Commercial Construction in Lincoln, NE – 2020

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Commercial Construction

With the population in Lincoln and surrounding areas continuing to grow at an increasing rate, the commercial landscape of Lincoln is steadily changing and expanding as well. Lincoln consistently has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. Because of this, new professionals are easily attracted to the area. All this means good things for the construction industry, including a wealth of opportunities for exciting new projects and development.

For businesses that are opening new locations or remodeling old ones, certain concerns or questions may arise in the search for contractors. Common concerns for these businesses include how long the planning and building process will take, how much it will cost, and how to ensure the final product will be of good, lasting quality. There also may be questions about which contractors are easiest to work and communicate with throughout the process. Investors may also have questions about the various new products, services, and innovations available that can really enhance their final product. We spoke with local experts in different aspects of construction who are committed to delivering the best possible services and quality results. They gave us their input on the topic and on some of the exciting projects they’ve been working on in recent months.

When to Build – The Time is Now!

Troy Bridgford
Ironhide Construction

We asked Troy Bridgford, president of Ironhide Construction, about why now is an important time to build in the Lincoln area.

“Now is a good time for businesses to invest in new projects in the Lincoln and Omaha market due to the projection of both cities’ populations continuing to grow over the next 20 years,” he said. “Both cities are expected to nearly double in size. This means that the need for commercial and industrial properties will only continue to grow as we will have more people looking for employment. As we all know, construction of new facilities can be costly, but it has never been as affordable to build as it is right now.”

Constructing a new building is always a significant investment of money, time, and other resources. Because of this, those investing in a project will naturally want to get it right the first time and ensure they are using the best materials and methods for a high-quality end product that will guarantee a long life for the building. Troy told us about new developments in panels that have improved the level of quality in metal building projects. The products are like sandwich panels with a layer of insulation between two metal panels. This offers a clean look available in varying finishes ranging from polished steel to stucco. The panels are also very energy efficient.

“The insulated metal panel systems available in the market are changing the way we think about and design our projects,” he said. “The life span, energy efficiency, cost, speed, availability, and sustainability of the products continue to impress our business. The popularity of these metal panels is growing rapidly. This is due primarily to the increasing efficiency demands dictated by the energy code. The insulated panel systems available easily satisfy these demands all while delivering a high-quality and architecturally-pleasing appearance.”

Troy also shared what sets Ironhide apart in the construction industry.

“At Ironhide Construction, we pride ourselves on being the best metal building contractor in the area,” he said. “Through our customer-focused approach, negotiated contracts, and accountability throughout the project, we are able to ensure that the finished project is high quality and satisfactory to our clients. We are passionate about developing lasting relationships with each of our clients and always strive to deliver the highest quality product at the best value.”

Current and recent projects in the area that Ironhide has worked on include:

  • 1810 Hangar for Hausmann Construction
  • Morningstar Counseling Center
  • Cornhusker Winnelson Plumbing Supply, a pre-engineered metal building which will include a new warehouse building
  • Garage at 204 in Omaha, a new concept project in Omaha that will be Omaha’s only private car condo complex and will feature a private community and private clubhouse for the purpose of car clubs, charitable events, sponsored cub events, and car shows
  • QP Ace Hardware, for Tru-Built Construction, which boasts beautiful metal panels throughout, both vertically and horizontally, to give the building a modern look

What to Build – The Design Process

The design process is an important initial phase that sets the stage for all coming construction work. It is important to partner with design firms and contractors who have experience building the kind of facility you’re needing. These professionals will have insights into the specifics of design for what you’re looking to build, and they can save you a lot of time and headache by sharing this experience up front.

For anyone looking for a design firm that always stays up-to-date with the very latest in design technology, current styles, and functional layouts that optimize a space for its purpose, Peace Studio Architects is one firm that takes pride in offering the very best in modern design.

Gill Peace
Peace Studio Architects

Peace Studio works on a variety of projects that include everything from commercial design to residential, master planning, interior design, hospitality (bars and restaurants), and commercial kitchens. We asked Architect and Owner Gill Peace to tell us more.

