The construction industry plays an important role in the economy. When the economy begins to slow down, the construction industry often feels the effects first – but when there is a strong demand for new construction, it’s an indicator the economy is on the right path. Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, such as skyrocketing prices on building materials, major supply chain issues, and labor shortages, the construction industry persevered. According to ConstructConnect, it is estimated that total put-in-place for 2021 was around $1.57 trillion, an increase of 6.8% from the previous year, and they are expecting 2022 to have a 6.6% increase in put-in-place to $1.67 trillion (Construction put-in-place is the estimated total dollar value of construction work done in the United States).
Are you ready to start from scratch with a new office building? Maybe you aren’t prepared to build a new office, but are interested in renovating an existing building. Regardless of the route you want to take, Lincoln has many knowledgeable and experienced contractors that can help you create the most efficient and effective workplace.
Building the Future
Ten years ago, Lincoln-based New Generation Construction (NGC, ngcgroupinc.com) completed their first hotel project in York, NE. Since then, the full-service commercial construction company has grown to establish a second office in Omaha and has built for every major hotel brand, completing thousands of rooms along the way. NGC builds regionally across the nation with projects ranging as far north as Minnesota and as far south as Texas. They pride themselves on being a one-stop shop for clients who are looking for a turn-key experience.
“Hospitality has really become our niche market over the years and we rank with some of the top hotel builders in the nation,” said President Justin Hernandez. “The hotel projects have really been an opportunity for our team to demonstrate a breadth of responsibility – from working with the architect and design teams prior to a contract, to installing the furniture, fixtures, and equipment at the end. Our team has experience managing every step of the process.”
One of NGC’s most notable projects includes their role as the primary general contractor for the Telegraph District in Lincoln. The Telegraph District is an exciting new redevelopment project located on the eastern edge of downtown. NGC converted the old Telephone Building into office space for Nelnet in 2017, and has since then finished two large, multi-family buildings; multiple retail buildouts that are home to a coffee house, a yoga studio, a boutique, a bar, an athletic club, and much more; and even their own office, which was relocated from a previous downtown location.
Justin also discussed with us one of the growing expectations of today’s world: results that are quicker, cheaper, and of better quality than they were before. Luckily, there are quite a few growing trends and services that have allowed NGC to adapt and transition in direction of those expectations.
“One of the biggest differentiators for builders and developers this year will likely be technology in construction – specifically, the innovations that can enhance efficiency,” explained Justin. “The need for the increased dependency on efficient technology has become increasingly obvious during the current pandemic as offices closed, people were forced to social distance, but the show was required to go on. Our team has had the opportunity to experience the real-time results of things like construction drones, augmented reality, and Building Information Modeling (BIM). Modular construction is also ballooning in popularity in the current market. This type of construction allows the opportunity for a shorter schedule, with off-site work completed in a more controlled environment, which potentially decreases the risks associated with things like weather delays and other factors.”
NGC’s biggest competitive advantage as a company is their people. Their belief is simple: Outside partners won’t love the company until the employees love it first. NGC has prioritized taking care of their people; from things like a casual work environment, to an unlimited paid-time off policy, to destination company events – when the culture is right, the rest takes care of itself.
“We’ve modeled the value of relationships by the way we treat our employees, and that has transitioned to the way we treat the people we work with,” Justin concluded. “We are client-centric and choose to partner with people who are passionate about the work we do. We have such an amazing opportunity to wake up every day and improve the communities in which we live, work, and play – and it’s important that we partner with people who feel the same way.”
REGA Engineering Group (regaeng.com) may not physically construct commercial buildings, but the work they do is crucial to the success of any commercial-construction project. Now licensed in 13 states, REGA specializes in engineering and surveying services. As a full-service civil-engineering firm, they offer experience in commercial site development, ALTA surveys, floodplain development, energy efficiency, landscape architecture, and investigative engineering. Their multi-state experience has helped them grow in their knowledge and problem-solving abilities.
