As Lincoln continues to grow and evolve, the commercial landscape of our community is in a constant state of change. Just take a drive around town and you’ll see many new projects from ground zero to those that just opened their doors for business. In accommodating the influx of commercial construction projects, our local workforce is composed of highly skilled professionals who in many cases offer generations of knowledge and expertise. From start to finish, there are many different aspects that go into this type of project so it’s of the utmost importance to be in good hands when it comes to commercial construction endeavors.
Getting Your Project Started
Besides finding out the specifics of your budget, the first step in planning for commercial construction is to choose who will be taking on your project. Lincoln certainly isn’t lacking in talent or experience in this area, but as these are generally lengthy projects that require a major investment, it is important to do your research and ask plenty of questions before making a final commitment. This will help to ensure that you will be working with the professionals who are the best fit for the job.
Cheever Construction is a full-service commercial contractor that will not only construct your new building, but can also assist in the initial planning stages by coordinating the design team required to transform your wants and needs into reality. “Cheever Construction has a diverse history of successfully building various types of structures,” explains Wes Oestreich of Cheever Construction. “Our experienced superintendents and skilled tradesman are well equipped to install concrete foundations, rough and finish carpentry, as well as the installation of doors, hardware, cabinets, toilet partitions, and a wide variety of specialty items.
Incorporating design and fixture selections that lend themselves toward energy efficient operational costs are an important factor to most every commercial construction project. Some of these features are required by current codes (i.e. lighting sensor controls), while others are practical selections that will provide a ROI (return on investment) in a few short years and make the initial higher cost a smart long term choice. This might include LED lamp fixtures in lieu of fluorescent or incandescent, or a groundwater closed loop well for pre-heat/cool in lieu of electric or gas fired systems.
At Cheever, we emphasize communication and education. When a client fully communicates their wants, needs and how they intend to utilize their new space or building, we are then able to educate them on advantages of certain materials or finishes that will function best for their demands. We also provide realistic cost assessment for their budget analysis, allowing them to make informed decisions. Our first objective is to LISTEN carefully to a client’s requests; next, to fully COMPREHEND their expectations for function and cost; lastly, to DELIVER a professional result in a timely manner. We accomplish this through the talents and skills of our experienced managers, estimators and craftsmen.”
TCW Construction is another local powerhouse that has made a name for itself in the area of commercial construction. “Our main points of concentration really focus on concrete and metal building work; we like to tie those together,” explains Chad Aldrich of TCW Construction. “In this way, we are a one-source company for concrete work, building and erection and we work with many local architects for design-build projects as well. Commercial construction is always a team effort where the owner and builder get together and form a team in order to come up with a plan for the most efficient way to complete the project. This includes our professional recommendations as to the best course of action with respect to constructability and value engineering. With all of the details in front of us, we can implement a plan that allows for the best outcome while sticking to constraints with budget and timeline. Our experience allows us to offer plenty of options to solve just about any problem. For example, with the Pinnacle Bank Arena paving we utilized Fibermesh instead of Rebar, which sped up the process of pouring the concrete significantly without sacrificing the quality of work or integrity of the finished product. A builder’s experience really helps to solve a lot of problems.
As I previously mentioned, we are a one-source builder so we can do dirt work, foundation, paving, floors, and as a Butler Builder we can even supply the pre-engineered building and erection. This also helps to avoid any confusion as there is only one source for communication as well. We are held accountable as the only ones working on the project, which works well for us and our clients.”
With respect to a good starting point, he advises, “Set a budget and then make sure you have the banking assets and funds to back up that budget. As a contractor we can always help the customer set that budget early. Once we have a ball park estimate of the facets of the project and a little scope, we are able to provide a rough estimate that can be used to set an initial budget. This is most helpful in deciding whether you want to move forward. This then moves to the next phase of 30% design and a better idea of the budget, which is also another chance to evaluate before fully committing to the project. Then, if the decision is made to move forward at that point it goes to 100%. The beauty of our planning system, which incorporates these checkpoints, is the level of accuracy on the financial side before you’ve gone too far in the process to turn back.”
