Is your commercial space in need of a facelift? Remodeling is a great choice for commercial buildings that have a good foundation but are just in need of a bit of TLC. Remodeling could be done to update the look of the building, implement more efficient methods in regards to the plumbing, electrical, or HVAC, better utilize the space, or all of the above. In addition, remodeling is typically the quicker and less expensive option when compared to building a completely new space.
Thinking about remodeling your current workspace? Or perhaps you’re a new business owner looking to settle down in a commercial building and are interested in learning more about what all a commercial remodel entails. Regardless of where you are at in your business journey, it’s always good to know your options in the local area for when you decide to do a little bit of a renovating. We went straight to the professionals to hear what they suggest for any soon-to-be owners of remodeled spaces, and how their business can help you reach your goals for your workspace.
Your Construction Partner for Life
As an employee-owned firm that has been in business for over 60 years, you can be assured that Cheever Construction (cheeverconstruction.com) will deliver on their promises. There’s a good chance you have seen some of Cheever’s renovation work throughout Lincoln within the last several years; projects have included St. Teresa’s sanctuary, Southeast Community College Culinary Arts building, Willard Community Center, Tabitha’s Williamsburg campus, Barry’s Bar & Grill, Raising Cane’s in downtown, and much more. For each project, decisions on many different aspects will affect the ultimate outcome.
“While there are many different delivery methods, the three that are most often used are design-bid-build, construction management, and design build,” explained President Justin Kurtzer. “To start, in design-bid-build delivery, a business owner hires an architect to design the remodel in full. They create both a plan and specifications to fulfill the owner’s program requirements. The project goes out for competitive bid to a select group of general contractors, or as ‘open-to-all.’”
Some of the advantages of design-bid-build include its single point of responsibility for construction, compliance with public bidding policies, construction documents that clearly define the scope of work, and a project cost that is established through the bidding process. As for the construction management approach, it begins with a business owner hiring a construction manager early in the planning process to provide pre-construction services; working with the architect and/or engineer (under separate contracts with the owner) to establish the project program, constructability, and schedule; and establish benchmark budgets in a team environment.
“With a design-build approach, a business hires, under a single contract, the construction manager and design professional, which combine services to provide a single point of accountability for the entire project,” explained Justin. “The entity is responsible for delivering both the design documents and completing construction according to the owner’s requirements. Some advantages of this approach are that the contractor has input during design, the price is guaranteed, there is a single point of responsibility for construction, and design and construction can overlap to accelerate project delivery.
“Whichever method you choose, Cheever Construction approaches each project with consistent objectives for success. We utilize an effective schedule coupled with the quality and skill from our subcontractors and combined with our field craftsmen. Cheever takes pride in all of the relationships that we have entered into. We strive to make each project the precursor to the next project, while building a lasting relationship with everyone involved,” Justin concluded.
General Contracting and Much More
At Kingery Construction (kccobuilders.com), you can find general contracting, design-bid-build, design-bid, pre-bond/pre-construction assistance, and construction management services. Kingery can assist in all phases of your construction project; from assistance on where to start and how to organize in the early stages of planning to moving forward with a design, Kingery will be the partner by your side every step of the way.
“The first step should be to select a contractor prior to creating the design. This will help to ensure that the project runs more smoothly and that suggested design concepts are viable in the space being remodeled,” said Vice President Rick Wintermute. “Also be sure to verify design efficiency with your contractor, regarding construction costs to help your project stay on budget and within your desired schedule. Finally, utilize your contractor to educate you about the plans, so that the vision and final product are what you are expecting.”
It’s also wise for the client to interview the superintendent who will be working on the project. Rick explained that remodeling projects can be somewhat more difficult than new projects, so it’s a good idea to establish a relationship with the superintendent and understand who you will be working with.
“When architectural designs for a remodel include demolition, there is a strong possibility there will be several hidden challenges that present themselves during the demo,” Rick explained. “Solutions need to be found quickly and require a flexible superintendent. The remodel process is very different than new construction, which allows you to start from the ground up.”