REGA’s diverse experience in public and private civil engineering projects is evident in the projects they have tackled, including site development and grading, recreational facilities, pedestrian/recreation trail design, roadway plans, profiles and design, parking lot design, parking arrangement for on-grade and structural configurations, storm and sanitary sewer analysis and design, storm sewer drainage studies, detention facilities, potable water-system design, and soil erosion controls for temporary and permanent installations and utility relocations.
“We are in charge of surveying and caring for things like water quality and storm-water drainage, and this requires construction observance throughout every commercial project we take on,” said President Dan Rosenthal. “Construction observation can be the most critical service provided for any construction project. Full-time observation by our engineering professionals is the best defense against problems during and after construction. It’s crucial to ensure that management plans for water and drainage meet the needs of everything they affect, including lots and corners, roads, floodplains, and more.”
With more than 40 years of experience in surveying, REGA Engineering Group also provides site surveying, construction as-built surveying, and topographic surveying and construction staking. Their surveyors have broad experience in all facets of large and small projects, including private, commercial, and governmental; facility construction layout; roads; and utilities. The company has worked on many topographic surveying projects for Lincoln, Omaha, Auburn, Columbus, Falls City, Fremont, Nebraska City, and other communities throughout the Midwest.
REGA Engineering Group is a member of the Investigative Engineers Association Member Firm (I-ENG-A), a nationwide network of independently owned engineering firms that provide forensic investigative engineering services. Members of I-ENG-A provide services that investigate, document, test, and secure property/evidence, allowing accurate reporting for the property and casualty insurance industry. By joining the network, REGA Engineering Group now has access to I-ENG-A’s broad-based knowledge and skill of its other members, including forensic engineering training and a database of information that assists with comprehensive, cost-effective claims settlement. The new addition of expertise will provide a quicker turnaround time and fewer fees for REGA clients.
“The investigative engineers at REGA reconstruct the events that give rise to property, casualty, and liability claims,” Dan explained. “Services requested by the clients of investigative engineers include: auto/component failure analysis, cause and origin, scope and damages, mitigation measures, subrogation claims, fire and arson investigation, structural analysis/review, traffic accident reconstruction, slip and fall analysis, product failure analysis, mold contamination investigation, earth movement analysis, and laboratory testing.”
Building Structures and Relationships
As a 100% employee-owned firm, you can be assured that Cheever Construction (cheeverconstruction.com) will deliver on their promises. The full-service general contractor/construction manager provides pre-construction services, construction management, and general contracting. Cheever Construction’s employees are invested partners that provide solutions for their clients. It is through these employee-owners that Cheever Construction is able to continue to perpetuate the principles of its founder and stay committed to a business philosophy that is dedicated to trusting relationships, excellence in performing services, workmanship that has enduring character, and meeting clients’ expectations on every project.
In terms of commercial construction projects, Cheever Construction has seen high demand throughout all sectors of the industry, including retail, manufacturing, education, and medical. However, the largest demand is coming from inside the industry.
“The biggest demand we see as a construction company is workforce and supply chain,” explained President Justin Kurtzer. “Workforce is in high demand for all sectors of our industry. With supply chain challenges, extensive pre-planning and creativity in material selections are solutions that we, as a construction manager, have to provide insight on for our projects.”
Cheever Construction approaches each project with consistent objectives for success. They utilize an effective schedule coupled with the quality and skill from their subcontractors, combined with their field craftsmen. Their goal with each project is to make it the precursor to the “next” project, all while building a lasting relationship with everyone involved.
“Our team is grateful for all of our clients and projects,” said Justin. “One of our current projects is the new Lincoln Public Schools athletic complexes at the two new high schools. The facilities will provide competition fields for football, soccer, softball, baseball, and tennis. We are excited to be working on this project and helping to improve our community.”
Bring Buildings to Life
Farris Engineering (farris-usa.com) is an employee-owned building design firm that specializes in mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, and commissioning services. Their roots date back to 1967, and they’ve completed over 33,000 projects in more than 42 states. Electrical Engineer Derek Brooks, PE, LC offered some more insight into what Farris can do for commercial construction.