The bidding process also has a lot to do with the planning and budgeting of a project. “There is an established perception that the low bid in a competitive bidding process results in the best value,” explains Scott Sandquist of Sandquist Construction. “While this may sometimes be true, the exceptions may actually constitute the majority in this case. Why? The fault of this common misperception is that every bidder will provide the same identical services. Oddly enough, most clients know this to be quite untrue. Yet despite the common knowledge that different contractors will provide different quality of services, many potential clients still often seek a low bid rather than best economical value. We recommend selecting the best qualified and competitive bidders. A general contractor selected for their credibility can select the best qualified and most competitive subcontractors and suppliers, and with few exceptions, this is our recommendation to achieve the most successful results.
Sandquist Construction provides full service Construction Manager and General Contractor services during the preconstruction phase, working with the owner’s other consultants and recommending the most beneficial approach to ensure project costs are within the owner’s required budget. We continue this same approach of cost control as we transition into the construction phase as the General Contractor. Sandquist Construction has been selected for more and more projects during or preceding the design phase based upon our credibility and qualifications–essentially our extensive knowledge and skills, expertise, reputation and integrity. We plan to focus on continuing this approach in addition to competitive bidding with the best value for our clients in mind.”
“Commercial construction has changed a lot in recent years. Something that does not change is the need for valuable planning that should take place before construction starts,” adds John Henry (Jack) Zohner, owner of John Henry’s Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning. “Careful planning sets the tone for successful final projects that will meet needs for years to come. In many ways planning for commercial construction could be considered part of a formal Business Plan because of the long-term impact on the bottom line.
A great example is in heating and air conditioning design. Too often concentration is placed on low bids that typically result in substantially higher energy bills and an uncomfortable building with poor indoor air quality. Planning up front can help avoid issues.
The trend seems to be towards smaller buildings, which gives more opportunity for energy savings. As a prime example, heating and air conditioning equipment itself is considerably more energy efficient and affordable. Maintenance is also typically cheaper. A Service Maintenance Plan will pay for itself in energy efficiency and equipment life. Rooftop air handling units are improving energy efficiency as well; newer rooftop units are operating at 80% or more in efficiency while the older models are only at about 40%. That’s an incredible savings you’ll see over the entire life of the unit.”
He further advises, “It’s important to start with a company that concentrates on service first before proceeding with the final construction design. The end result will be much better.
It’s equally important to avoid the temptation to take the cheapest bids. A friend that lives in a nearby county recently found out the hard way after the construction project for his business was completed. The low bid was a local contractor that installed water piping in an attic that was not heated. The piping froze and flooded the business. The PVC sewer piping did not get glued properly either, which resulted in moldy sewage in the walls. The HVAC equipment operates poorly and inefficiently. The project did not require permits or inspections in that county. There was a cost overrun of 60%. The lawsuit continues on.
Personally, I have never had to apologize for good quality!”
The commercial landscape of Lincoln continues to flourish; and with such a healthy economy and a business community full of opportunity, this will continue well into the future. “We are seeing continued interest from clients and property owners in the downtown and Haymarket districts, especially for housing and hospitality markets,” says Gill Peace, owner of Peace Studio Architects, Inc. “We are currently working with several interested developers to find suitable downtown locations to build large scale student housing, apartments, and a new hotel.
There is increasing activity in the area south of the traditional downtown area as well. Recent projects built along Centennial Mall by Farmers Mutual and NEBCO are evidence that the areas surrounding downtown Lincoln and the Haymarket are gaining momentum. We believe this momentum for downtown living and entertainment opportunities will continue and hope to be an active part of this exciting time for Lincoln.
Owners are also looking at opportunities outside of downtown that range to the corners of the city. Many of those opportunities involve our input on land planning and master planning the development of multi-acre sites. Our planning background gives us a unique added value to help shape the architecture as well as the land use patterns of new developments.
Peace Studio Architects, Inc. is a group of dedicated professionals who are passionate about design and committed to client service. We work on a diverse range of projects with a common focus: to improve the built environment and exceed expectations. A year and a half into our venture, we continue to seek clients that value great design and innovative, creative solutions to challenges. We really like Lincoln and what we do and hope that it is expressed in our projects.”
In truth, the relationships that are established between commercial builders, trade professionals and the clients who are taking on such a major investment are the ones that are responsible for the growth and prosperity of our business community as a whole.