“Peace Studio Architect’s motto is ‘Design Matters,’” he said. “For us, this has multiple meanings:

  1. Design matters to the project owner. Good design makes for more attractive and successful buildings/spaces for the owner.
  2. The motto is a continual reminder for the architects at Peace Studio to think creatively and find unique design opportunities where others might find obstacles.
  3. The motto also reminds us of our responsibility to treat each project as an important piece of the built fabric of Lincoln.”

Gill shared his thoughts on why now is a good time to begin new construction projects.

“Lincoln is growing by leaps and bounds both in both residential and commercial industries,” he said. “There are a variety of exciting new products and services that have improved the way construction is carried out; Architecture, design, and construction are continuing to improve and evolve, including BIM (building information modeling) and web-based tools to speed up communication between owners, contractors, and the architect. As those tools evolve, Peace Studio continues to emphasize the fundamentals of good communication and relationships between the team (owner, contractor, architect) as the best method to take a construction project to the next level.”

Peace Studio Architects recognizes that communication is a vital aspect of the design process in ensuring that all plans for a construction project are understood by everyone involved.

Matt Milby
Morton Buildings

Another company that offers design services and also works with architects and commercial building owners for post-frame construction services through the completion process is Morton Buildings. Matt Milby, designBUILD project development manager for Morton Buildings, told us about a great service they offer to save their clients time and money in the design-build process for many commercial applications.

“We are proud to offer a construction-led, design-build process through Morton designBUILD,” he shared. “This allows business owners to retain all rights to all information (plans, designs, specs, etc.) and only commit to each phase, one at a time. It helps eliminate risk and stress levels normally associated with new commercial construction.”

“Supported by the full resources of industry-leading Morton Buildings, Morton designBUILD is a dedicated team that works with you and your local Morton sales consultant from the beginning to end of your construction project,” Matt continued. “We developed the designBUILD process with our customer in mind, as it enables us to deliver projects that meet your scope, schedule, and budget. This alleviates stress, eliminates time loss, and ultimately reduces the overall project cost, as our design fees are nominal and included as part of the construction package.”

Morton Buildings believes in giving the very best to their clients in product and service. Some of Morton’s recent projects include:

  • Sandhills Heating and Air in Omaha, a 2,100-square-foot office building
  • Numark Golf Course in Lincoln, a 2,592-square-foot pro shop
  • National Concrete Cutting in Council Bluffs, a 39,000-square-foot office and shop
  • Valas Pumpkin Patch in Omaha, a 6,000-square-foot shop.

“Whether you want to start up a new company or expand an existing one, one thing is certain—a Morton building will help your business succeed,” Matt said. “What differentiates us from other construction companies is the quality, the craftsmanship, and the efficiency of our buildings. Plus, our warranty is the best in the business. Our local construction center, located at 12055 Hwy 6 in Waverly, is proud to deliver equestrian, agricultural, commercial, designBUILD, and hobby buildings in the communities surrounding Lincoln and Omaha.”

Justin Kurtzer Cheever Construction - Headshot

Justin Kurtzer
Cheever Construction

For business owners who are unsure of the delivery method for construction that will best suit their needs and situation, it’s helpful to understand the options in design and construction and who the players are. Justin Kurtzer, president of Cheever Construction, explained more about the design process and what these options are.

“There are three traditional delivery methods that business owners can choose from when contracting a construction firm,” he said. “These include:

  • Construction Management (CM) – Owner hires architect/engineer responsible for design and a contractor responsible for establishing a program and schedule, organizing sub-contractors, and preparing a benchmark budget. An advantage of this method is the scope of the project can be clearly laid during the design process.
  • Design Build – Owner hires a single contractor, responsible for both the design and construction aspects. An advantage of this method is a single firm is responsible for completion of the project.
  • Design Bid Build – Unlike Design Build, owner hires an architect to design the project in its entirety. Competitors then bid for the contract to complete the building. An advantage of this method is the bidding process establishes the project cost.”

Cheever Construction is an employee-owned construction firm that takes pride in their tight-knit employee-owner model. “Because employees own 100% of the company, all of us have a stake in the outcome professionally, as well as financially,” Justin shared.