“With the growth of 3D modeling technology, we have implemented a few different programs that allow us to visualize the built environment before it is constructed,” explained Derek. “This provides us with increased coordination abilities and allows our clients, in addition to the design team, to see how the building functions and flows to meet goals and characteristics that are unique to each building project.”
Derek is currently involved in the renovation of a historical courthouse that was built in 1938. Farris has been working closely with the owner and architect to update the building to modern technologies and implementing current energy efficiency strategies. He explained that the design and construction aspect are heavily revolved around adapting and modifying building aspects to meet the current needs and goals of the owner and maintaining important historical features, all while dealing with the surprises and unique characteristics of a building with this age. Energy efficiency is a popular demand beyond the historical building, too; with rising material and utility costs, Derek said there has been an ever-increasing demand for building energy efficiency and lower energy consumption, as well as increased material sustainability.
“Farris Engineering is a valued partner that provides innovative and project-specific solutions for those who want the best for their building,” Derek said. “This allows our clients to have the freedom to go beyond the standard and not be constrained by convention, because we share their vision for excellence through our technical expertise and unwavering dedication to quality, service, and long-term partnership. We don’t just make buildings function; we bring buildings to life through our designs.”
Going Beyond the Building
The fluctuation in pricing of construction materials and the challenges with the overall labor market are reason enough to start working with an experienced contractor in the early stages of construction, so reach out to Kingery Construction (kccobuilders.com) to learn what they can do to help you build your business. Kingery has the experience and commitment to provide pre-construction services to owners for many diverse types of construction projects. Kingery collaborates with the design team in the pre-construction phase, which increases value engineering ideas for the project and allows them to build strong relationships with subcontractors and suppliers before the construction process is in motion. Project Manager Brian Wehrs shared with us some of the computer advancements that allow Kingery to perform an efficient and accurate job.
“Submittal exchange, Pro-Core, Blue Beam, and other management programs have advanced to allow construction companies to efficiently streamline the entire construction process from the pre-construction stage to the closeout stage of a project,” shared Brian. “BIM (Building Information Modeling) is taking the lead in full force, which is benefiting a variety of commercial projects. BIM is providing benefits in the pre-construction, construction, and post-construction phases for construction projects. BIM helps to identify flaws early in the design stage, as well as the coordination of the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing designs during the construction phases of a project.”
Kingery has had the opportunity to work on a variety of projects recently, including the new Robinson Elementary School in east Lincoln and Northeast Community College in Norfolk, NE, which included a new Large Animal Farm Operations building, a new student center, and a new Vet Tech building. Kingery is also in the middle of renovation projects at the Lincoln Regional Center and will begin renovations at Lefler Middle School this spring.
“We are a construction partner dedicated to making our client’s vision a reality for nearly a century,” said Brian. “What matters to us is building legacy projects by telling your story and exemplifying your purpose. We go ‘Beyond the Building’ through our relationships with owners, architects, and subcontractors, and leverage our history along with the latest construction technologies to provide a superior building experience.”
As the leading control technology contractor in Nebraska and Iowa, Engineered Controls (engineeredcontrols.com) offers a complete turnkey building-control solution, including system design, new construction, and owner-direct retrofit sales, installation, repair service, and preventive maintenance work for small buildings. Since 1994, they have been dedicated to designing easy-to-use building automation and security systems that provide the highest possible efficiency, all while ensuring occupant comfort and maintaining a safe and secure workplace. Their innovative and cost-effective building control solutions have been experienced by thousands of satisfied customers.
“We live in an era in which buildings of any size and shape can become intelligent buildings,” said Pat Killeen, president and CEO. “With open protocol technology, they can connect multiple subsystems together, on one network, rather than operating them all independently— maximizing energy efficiency, lowering maintenance costs, and providing centralized building control.”
It’s becoming more and more common for a building to have one central location to control all lighting, heating, cooling, and security functions, including outdoor controls and elevator controls. Not only is this incredibly convenient, but if you want your company’s building to go green, this is also essential.
