nationally. If a national infrastructure-repair plan ever came to fruition that number would grow to 1.1 million.

    The issue is complex, and the answers are not easy, but we are committed to maintaining a workforce that can build the Maryville, Knoxville and East Tennessee economies.

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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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    Start thinking outside the big box

    Leon Williams Contractors customers should be aware of changing retail scene

    There’s so much bad press about the future of brick-and-mortar retail lately, it’s as if we’re all going to revert to a hunter-gatherer society with occasional drone deliveries to our crude shelters.

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    Leon Williams Contractors – a leading design-build firm specializing in franchise, medical facility and church construction — has no shortage of robust retail projects in the Knoxville area, make no mistake. But we are not blind to the fact traditional models of retail are undergoing substantial change, thanks in large part to the proliferation of online shopping and home-delivery systems.

    We are by no means experts in retail trends, but it’s good for our customers to keep in mind some of these changes when it comes time to siting a store.

    While multiple industries, including journalism, department stores and network television, have indeed seen some dramatic shifts courtesy of the digital revolution, all is not lost – at all. Some evolution is in order in the retail industry, that is true, but here are some ways to stanch the bleeding of traditional retail storefronts:

     -Make your brand stand for something. Millennials, a future gold mine of a generation increasingly coming into its own in terms of buying power and wealth, don’t just want to buy a new button-down Oxford. They want to support brands like REI that have core values like conservation and philanthropy. This is where robust social media comes into play: Trumpet your values to stand apart and ultimately bring traffic into your store.

    -Position yourself. Some feel the future of retail lies in its presence in mixed-use developments that are anchored by establishments and services that won’t likely fade from fashion any time soon. Think fitness centers, restaurants and movie theaters. Many developments are even incorporating the ultimate destination place into their layouts: Residential units or houses. They represent a literally captive customer base.

    -Engage the community. Incorporate meeting spaces into your store, and offer classes or lessons that coincide with your brands and products. Own a clothing store? Consider seasonal fashion shows that have a charitable component. Own a restaurant? Offer cooking classes that feature your signature dishes.

    -Unleash your employees. Happy employees can be your best brand ambassadors. Encourage them to tout your store, its values and offerings on social media. Make sure they exercise common sense, of course, and you want to have a solid social-media policy in place, but the buzz for virtually all brands now begins in the digital sphere. The risk of a rogue employee is outweighed by the weight people give to online engagement.

    Traditional storefronts are rapidly entering the evolve-or-die reality of modern consumerism. There will always be a place for hands-on commerce in our economy, but it’s time to start thinking outside the big box.

    As an East Tennessee design-build firm with endless creative contacts, Leon Williams Contractors can help you do that. Give us a call today at 865-982-1734.

    Keeping these tips in mind will help you better navigate the changing consumer landscape and ensure you have a clear vision in mind when it comes time to step into the design-build process. When that time comes, give us a call at 865-982-1734.

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