Notable contributions have been made to development of Lincoln and surrounding areas by Cheever Construction. Cheever was responsible for:

  • Construction of Exchange Bank in Omaha
  • Renovation of the Edith Abbott Memorial Library in Grand Island
  • Construction of Resort Lifestyle Communities in Lincoln
  • Renovation of Southeast Community College – Culinary Arts in Lincoln
  • Historic renovation and construction of the Saline County Courthouse addition in Wilber
  • Construction of Dairy Queen Grill & Chill in Lincoln

Clint Hummer
Hummer Contracting

As mentioned previously, it is important to look for contractors who specialize in the kind of building you need. If you are in the food or pharmaceutical industry, Hummer Contracting is an ideal contractor to partner with, as they have years of experience building for these specific industries. We spoke to Owner and President Clint Hummer for more information about the services they provide.

“We take pride in providing a better customer experience from beginning to end. We stand behind our workmanship and go the extra mile to ensure that you are satisfied with your product and our services,” Clint said. “Among our many services, we specialize in conveyor design and fabrication, custom metal fabrication, industrial structures, machinery refurbishment, millwright services, industrial repair services, custom installations, maintenance solutions, on-call services, engineering and design, and general contracting. If you need help with a construction project, you’ll never regret calling us. We deliver.”

Hummer takes pride in designing projects to their clients’ liking and ensuring everything is of the highest grade and best quality. They don’t cut corners. It isn’t in their nature.

“If you want to design the project of your dreams, reach out to one of our licensed engineers today to meet all of your design needs within a realistic timeline with clear documentation and the expertise to make your project a success,” Clint said. “We’ve got you covered.”

Where to Build – Finding the Perfect Location

One aspect of construction that goes hand-in-hand with design is finding the right location for your construction project. Finding the right location is extremely important in commercial projects. You want to know that your business will be able to thrive in the area you’ve chosen.

Whether you are looking to lease or purchase, Krueger Development takes pride in working alongside their clients to find the right location, help you design your space, and build your approved floor plan to your liking. With over 25 years of experience, they can help you find the location that suits your unique business. Partnering with Krueger is ideal for someone who wants a level of control and decision-making power in the design process with the option of not having to stress over the entire planning and initial construction phase from the ground up. Krueger has available spaces that have the bones in place but are still customizable, like a blank canvas. These spaces can be designed and completed to fit the needs of your business. Of course, if you do want to design from the ground up, they offer these services as well.

Allison Santana
Krueger Development

Allison Santana, director of commercial leasing at Krueger Development, told us more about the designing services they offer clients.

“Clients’ needs are completely met for the exterior and interior when working with Krueger Development,” she said. “This makes the entire process more economical and time efficient, getting the client into their space as fast as possible without having to work with numerous designers.”

A good example of a commercial space that Krueger designed with a customizable approach is Sierra Suites, a mixed-use property that combines commercial and residential space. Mixed-use properties are becoming more popular in large and growing cities because they allow residential properties to also fulfill other purposes for a community. Instead of just another apartment building going up, there can be an apartment building with a juice bar or coffee shop on the first floor—something both residents and non-residents can enjoy.

“There will always be trends, but what remains the same is that our clients are seeking the most desirable locations and an experienced landlord who can help them make their vision a reality,” Allison said. “Our team of professionals work alongside our clients.”

How to Build – Utilizing the Latest in Construction Innovation

If you are looking for a contractor to help you with a project such as a remodel, addition, or other improvements, one company in the Lincoln area that can offer you premium services at an affordable price is Brown Brothers Construction, Inc. Brown Brothers Construction distinguishes themselves as a company that really understands the importance of working together as a team throughout a project. The company began in 2005 as a team of two, brothers Ray and Jared Brown, and has since grown to a corporation with 12 additional employees. Ray and Jared understand how challenging it can be to find skilled, dedicated employees, and they really value every person on their team.

Their experienced team provides commercial and industrial remodeling, additions, new construction, tenant improvements, hollow metal doors and frames, aluminum storefronts, roofing, painting, drywall, carpet, and more to clients in Lincoln and surrounding areas. They have an A+ rating as an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau, which includes a documented history of client satisfaction and reflects their commitment to customer satisfaction.

 

Rod Berens
Kingery Construction Co.