“Our Energy and Environmental Optimization, or EEO, program certified professionals are equipped with the training, tools, and experience to quickly assess your building’s current state and consult with you on the goals and objectives of your energy efficiency project,” explained Pat. “Our EEO professionals participate in a rigorous training program learning how to guide building owners and managers through a structured process of analysis and discovery. Leveraging the unique EEO toolset, they will partner with you to develop the right solution for your building.
Engineered Controls’ EEO program software identifies poorly performing buildings and then provides and automates corrective actions. Their EEO certified professionals can help accelerate implementation of the most popular energy conservation measures to optimize your facility.
Protect Your Empire
Empire Netting & Fence (empire-fence.com) can provide far more than just backyard pickets and chain link to keep the dogs in. Empire is a leader in commercial fencing of all types, including security and property fences, ornamental steel fences, and specialty fences offered by many vendors in the industry. In addition, they can provide both custom and pre-fabricated railing and other amenities that allow them to be a one-stop-shop for large commercial projects.
“This past summer, we worked with Crouch Recreation and DC West Schools to install a 1,500 person grandstand and a six room press box at their football field,” shared Project Manager Trevor Sullivan. “We assembled a crew to handle the challenges and dealt with issues in both material acquisition and logistics all summer. Utilizing the variety of backgrounds and skill sets from our crews allowed us to attack all the different elements that go into a massive steel and aluminum structure.”
Trevor shared two more major projects that Empire is currently working on. First, they are collaborating with Kiewit on The Riverfront project at Gene Leahy Mall and Heartland of America Park in Omaha. Empire is installing ornamental wire fence, heavy louvered fence, and custom guardrails fabricated at ESC Fabrications (Wittrock Sandblasting & Painting, Inc. of Waverly was recently acquired by Empire and rebranded as ESC to expand their supply and custom fabrication operations). Despite working on a large project in a confined area and having many utility and site restrictions, Trevor said that the Empire crew has been performing an excellent job. The second job he shared with us is a project they are working on with Turner Construction Company. The project has almost a mile of 10-foot tall anti-climb security fence with crash rail.
Through the use of ESC, they can offer solutions that will minimize the cost to the owner and drastically cut down on additional lead times. The fence system will give the owner peace of mind that their site is secure from both pedestrian and vehicle break-ins.
“There has been a big push in the fencing industry toward promoting security and safety,” said Trevor. “We have seen more companies wishing to keep their properties, materials, and employees secure. With more and more money being invested into technology to keep companies efficient, you can’t forget that there is a higher need to secure these investments. Fencing plays in as a psychological deterrent and as the first line in physical defense for your assets.”
In addition, Empire is also seeing many construction companies recruiting them to install a variety of temporary construction fencing around their projects to keep the site safe; site perimeter fencing is important to both the crews and the general public.
“The biggest thing that sets us apart in the industry is our willingness to say ‘yes’,” Trevor said. “Rarely do we back down from a challenge. We are willing to come up with custom solutions that allow us to be a more useful subcontractor to construction companies. We have an in-house gate and fabrication shop that allows us to control lead times and costs for anything that can come up in larger commercial projects. On top of this, our fence installation experts have years of experience and are constantly challenging themselves to come up with solutions for higher quality, more efficient installations.”
Renovation and Remodeling Services
An alternative to starting from scratch with your workplace is to remodel an existing building. Tru-Built Construction (tru-built.net) Co-owner Bo Jones said that taking an existing building and making improvements is just as great an option as starting from scratch – and may even work better for your business, too!
“We take pride in offering premier commercial renovation and remodeling services, with some recent projects including transforming the former The Post & Nickel building into a mixed-use one that incorporates Chase Bank, Lululemon Athletica, and Madida Clothing commercial spaces,” said Bo. “The space also has condo spaces available for lease on the upper floors. In reality, though, the building is actually four separate buildings, built side-to-side.”
The situation created some challenges, including varying floor levels, split plumbing and electric, and working on the remodel in the tight confines of the downtown area. Despite these trials, Tru-Built excelled at the project and was recognized as a Gold winner in Qualified Remodeler magazine for their work on the lofts.