“Regal Building Systems strives to help our fellow Lincolnites move forward with plans for their new building and we have the capability to handle the project from conception all the way to completion,” explains Dan Klein, Sr., owner of Regal Building Systems. “Our goal with every project is to deliver our clients the space they need to breathe life into their operations or growth as they continue to pursue their goals and follow their dreams. Regal started 24 years ago as a home builder, and 18 years ago we embarked on our first commercial project. We have completed commercial projects ranging from a small office at 5,000 square feet to a healthcare facility in Salina, KS encompassing over 100,000 square feet. In Lincoln, The Waterford Communities continue to flourish with the support of our team at Regal Building Systems. Aside from these projects, which are truly our passion, we have the capabilities to extend out to all types of projects in the community that are seeking value engineering—our approach is to do things in an economical way while maintaining the beauty, functionality and design that the client has envisioned.
On the commercial side, a great deal of our experience is in building healthcare facilities of all types. As a prime example, we recently completed a state-of-the-art, 16-apartment Alzheimer’s and dementia care facility that was designed specifically with the needs of these residents in mind. Taking on this project required us to design a facility that would meet these individuals’ specific needs—large spaces are disconcerting to those with Alzheimer’s and dementia, so we designed the property with cozy, smaller apartments and community spaces for that reason. Our skill set has allowed us to thoughtfully blend commercial and residential property design together for functionality and comfort in a healthcare setting. Over the years we’ve assembled a wonderful team of subcontractors and jobsite leaders who are dedicated and excel in their attention to detail. Dan Klein Jr. has been instrumental in leading our team and overseeing all commercial projects from start to finish; his eye for detail and strong organizational skills allow us to create an end product that looks and functions every bit as well as what was intended in the original concept. In commercial construction projects, there are so many aspects that need to be brought together and done well, and we hold each other to a high standard of excellence. When you form a team to build something, you are also building a working relationship and even a friendship. You give your word that you will accomplish what you set out to do, and you are all contributing something of value to one another. My best advice is to make sure you are working with professionals of integrity and forming valuable relationships that will carry on well after your building is finished. These projects aren’t always smooth or easy, but if you are able to put your trust in the people you work with, it will ensure the collective success of everyone involved.”
There are basic elements of any structure that are taken into consideration when designing the plans to be used over the course of the project. Darin Cielocha of McGill Restoration offers key areas to consider with respect to commercial structures:
Commercial roofing systems, in most regards have not changed in basic design concepts over the past quarter of a century, but the materials and installation methods have continued to evolve and have been improved upon. Design professionals have a great variety of different types of materials that are lighter, more durable, designed to last longer, and have a wider variety of color and textures to choose from today than they did many years ago. At the same time, the most important criteria of a roof structure should always be kept in mind – keeping moisture out of the building’s structure and looking to divert water away from the structure as quickly and easily as possible. These are tasks that are easier said than done! Like any key component to a building structure the roof and foundation are probably the most critical parts of the building, but not always the simplest to design. However, you DO NOT want to cut cost out of these two areas of the building structure in construction or future maintenance. What it really comes down to is that there are always good, better, and best options to choose from when looking at different types of roofing systems. They vary by price tags; expect different life cycles of materials and different warranties that manufacturers can offer to owners. In short, you get what you can afford to pay for. Regardless of what roofing system you choose for your building, it really comes down to the small details. This includes making sure that the roof’s termination points, overlaying seams and roof-to-wall details are flashed and sealed properly. Those areas of the roof should be checked and maintained every year, to ensure that any problem is caught and corrected before real issues start.
Windows & Doors:
This also falls back into that good, better, and best selection criteria when designing new buildings or renovating older ones. In my experience, it’s best to make selections of materials that best fit the functionality and design that the owner wants. It’s also important to understand how those windows and doors are going to be integrated with the different materials they are being installed with or next to (i.e. brick, metal, wood, etc.). All materials have different coefficients of linear expansion; in simple terms, they all heat up and cool down differently. Speaking from our side of construction, this is very important to understand. We need to know what types of joint sealants are going to be compatible when sealing around the perimeters of doors and windows. There are many different types of joint sealant materials (urethane, silicone, hybrid, etc.) still available to choose from today. It’s best to understand the benefits of each of the different types of joint sealants to utilize the one that best suits the materials being used. Also, make sure to take the expected life cycle of each into account. Joint sealants around doors and windows need to be looked at every 3 –5 years, but they can last on the upwards of 20 years.