Kingery Construction is another company that really prides themselves on offering only the very best to their clients. Rod Berens, president of Kingery Construction, shared how they have become known as being the kind of organization people can rely on to deliver quality results and carry out a project to completion:

“Our role as the construction manager/general contractor is to ensure the project is completed the way the architect created the project on paper,” he said. “Many owners are only involved in one or two major construction projects in their career and are relying on us to make sure their vision becomes a reality. These owners have their own areas of expertise outside of construction, and they have businesses to focus on and worry about. They really count on us to bring our experience and skills forward.”

One trend Berens has noticed is that wide open and flexible spaces have gained so much popularity for contemporary buildings that they are now becoming the norm.

“Flexible office space has changed the design and functionality of the newer offices,” he said. “This holds true especially in the tech industry. Elements of design remain strong in the industry as well as eco-friendly building materials,” he continued. “Last year marked a big milestone for Kingery construction. We celebrated our 95th anniversary, and we will continue to improve technology and processes to ensure the best possible product for our owners.”

Because of the exciting new developments in technology and the construction industry, options for the design of efficient, high-quality, aesthetically appealing architecture have expanded. These new developments make the completion of building projects more efficient and improve the results as well. Here are some exciting new innovations in the construction industry that can enhance the quality of your building project inside and out.

Exterior

Shane Ligon, owner and operator of Knotwood Central, told us about one awesome product that has brought a lot of excitement and buzz to the construction industry lately, especially in the way it can transform the exterior of a building.

“We sell an amazing state-of-the-art product that genuinely looks like wood, but it’s not wood, it’s aluminum,” he said. “A lot of people are surprised that it isn’t really wood because it has such a beautiful, natural look to it. And that’s just the beginning of what makes it a great product. Knotwood is so much more than just a cosmetic enhancement for buildings. It’s truly avant-garde.”

Knotwood has an impressive list of beneficial qualities. It’s eco-friendly, non-porous, non-warping, scratch resistant, corrosion resistant, stain resistant, lightweight, non-combustible, insect proof, freeze resistant, slip resistant, UV resistant, 100% recyclable, color stable, heat dissipating, care free, and covered by a 15-year warranty.

“Knotwood is lighter, stronger, and straighter than real wood, and it comes in 30+ wood colors and 50+ custom colors,” Shane explained. “In other words, Knotwood is pretty incredible! All you have to do is glance at our gallery online to see how beautiful and versatile this product is. It’s less a question of how it can be used and more a question of how it can’t be used. The jury’s still out, because the truth is, the possibilities are limitless!”

The Knotwood gallery boasts stunning examples of beautiful fencing, gates, soffits, cladding, decks, siding, store fronts…it goes on and on! Knotwood Central not only sells the product, they offer installation services and installation training as well so contractors and individuals can learn to install the product themselves.

“Knotwood is the future of siding, cladding, fencing, and so much more,” Shane said. “Its versatility is amazing. This is truly the new look of modern architecture. It really makes things pop.”

For businesses that are looking for a more historical, classic design for their building exterior, brick is always a stable choice. Established in 1881, Yankee Hill Brick works with local contractors to supply quality brick of all varieties and colors. Brick is an ideal material for siding and retaining walls and it continues to be a popular choice for its charming aesthetic. Yankee Hill produces its own clay mixes and high temperature firing kiln to produce a range of looks for their own brickwork. In addition to 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.

Yankee Hill Brick’s face brick is made using the highest quality materials and the most advanced manufacturing techniques. Their on-site mining facilities produce unique clay blends that allow them to produce a wide range of colors to fit any architectural design requirement. Face brick is used for its look, color, and texture to add a beautiful quality to certain buildings. Just a few of the many distinctive styles of face brick include the following:

  • Standard face brick, available in numerous colors, notable for its smooth, sharp look.
  • Tumble face brick, notable for a rugged look without sharp corners.
  • Antique face brick, notable for a stone-like texture.
  • Iron spot face brick, notable for a subtle, consistent texture of spots and marks.

Yankee Hill Brick prides themselves on offering only the best brick products, something contractors have learned and come to rely on.