“Regardless of the challenges, we now have a unique building with some fabulous features,” Bo said. “We preserved the original wood floors, the old billboard ads on the brick walls, and restored the big windows that were filled in with brick over the years. The group of owners has committed to a complete renovation, including: re-footing the basement; adding new structural walls and beams; supporting the floor joists and roof trusses with steel; and installing new wall framing, electric, heating, cooling, plumbing, fire protection, drywall, paint, windows, cabinets, and more. It basically will be a completely new building and exemplifies the benefits of using what you have instead of starting from scratch!”
When it comes to concrete and masonry repair, restoration, and construction, McGill Restoration (mcgillrestoration.com) is on the job. From highway surface treatment and parking-garage repairs to industrial painting and masonry repair, they’re ready to help you with just about any construction need. They follow a proven process for each job to ensure that they deliver consistent, high-quality results to all customers.
“When it comes to restoration, research is key,” said Estimator and Project Manager Jennifer Loukota. “Researching the building, the materials, and the best techniques is essential to providing a beautifully restored building or project. When it comes to the planning and execution of a project, we want to offer our expertise. Most companies know the finer points of new construction, but McGill understands the intricacies of restoration.”
In 2021, McGill expanded operations through their purchase of Wilkinson Sandblasting, a central-Nebraska industrial coating and restoration outfit, and Commercial Waterproofing, a concrete waterproofing business with offices in Oklahoma City and Wagoner, OK. The combination of skill sets between McGill Restoration and the newly acquired businesses means that the company can offer outstanding year-round, scalable restoration services. McGill is excited to bring the full package of large-scale restoration capabilities that they offer into the Oklahoma market.
Jennifer concluded by explaining that restoration requires an in-depth understanding of a structure’s history and details. Researching the building, the materials, and the best techniques is essential to providing a beautifully restored project.
“Asking the right questions helps you plan properly: When was it built? What is it going to be used for in the future?” Jennifer explained. “These questions will provide a lot of answers to the type of materials that must be used in its restoration. When it comes to the planning and execution of a project, consulting with industry experts alleviates a lot of headaches.”
A key part of commercial construction is picking out all of the details – and there’s a lot of them! One detail that can have a big impact on your business and influence its entire look and functionality is the flooring. Underfoot Flooring Solutions (facebook.com/underfootflooringsolutionslincoln) can help you pick out the best materials for your business so that your floors will not only look great, but will last for the years to come.
“The type of flooring you’ll want to put in your building depends on a lot of factors,” said Chad Schlisner, operations manager. “If you are conscious of your brand, hardwood floors can add an elegant, timeless look to any office, retail, or commercial space. They make customers more comfortable and create an upscale feel. Resilient flooring materials can be put almost anywhere and are made to withstand heavy use while appearing to look like wood or stone. Resilient flooring can be found as sheet vinyl, luxury vinyl tile (LVT), luxury vinyl plank (LVP), or vinyl composition tile (VCT).”
Underfoot proudly carries all types of flooring. Before the countless options overwhelm you, their knowledgeable team will be there to help you decide what material will work the best for your business. They take into consideration a variety of factors when making this decision: Will the flooring be in a high-moisture area? Will there be a lot of foot-traffic? Do you need a pet-friendly floor? Do you need low-maintenance flooring? These are all important questions to ponder.
One material that Underfoot is especially excited about is the Duracolor carpet. It was developed by Mohawk Group, which markets the carpet as “forever stain-free.”
“Some would say that this is a risky claim to make, but not Mohawk,” said Chad. “They guarantee it for life. The advanced resistant fiber technology virtually eliminates carpet stains. We tested three types of carpet in red Kool-Aid, and only the Duracolor came out looking like new. This carpet is a great choice for high-traffic areas such as healthcare facilities, schools, office complexes, and other public spaces.”