Overall, in terms of his experience with commercial buildings, he advises, “What I have seen is that design professionals have been asked to design for the ‘economical’ times owners find themselves in. By this I mean that when businesses are looking to get up a building fast and occupy quickly, they look to construction methods that get the building up and opened – ready for business as soon as possible! When this type of approach is taken, best construction practices get compromised and the life-expectancy of a structure can be shortened. It is almost a ‘disposable’ approach to building. This was really prevalent back in the mid-90’s when there was such a construction boom and the economic outlook was strong. Like anything that goes up, it eventually comes down. In the marketplace today, I believe that there were lessons learned and design professionals and contractors are looking to build structures that will be around for the next turn of the century. As a society, we are moving towards being more sustainable in our approach to constructing buildings and more conscientious of what we are going to leave behind for the next generation to take care of.
As far as quality and durability of materials, cost of maintenance, efficiency and longevity, and what’s worth the extra money for the overall investment in the building – that’s simple, build with concrete and masonry! If you look at the majority of buildings around the country that have shaped the skylines of many cities, the use of concrete and masonry materials are a very common building component to most building structures. Now, I know that you cannot design roof systems out of concrete and masonry, but clay tiles can also be used in a roofing application. Although I am not an expert on all of the different roofing systems available today in the marketplace, I would strongly suggest looking for the best system that would complement a masonry and/or concrete structure. I might be a little biased when it comes to suggesting concrete and masonry materials for a building, having spent almost the last twenty five years selling and fixing these types of materials and structures, but I can assure you they are well worth it in the long run.”
Incorporating Building Systems and Technology
Technology is moving forward in leaps and bounds, giving us more power at our fingertips than ever before. While its applications in the commercial world are constantly evolving to be more elegant and expansive, technology in this area has also moved in a more user-friendly direction and become more widely accessible. This includes technology that helps us communicate and display information, promotes efficiency and facilitates our day-to-day work, and assists us in controlling our building’s environment and safeguarding our operations. In this day and age it’s certainly not surprising that there’s a wealth of technology designed specifically for commercial use, and even more specifically for the different needs of each business.
Planning to include technology that will control your building’s systems during the construction phase can greatly enhance your general operations in many ways. Pat Killeen of Engineered Controls offers his expertise on current technology available as well as key areas where building control technology can be extremely beneficial:
“As a building control technology contractor, our goal at Engineered Controls is to provide customers with targeted products and services to create efficient, safe and comfortable building environments. Most of our day-to-day business includes servicing and installing Honeywell building automation systems, or simply referred to as BAS systems. The BAS is a computerized, intelligent network of electronic devices, designed to monitor and control the mechanical sub-systems (i.e. fan systems, chilled water system, hot water system, steam system, pumping systems, etc.) and the electrical sub-systems (lighting systems, electrical, water and gas metering, security systems, access systems, video systems, etc.) in a building. The BAS core functionality is to: 1) Keep the building climate (temperature, pressure, humidity, carbon dioxide, etc.) within a specified range; 2) Maintain desired light levels in the space; 3) Ensure that the building is being monitored and controlled from a security perspective; 4) Monitor and control all the sub-systems performance constantly and advise the building operator when deviations from norms or device failures have occurred; 5) Do all of the above with the minimum amount of energy (electricity, gas, water, etc.); and 6) Provide all of this information to the customer by way of having internet connectivity at anywhere they are in the world.
Engineered Controls has two primary business segments – New Construction and Building Service. Our New Construction group focuses on providing traditional temperature control and digital building automation systems (BAS) for the new construction industry. With our experienced staff of sales, engineers and installation technicians, combined with our excellent relationships within the consulting engineering and contracting community, Engineered Controls has positioned itself to be the low cost leader in the plan and specification market in Nebraska and Iowa. Our Building Services group’s focus is to provide a variety of products and services directed to our existing customer base. It is their responsibility to perform our scheduled Planned Service Agreement (traditional preventative maintenance work), retrofit work, and unscheduled demand service work for equipment breakdowns and repair.
Energy use in a commercial building is becoming an ever-increasing financial concern and operational problem for building owners. Building owners are looking for reliable, cost-effective solutions to answer these new energy challenges and reduce their carbon footprint. To that end, Engineered Controls has an Energy & Environmental Optimization or EEO program that is designed to leverage a broad portfolio of energy efficiency products and solutions, as well as offer a high level of energy expertise to commercial buildings in the hands of our skilled, knowledgeable and certified EEO professionals. Our EEO team can help building owners and managers obtain real-world data to help them make fact-based decisions about how to optimize their buildings for occupants comfort and save energy at the same time.