Interior

Jon Eicher
ABC Electric

While looking to the exterior needs of a building is important, the importance of quality construction on the inside—especially for the unseen systems and inner-workings of a building—can’t be overstated. New technologies have made the process for construction and installation of these systems more efficient than ever before. Jon Eicher, a project manager for ABC Electric, told us about an exciting new technology he has witnessed emerging in the construction field called Building Information Modeling (BIM).

“We are seeing a continued growth in the implementation of BIM,” he shared. “This allows for detailed 3D-based modeling of proposed building construction and how all parts, architectural, structural, mechanical, and electrical, fit and work together. ABC Electric first encountered BIM while working on the wiring of the Pinnacle Bank Arena in the historic Haymarket District. BIM was previously only used on the larger projects, but now we are seeing it on smaller-scale projects more frequently.”

ABC Electric strives to distinguish themselves through their experience and expertise.

“ABC Electric offers something most other electrical contractors cannot,” he shared. “We offer the stability that over 86 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.”

Something Jon has witnessed first-hand is the importance of scheduling for major construction projects.

“It is important to develop a workable schedule and ensure all project financing before moving forward with construction,” he said. “Both of these items cause unseen and problematic cost increases to the overall budget if not addressed early. Surround yourself with quality and proven design firms and contractors. Use their resources and specialized knowledge to reach the ultimate goal of building a functional and long-lasting building.”

Becky Hemphill
Krieser Drywall & Insulation

Another exciting development in construction technology is AeroBarrier. We asked Becky Hemphill with Krieser Drywall & Insulation to explain more.

“AeroBarrier is an exciting new service that can make a building more energy efficient and seal up air leaks around windows, outlets, joints, studs, or anywhere else that may be difficult to find, let alone fix, through traditional methods,” she said. “AeroBarrier is a cutting-edge product that has completely transformed envelope sealing technology. Improving the building envelope is one of the best ways to get better energy efficiency, and AeroBarrier technology makes this easier, more effective, and less expensive. Normally, achieving energy savings from building envelope enhancements is very difficult and costly with limited results. AeroBarrier has completely eliminated this problem. It’s unprecedented.”

 

AeroBarrier tightens the envelope down to any specified level, most commonly three ACH, in just a few hours. No other method or technology has even come close to achieving this. AeroBarrier uses positive pressure and automated sprayers to create an aerosolized acrylic sealant that seals all gaps in a building less than a 1/2 inch in just a few hours. It is ideal for unfinished buildings and construction projects, but can be used for finished buildings too, as long as all horizontal finished surfaces are covered. Another amazing bonus is that AeroBarrier is GREENGUARD Gold certified, which means it is very environmentally friendly and safe for schools and hospitals.

Becky explained that blower testing can often cause a lot of stress, but this new technology can completely eliminate this: “We offer blower door testing, which is also included with AeroBarrier services. AeroBarrier takes the worry out of passing a blower test,” she said. “Failing a blower test means your ACH is too high, so you must air seal more, which can mean long hours searching for spaces and openings and manually sealing penetrations with foam or caulk guns. Then you have to do another blower door test and hope to pass that. It can really be a hassle.”

Because of stricter energy codes signed by the governor last year that will go into effect in the coming years, being able to pass a blower door test to ensure a tight envelope will soon be necessary for all construction projects. Krieser Drywall is excited to offer a solution to contractors who may be stressed by this prospect.

“AeroBarrier seals your building to your specifications with real-time results. This takes out the guess work while saving you time and money,” Becky stated.

In addition to AeroBarrier, Krieser offers full drywall services, traditional insulation and spray foam, specialty coatings, commercial services, and more. They are always on the lookout for the latest breakthroughs in technology so they can bring the very best to their customers.

Jacque Lee
EMO Flooring

Another company who offers advanced new products that can really enhance the interior of a building is EMO Flooring. Office Manager Jacque Lee explained that because damage to flooring can become expensive and unsightly, they now offer products that use a contemporary technology for sturdy and easy-to-clean flooring. This resilient flooring uses several layers, including two protective layers, meant to preserve the look of the flooring.