Depending on the type of building you are constructing, you may want to put some storage in the bathrooms, create a kitchen or bar area for your employees, or have a library in place. In this case, make a considerate selection when choosing the cabinetry that will be put into the building. Usher Custom Cabinets can deliver made-to-order cabinetry that will wonderfully complement the look of your building.
Whether you prefer styles that are more traditional, contemporary, or casual, Usher Custom Cabinets has you covered. Every job is tailored for each and every client, and all cabinets are custom-made to last with no limit on detail. Their cabinets will streamline your storage and help your business stay in-place and organized.
Don’t be Left in the Dark!
Established in 1932, ABC Electric (abcelectric.net) has over 165 combined years of experience in the electrical industry, with each manager having over 35 years of experience.
“ABC Electric offers something most other electrical contractors cannot,” said Project Manager Jon Eicher. “We offer the stability that 89 years in business brings, and the reliability and ethical business practices of the inaugural Lincoln Better Business Bureau Integrity award ensures. We can offer design/build construction processes or firm bid estimates, whatever the project requires. We are also in tune with the latest lighting and lighting control technologies. We believe the advancement of LED lighting products and controls will continue to be major issues driving electrical construction projects in the future.”
Jon shared with us a few things to consider when hiring an electrician for any project. First, be sure that the electrician is fully licensed and insured. In Nebraska, electrical contractors are required to have a license that demonstrates they have completed the education and field training necessary to perform jobs safely and correctly. This leads into his next tip: confirm that your electrician is informed and up-to-date with the National Electric Code.
“Professional electricians must stay current on their education about ever-changing electric codes,” Jon said. “The National Electric Code is routinely updated to address changes in technology and new safety requirements, and your electrician must stay informed of every new rule to ensure that your project is completed in a compliant fashion. What’s more, having up-to-date knowledge about codes can help streamline your permitting needs.”
Jon’s other tips included choosing an electrician who prices services based on the specific materials and labor required to complete your commercial project rather than a company that charges a flat rate, as you could end up paying more than you should have; finding a provider that offers emergency support 24/7; and reviewing an electrician’s guarantee policies, as they can protect you from additional costs if you need to fix problems with any work that your electrician does.
Evolve the Exterior
It’s amazing what a professional paint job can do for not only your business’s curb appeal, but for its brand and interior appeal, too. We highly recommend Walter’s Painting Inc. for all of your painting needs. Walter’s offers first-rate exterior- and interior-painting services, in addition to wallpaper removal, power washing, refinishing of decks and other outdoor areas, re-staining, painting cabinets, and nearly any coating removal or application you can think of. They offer efficient, reliable service with minimal disruption to your commercial activity. If you want to make sure your commercial painting project is completed on-time and on-budget, you need to work with the crew at Walter’s Painting.
“Walter’s Painting uses only top-quality products and qualified painting crews experienced with helping clients make the most informed decorating and painting decisions,” said Owner Jeff Walters. “With our team of well-trained and experienced painters, we understand what business owners expect from a painting company, and we are always ready to deliver.”
Their commercial painting services are carried out by a fully insured, licensed, and well-trained painting team that uses advanced equipment operated under the strictest of safety standards. Walter’s Painting can perform work for office buildings and schools, hotels and retail stores, apartment complexes, medical facilities, and any industry that requires their services.
Established in 1881, Yankee Hill Brick works with local contractors to supply quality brick of all varieties and colors. The combination of quality, color, and pristine finish makes Yankee Hill an attractive choice for architects and design-build firms throughout the United States and internationally. Their unique blends of clay and a state-of-the-art, high temperature firing kiln allow manufacturing of the highest quality clay brick products in the industry.
Brick is an ideal material for siding and retaining walls and it continues to be a popular choice for its charming aesthetic. In addition to making and selling their own bricks, Yankee Hill also imports a selection of imported bricks from other manufacturers, chosen to complement the local Nebraska market. The biggest advantage of brick siding is that it is low maintenance.
Constructing a commercial building consists of critical details and decisions that can be made simple with the help of local experts. We encourage you to reach out to these Lincoln professionals today to get started on building your next great project!