Our preventative care program focuses on the building hardware and is a standardized preventative maintenance program on a building controls system to maximize the systems reliability and to minimize the operational costs. In other words, our PSA program offers comprehensive system wide checkups and testing to ensure that the control system is always operating at peak operating performance. Building systems that are properly maintained and controlled will enable you to focus on the core of your business while ensuring that everything is running efficiently. This also promotes longevity of equipment, protection of employees and equipment due to proper security measures, and energy efficiency which will result in minimizing operating costs and future unplanned capital expenditures.
Interoperability and computer/ cloud security are hot buttons right now that can be addressed in the planning process. In the building technology industry, interoperability is the ability to make a variety of a building’s sub-systems (like pumps, motors, generators, switchgear, lighting equipment, etc.) communicate on a common protocol and indirectly work together. Think of it as an industry standard that allows for the exchange of information regardless of equipment type, model or manufacturer. This provides a valuable ‘scalable solution’ for building owners to manage data and make the necessary adjustments to maximize a building’s environment and energy.
As more and more building owners want to manage their buildings remotely, building automation systems or ‘smart buildings’ are networkable by allowing them to connect to the Internet. But the functionality that the Internet brings can have a price to pay. It’s important to remember that when introducing the Internet into the BAS environment all of your system devices, equipment and computers on the network are now subject to attack from outside intruders. There are various ways building owners can protect their systems from attack. Putting systems behind firewalls is highly recommended. Another defense is keeping their systems updated. As with computers, building automation systems require updates to add enhanced functionality and security measures. We encourage our customers to purchase planned service agreements to keep their BAS systems up-to-date with the latest software patches and to perform frequent backups.”
He further advises, “Building owners need to know what they are buying, so it is crucial for them to participate in the bidding process and to be a smart buyer. Since the new construction industry consists of architects, consulting engineers, general contractors, mechanical contractors, and so on, many of the basic decisions that are being made regarding the BAS system are all being made by everyone EXCEPT the customer. Far too often we spend months at a time assisting in the construction of a new building, only to find out later the client did not get what they wanted. Or occasionally the BAS system is too complicated for them to operate. So the moral of the story for building owners is to get involved, ask questions, know what you want, and know what you are getting BEFORE the decisions are made by everyone but you, the customer.”
It is also crucial to safeguard the operations of your business by incorporating a back-up power system, and this is something that can be considered in the planning process as opposed to waiting until after construction has been completed. Generators serve as a valuable back-up system that can be tailored to the needs of small businesses as well as larger ones. “We’ve worked with many small business clients, such as data centers, offices of real estate agents, and restaurants as just a few examples,” says Tobias Sommer, owner of Generators for Sale. “At the end of the day for business owners, time is money and if the power goes out it can very much impact your operations and your bottom line. A generator can keep vital systems such as security, lights, heating and cooling, refrigeration, and even the phones working in the event of a power outage. Having a back-up system for power in case of outage, whether it’s a smaller one for an important part of the business or one that keeps the entire business up and running, is absolutely in the best interest of any business owner. Here’s a great example – one of our clients, a small restaurant franchise, had us supply a back-up system that could run their entire store. The power went out one day and they were the only store in the area that remained operational. Their sales that day tripled, because they were the only ones open, so the generator paid for itself that day alone! Not only did they not lose product or business, they had a serious competitive advantage. Another current concern is cyber-attacks, and our back-up systems can help prevent someone from taking the entire grid out. More and more businesses will be affected by this in the imminent future; we can all potentially be affected by these large scale outages.
Many times a generator is an afterthought for businesses, whether after suffering the effects of being unprepared for an outage or realizing what they have to lose in the event that an outage occurs. At Generators for Sale, this is our specialty and we enjoy being a part of the planning process for commercial construction projects. We can assist in planning for the components that you want to continue running no matter what, or in tailoring a system that will best fit the comprehensive needs of your business. For those who don’t know who to talk to in this area, I can certainly facilitate the engineering. We have the ability to build the system in so that it doesn’t take as big of a generator to run the specific parts requested, so our clients can save a lot of money here as opposed to re-engineering after the fact. Bringing professionals from every aspect of the project on at the very beginning will allow you to save money and get the best of the technology and systems that are available. As a manufacturer, we are always up on the newest products coming out that can alleviate common issues or work better for certain scenarios. If you’re considering an upcoming commercial construction project, and your goal is to never have your business or its essential systems go down, we can definitely be of assistance.”