“Today’s resilient flooring (also called Luxury Vinyl Flooring or LVF) is like a chameleon—designed to replicate the world’s most beautiful wood, stone, and ceramic flooring with amazing realism,” she said. “But unlike those floors, you can put it almost anywhere. For those interested in a more cutting edge style, Shaw flooring is a solid option. One thing that makes Shaw different is great designers who create innovative styles. Designs pulled from everything—an olive tree, a weathered door, a piece of hardware. Edgy and stunning—our designs range from rustic to contemporary to traditional and are able to enhance any room or office space,” Jacque said.

Because water can be a major destructive element, EMO Floorings also offers waterproof Floorté products. PVC and resin are both used to create a core that water cannot penetrate, and the seams are designed to block water from seeping along the sides. Of course, damage to a building from excessive flooding is still possible, but the flooring itself is completely waterproof.

Whether you are constructing a new building or looking to update a building, the latest products and advanced services can make your building more efficient, durable, and aesthetically appealing.

Renovation Projects

Bo Jones
Tru-Built Construction

While constructing new buildings brings the benefits of control over design and the use of all the latest products and technologies for every layer of a building, sometimes the best option is to take an existing building and make improvements, rather than starting from scratch. Tru-Built Construction is one company that takes pride in their excellent renovation services in addition to their new construction projects. Co-owner Bo Jones shared an example of a renovation project they recently completed and the level of care and consideration they put into the project.

“The former Post and Nickel building is currently being transformed into a mixed use building incorporating Chase Bank, Lululemon, and Madida commercial spaces and will have condo spaces for lease on the upper floors,” Bo said. “The building itself is actually four individual buildings built alongside each other, which presents unique challenges such as floor levels not being the same, plumbing and electrical services being split, working in the tight confines of downtown, and many other difficulties. In spite of these unique challenges, the building offers some amazing features such as preserving the original wood flooring, old billboard advertising on brick walls, large windows that were filled in with brick over the years that are now open again, and having an amazing location on the corner of 14th and P. The owner group has committed to a full renovation, which includes new footings in the basement, new beams and structural walls, new interior wall framing, all floor joists and roof trusses being supported with steel, a new roof, new windows, new electrical, heating/cooling, plumbing, fire protection, insulation, drywall, trim, paint, cabinets, etc. It will be a brand new build within the exterior perimeter walls. This building is a perfect example of how renovating an existing structure can meet current demand especially in desirable locations.”

Tru-Built has completed an impressive variety of projects, including:

  • Willa Cather Museum renovation
  • 1421 P St. apartment renovation
  • New QP Ace Hardware on 27th St.
  • Old Spaghetti Works building renovation
  • Aristos Apartments at 40th and Yankee Hill (coming soon)
  • The Grand Manse Penthouse Suite

For business owners looking to make improvements to their building through renovation, one important area to consider is the roof. In addition to negatively affecting the exterior look of your business, a failing roof can cause expensive and unpleasant problems with leaking, energy loss, and other issues. Neemann & Sons is a commercial and residential roofing and siding construction contractor and sub-contractor that has distinguished themselves for their honesty, craftsmanship, and excellent service. They offer steep slope, low slope, roofing, siding, gutter, wall-paneling, crane, and roof vacuuming services, among other things. Their commercial roofing company operates under the name of Sprague Roofing, a division of Neemann & Sons.

Jeff Johnston
Neemann & Sons

Jeff Johnston with Neemann & Sons shared what makes them stand out in their industry.

“Neemann & Sons is always highly efficient and competitively-priced, making us a great sub-contractor for general contractors to work with,” he said. “We want our clients to remember us for the positive experience they had while working with us throughout a project and also the exceptional delivery of the final finished product. Personally, I have 30 years of experience in the roofing and sheet metal industry. Neemann & Sons is staffed by many skilled and experienced craftsmen who really know what they’re doing. We always offer the very best in service and product.”

Neemann & Sons has over 30 years of experience designing and installing quality projects throughout the Lincoln community. Their roofing and siding specialists always work with clients to ensure their property receives top quality materials while delivering total satisfaction upon completion.

Restoration Projects

Jennifer Baldwin
McGill Restoration

One aspect of construction that really focuses on reviving and revitalizing buildings to extend their life and help them last for years to come is restoration. McGill Restoration takes their work seriously, and requires their crew to stay up-to-date with training and all the latest restoration technology. As a project manager and estimator for McGill Restoration, Jennifer Baldwin has performed extensive research on restoration for older buildings.