Aside from keeping your building’s vital systems up and running, you’ll also want to focus on integrating technology to enhance other areas of your operations. “2015 is shaping up to be a year that embraces audio/visual systems in facilities,” poses Adam Karavas, President of Electronic Contracting Company. “Our customers are not only looking to upgrade A/V systems for the boardroom, but also extending their communication capabilities throughout their facilities with digital signage. The systems industry will continue to gravitate to I/P network based digital communications to deliver services and content in 2015. As processing power increases and content storage costs decline, the capabilities of the systems we offer continue to grow.
As technology continues to change and evolve, Electronic Contracting Company has factory trained technicians who can provide facilities with programming, configuration, and system design services that allow our customers to maximize the value they receive from a new system. Customers can receive the most value by working with integrators like Electronic Contracting Company that can facilitate integrations across previously disparate systems.
We always advise prospective clients to do their own research on companies they are considering to provide their systems. Many systems have an effective life span of 10-15 years. As an owner, you want to be sure the company you select for your design, installation, and service has been in the market and knows what they are doing. Of equal importance is determining if the company is financially strong enough to ensure that they will be available to service your system across its 10-15 year life span. Ask for customer references and visit with existing customers of the company before you commit. Electronic Contracting Company prides itself in being available to help customers before, during, and after the sale as it has done since 1978.
Above all, Electronic Contracting Company prides itself in its ability to respond to a customer’s needs and provide solutions to their low voltage systems requirements. We are unique in our ability to fabricate in-house custom configurations and components required for one-time specialty applications. Our company has provided safety, security, and communications solutions for educational, industrial, heath care, correctional, hospitality, and religious facilities. These includes total design, installation, and service of Audio/Visual, Fire Alarm, Security, Nurse Call, Pro Sound, Intercom, CCTV, and Access Control systems in a design/build process. We can work directly with the owner or work with consultants, architects, engineers, and prime and electrical contractors to provide complete solutions to the commercial/industrial end user.
Electronic Contracting Company provides many more system solutions than those mentioned above. For a deeper dive, we encourage prospective customers to visit our website at www.eccoinc.com for a more complete look at all of the solutions we can provide. We look forward to embracing new and evolving technologies and making those solutions available to our customers in 2015 as the economy continues to grow.”
Thinking outside of the box for solutions that best address your project goals is important in commercial construction, especially with the wide range of applications as technology evolves. “Many people don’t think 3M Window Films when they hear the words ‘Commercial Construction,’” says Keith May, owner of The Tint Shop. “Believe it or not, 3M Window Films are still somewhat new in the commercial construction industry and quite an untapped resource for solving problems that buildings and builders face. Even though 3M invented window film in 1966, people are still unfamiliar with everything the window film industry has to offer besides automotive films, and because of that, are missing out on the benefits 3M Window Film can offer.
The technological advancements in 3M Window Films in the last decade are simply amazing. Micro-layering technology and Daylight Redirecting Film are just the beginning of what is to come in options for Solar Control Window Films. But 3M Window Films have MUCH more to offer than Solar Control Films too. Decorative Window Films, sometimes referred to as “Frost Films” are one of the BIGGEST trends in new commercial construction right now. The 3M Fasara line of Decorative Films offers a wide variety of Frost finishes including Lined, Dot, Prism, and Etched finishes. These films are perfect for today’s modern office designs, which are replacing walls and doors with glass. While this gives the office a very ‘open’ feel and makes the work space not as closed off to the world, it does come with some drawbacks. One of the biggest complaints we hear regarding the glass ‘open’ floor plan is the lack of privacy. Privacy in an office, or on a desk, is a big concern in some cases. This may also be the case in conference rooms. Sure the glass-enclosed conference room looks great and is very impressive, but if you are trying to have an important meeting with an overhead or projector, you are having that meeting with whoever is on the outside of the glass room as well. Another problem that comes along with giving full visibility into offices is clutter. Whether it’s an unorganized employee’s desk, an employee break room, server-IT room, or even just the bundle of wires under employee’s desks, 3M Fasara Window Films can conceal all of those things, and do it without sacrificing light or costly glass upgrades. At the same time, it gives the whole office a nicer decorative appeal as well as breaking up all the glass.
3M Safety and Security Window Films are another product that is often written into plans or added after the fact, once a possible problem arises with the design. For example, the 3M Security Films are used on all federal government buildings internationally for blast mitigation and protection. Even 3M’s mid-level security film will meet GSA 3b blast requirements, and will outperform any film of equal thickness on the market. 3M’s Security Films use a micro-weaving technology that gives a 4 mil film the strength of a 7 or 8 mil film from a competitor. These films are also used widely in jewelry stores, pawn shops, banks and financial institutions, and even front doors of convenience stores to prevent the quick ‘smash and grab’ thefts. A few local companies have decided to install these films for that fact alone. With the correct film, bricks and cinder blocks will simply bounce off the window. The window will break, but the film will not tear and will hold the glass together to stop intrusion. To be fair though, given enough time, and determination, a criminal may still get in the building, but the idea is that the film prolongs that enough to give law enforcement time to arrive.
The Tint Shop is the ONLY 3M University-Certified Window Film Dealer in the state of Nebraska. This gives us furthered education on the products and practices of 3M, as well as education on glass types, situations, and customer service expectations. So our clients are guaranteed to get all of the information and professional advice they need to find a film that is right for their building or situation. Call for a free estimate, or any questions you may have about 3M’s line of Window Films.”
Exterior Features of Your New Property
In planning for the construction of your new building, you’ll want to broaden your focus out to include the entirety of your property as well. This includes all exterior features you’ll be incorporating; parking lot, entrances, outdoor gathering spaces, landscaping, signage, and so on. The sooner you involve all parties who will be assisting you with your project, the better the end result!
“All too often an in-field landscaper is not at the table during the design stage,” explains Ken Svoboda, owner of Ray’s Lawn & Home Care. “Yet for ease of maintenance, which in most cases saves money, the damage is already done for the sake of a construction budget or the vision of the architect or designer involved on the project. A landscaper involved in the early stages of design can eliminate or drastically reduce many of the maintenance nightmares that add to the high annual maintenance costs.
For example, one common practice in commercial developments is to plant grass below trees that are planted on parking lot islands. No one will argue that grass adds beauty to an otherwise stark concrete desert and the tree adds shade and coolness to an oasis. Unfortunately, the cost to add irrigation to parking lot islands is prohibitive and within a few years the grass is thin if non-existent due to the excessive heat and lack of moisture. If the experienced voice of a professional landscaper is injected in the early stages a similar look can be suggested with far fewer budgetary issues. There are numerous options to this common problem. The design experts at Ray’s Lawn & Home Care with nearly fifty years of experience can provide the design team cost effective yet attractive alternatives.
Additionally, I always help my commercial clients project the on-going maintenance costs of a new or renovated landscape. A beautifully installed landscape will always require a certain level of upkeep to maintain that initial luster. After the first year, plants will grow and if not trimmed or pruned will quickly get out of hand. If mulch is added to the landscape, stirring of the mulch for that fresh look each spring or replacement for that new look is required. I always encourage my clients to landscape to their future annual maintenance budget. We also work very closely with our clients with a very careful and experienced eye on safety; safety for both clients and their employees. A landscape design should never provide hiding places for would-be thieves or those wishing to do harm to individuals or property. The one stable and common thread throughout all of our commercial clients is the value of a well-maintained landscape whether it be for their employees or their clients.”
He adds, “Commercial landscapes are no different than residential landscapes. They should match the owner’s personality, lifestyle and values. A bank or financial institution will want to project a conservative stability with large mature trees at the initial planting while a factory or manufacturing plant wishes to soften the large box-like look. A retail center wants an open inviting look where an office building prefers a well-manicured professional appearance.
A properly installed and well-manicured landscape will add real monetary value to the property. A well maintained landscape shows potential as well as returning customers that their comfort is important. It reflects on the business’s appreciation of not only their clients but complimenting the neighborhoods beauty and inclusion. Ray’s Lawn & Home Care not only shares the values of our commercial clients but goes beyond the basic services to enhance our client’s appearance.
“Presenting a positive image is important to any business, and a healthy, attractive lawn and landscape can certainly boost a visitor’s impression of a property or an employee’s enjoyment of their work environment. Hunt Irrigation, Inc. is a full service commercial company. We offer CAD design services using the latest computer aided drawing programs, and promote the latest BMP (best management practices) in irrigation design and layout which ensures the most efficient irrigation system. Our staff also has a nationally Certified Irrigation Contractor (certified by the Irrigation Association), as well as an EPA Water Sense Partner and two Nebraska Certified Backflow Operators to handle all of the backflow requirements of your commercial building.