“When it comes to construction, generally when new construction is up, restoration or investment in aging infrastructure is down,” she shared. “However, with the influx of younger generations into the metro areas, we are seeing a steady increase in both new construction and restoration projects. The new construction is happening in the suburbs while the restoration is happening in the city centers. The trend of restoring older buildings or converting older spaces into modern designs is contributing to this trend. An excellent example of this is the Blackstone Hotel in midtown Omaha. This turn of the century building has been restored to its former glory,” Jennifer said.

Jennifer explained that restoration requires an in-depth understanding of a building’s history and details.

“When it comes to restoration, research is key. Researching the building, the materials, and the best techniques is essential to providing a beautifully restored building/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,” Jennifer said.

Because restoration involves different requirements than new construction, asking questions about the building is vital.

“I would say the best advice I have received is ‘ask a lot of questions and never make assumptions,’” she shared. “In restoration, you can never ask enough questions. The more questions you ask the more you learn the history of a structure, be it a parking garage, a Department of Transportation (DOT) bridge, or a building on the national historic registry. Every structure has a history and that history is important to its restoration.”

Jennifer makes sure to ask certain questions in her research of a building: When was it built? What is it going to be used for in the future? These questions will provide a lot of answers to the type of material that must be used in its restoration. Jennifer also explained that McGill Restoration specializes in these four market segments:

  • Industrial
  • Department of Transportation
  • Parking garages and stadiums
  • Masonry restoration

“Each of these areas are important to the aging infrastructure of our communities and nation. These are always our main focus of work and will continue to be long into the future,” she emphasized.

Jennifer’s most important advice for any construction project to be a success is to build a competent team.

“Construction is a team sport. Everyone from the architect and design team, all the way down to the project manager and craftsmen are vital to the success of a project,” she said.

Building Automation

Pat Killeen
Engineered Controls

Building automation can truly transform the quality and efficiency of a construction project. Pat Killeen, the president and CEO of Engineered Controls, told us about exciting updates emerging in building automation technology.

“We live in an era in which buildings of any size and shape can become intelligent buildings,” Pat said. “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. The systems also provide information on problems in the building, allow for computerized maintenance scheduling, are easy and effective for employees to use, and easily detect problems,” Pat pointed out.

One central location can now control all lighting, heating, cooling, and security functions, including outdoor controls and elevator controls. Pat talked how this is a must for businesses that wish to go green.

“There is now a great demand for energy efficient buildings, high-tech devices and enhanced security systems that are now a central component of the building automation system,” Pat said. “Wireless technology will continue to revolutionize the building automation system market. For example, lighting control systems with dimming and light harvesting capabilities are generating an especially high demand for these kinds of products. It is expected that the Internet of Things (IoT) devices will be instrumental in the integration of heating and cooling systems, hot and chilled water systems, card access systems, video management systems, lighting systems, power generators, pumps, and metering equipment…to name a few.”

“Long range analysis shows that there are a number of business sectors that are currently, and will continue to, drive the building automation sector of the building technology industry in the future,” Pat continued. “These include the demand for ‘green building technology,’ electrical energy management systems, LED lighting and lighting controls, security and access systems, asset management, smart buildings, and the technology convergence into one, holistic Building Automation and Control System. In addition, the demand for home automation products will increase the demand for more commercial automation products.”

Businesses aren’t only considering indoor optimization to improve efficiency and comfort, many are also looking to their outdoor space for remodeling projects. Corporations such as Google and Microsoft have elected for outdoor spaces that allow their employees to work outside of the office or enjoy a leisurely view. From Facebook in the Silicon Valley to Shutterstock in New York City, spacious rooftop work spaces have become a popular choice even when outdoor space isn’t readily available. Businesses incorporating a pleasing outdoor space into their plans can create a welcoming environment for customers and attract young professionals to see them as a desirable employer.

Whether you are looking into a new construction project, a remodeling project, a restoration project, or any other kind of construction project, there are many qualified construction experts in the area who have access to the latest technologies and products to help you achieve high-quality results! Look to them to help you construct the perfect building for your business.