Water is a nonrenewable resource, and at Hunt Irrigation, The Water Smart Company, we take that responsibility very seriously. With potable water being a large portion of our business model we believe that being good stewards is of the utmost importance.
There has been some great water saving advancements in irrigation technology in the last ten years. One of the biggest advancements has been in Smart Controllers. ‘Smart’ irrigation controllers maximize outdoor water use efficiency by using climate and site, or soil moisture data, as a basis for irrigation scheduling/maintaining, and in many cases enhancing, the health and beauty of landscaping. Once the ‘smart’ controller is installed and set up, the ‘smart’ controller automatically takes care of seasonal weather/site specific adjustments and does not require ongoing monitoring.
Commercial outdoor water use in the United States accounts for more than 9 billion gallons of water each day, mainly for lawn and landscape irrigation. Experts estimate that as much as 50 percent of this water is wasted due to over watering caused by inefficiencies in irrigation methods and systems. Irrigation control technologies can significantly reduce over watering by applying water when and where the turf and plants require it.
Drip irrigation has been used for years in landscape beds; however, a newer concept in drip is SDI (subsurface irrigation) for turf. Subsurface drip irrigation is a variation on traditional drip irrigation where the dripline (tubing and drippers) is buried beneath the soil surface, rather than laid on the ground. SDI is more than an irrigation system; it is a root zone management tool. Water and fertilizer can be applied to the root zone in a quantity where and when it will be most beneficial, resulting in greater use efficiencies and better turf performance.
Subsurface works great in high traffic areas, in those places that are harder to irrigate such as the parkways (area between the curb and sidewalk) and areas prone to vandalism. The SDI is typically buried about 5” below the surface and there are no mechanical working parts to malfunction. In our area the soil is heavy in clay and while SDI will operate efficiently in clay soils to yield the maximum benefit of SDI amending the soil or replacing the top 5” of soil with a loam soil will improve the overall efficiency of the SDI and produce a healthier turf.
Along with climate ‘smart’ controllers and SDI some areas of Lincoln experience high water pressure. When irrigating with spray heads (the ones that pop up but do not oscillate) the optimum pressure for the head is 30psi. As the pressure increases over 30psi the efficiency of the head decreases. Using a pressure regulated spray vs. a non-pressure regulated spray head in those high pressure situations can reduce water consumption by 30%. So if you are irrigating a one-acre commercial site with spray heads you could save 8,146 gallons of water per week or roughly 285,000 gallons of water per year — $1,400 per year (27,154 gallons of water/acre 1”).
Along with these manufactured water saving products the most important part of any underground sprinkler system is the design. Like just about anything in life, with a good foundation come excellent results which will last a lifetime. Components can always be upgraded, but to upgrade a bad design can become very costly. At Hunt Irrigation, we offer design services as well as the installation and service of commercial irrigation systems. With the use of CAD (computer aided design) we can work with your engineer or architectural firm to layout/design the most efficient irrigation system possible. After the installation we also offer our clients a scaled as-built blueprint. The as-built is the road map to your irrigation system. We not only deliver this blue print to your facility at the completion of the installation, but we also archive every as-built on our in-house server and in the cloud so if you ever lose it we will have a back-up copy at your request.
Construction planning is a fundamental and challenging activity. It involves the choice of technologies, the estimation of the required resources and durations for individual tasks. A good construction plan is the basis for developing the budget and the schedule for work, so developing this is a critical task. In addition to these technical aspects of construction planning, it may also be necessary to make organizational decisions about the relationships between project participants/subcontractors and even which organizations to include in a project. When it is time to design your irrigation system think Hunt Irrigation, Inc., The Water Smart Company.”
So for anyone who will be considering an upcoming commercial construction project, no matter the size or scope, the most important thing to consider is exactly what you want and who you’ll need to work with to reach that goal. Assembling the best team of professionals for the job will allow you a farther reach into all of the possibilities that are available to you (many of which you might have no idea about going into the planning process), will allow you a clearer picture in terms of budget, timeline, and future considerations, and will protect you from costly errors and/or delays along the way.