Prioritize Building Needs
There’s a pretty good chance you’ve seen New Generation Construction (NGC, ngcgroupinc.com) conducting some remodeling work recently. They’re in the midst of renovating one of Nebraska’s most recognizable, long-standing stoic landmarks – The Terminal Building! Located at 10th and O Street in downtown Lincoln, NGC is updating the existing 10-story beacon into a multi-family mixed-use building. Retaining its historic charm, the building will be home to a bank on the first and second floor, with luxury condos found on levels five through nine called Traction Lofts.
“A growing trend in remodeling is preserving history with a modern twist,” shared Senior Project Manager Taylor Shapland. “The towns we live and work in have a lot of rich culture and history. Some tenants may have been in their buildings for decades and love certain aspects of their building and the stories that come with it, but need some modern upgrades to help with energy consumption, attracting talent and customers, and just to have a refreshed space.”
NGC utilizes technology and innovative techniques to work with client expectations to complete a project they’ll be proud of. Their sister company, Align Design, works with NGC directly to help plan for these projects from the start with a client’s vision in mind and to help reach an end goal of revitalizing the building and having the client be proud to call it ‘home’ for the years to come.
“I encourage building owners who want to remodel their structure to prioritize their needs and wants,” suggested Taylor. “If energy efficiency is most important, you’ll focus on your building envelope and HVAC first. If a refresh on finishes is most important, then put your focus there before shifting to other elements of the building. Also, prepare for the unexpected. When performing a renovation, you start removing walls, tearing out floors, taking down ceilings, etc. and you may find things that you didn’t know were there.”
To eliminate these unknowns, it is key to get a qualified contractor and designer engaged very early in your process to research the old building prints, perform building exploration and research, asbestos and lead paint testing, and more to get the best picture possible of what the project could encounter along the way.
“Remember that building codes change through time, and when you renovate a building, you’ll be expected to get your building to code, as some things in your building may not be to code (old stairways, fire sprinkler systems, bathroom counts, etc.),” said Taylor. “These are all things that qualified contractors and designers can help guide you through to avoid racking up these unexpected costs when all you wanted was some refreshed finishes.”
Tackle Challenges Head-On
Tru-Built Construction (tru-built.net) is a big fan of taking an existing building and implementing some remodeling to create a fresh, dynamic workspace. Co-owner Bo Jones finds that remodeling can produce the same great benefits as a new building in a shorter timeframe and smaller price.
“Sometimes, the best option is to take an existing building and make improvements,” said Bo. “Our portfolio includes many different premier remodeling projects, such as the apartments at 1421 P St., the Willa Cather Museum, QP Ace Hardware on 27th St., the Aristos Apartments at 40th and Yankee Hill, the Grand Manse Penthouse Suite, LeadBelly, and The Old Spaghetti Works building.”
One of their biggest and most notable renovation projects includes the former The Post & Nickel building. Tru-Built’s remodeling work turned the building in a mixed-use one that is now home to Chase Bank, Lululemon Athletica, and Madida Clothing. In addition, it includes leased condos on the upper floors. The building is actually four separate buildings built side-by-side, offering Tru-Built a unique set of challenges. This included varying floor levels, split plumbing and electric, and working on the remodel in the tight confines of the downtown area.
“Regardless of these challenges, we ended up with a unique building with some fabulous features,” Bo said. “We preserved some of the original elements, such as the floors and the old billboard ads on the brick walls, and we restored the big windows that had previously been filled in with brick over the years. You wouldn’t believe it’s the same building as years before – it’s a great example of what can be done through commercial remodeling.”
Since they began offering their services in the early 2000s, Tru-Built has grown larger, completed countless remodels, custom home projects, and more. The Tru-Built reputation of having an expert team dedicated to high-quality work and making people’s vision come true is well-earned.
Remodel to Attract and Retain Talent
AOI (aoicorp.com) offers solutions for the built environment through their construction, furniture, and pre-manufactured construction groups. They’ve recently been seeing a lot of traction with their pre-manufactured interior construction group because it is perfectly suited to address the major issues facing the industry these days – labor shortages, supply chain issues, and escalating project cost. This group works with a system called DIRTT (Do It Right This Time) that offers a completely customized solution that delivers speed of construction with cost and schedule assuredness. We sat down with Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, Patrick Jensen, to learn more about what AOI has been seeing as of late.
“With the unprecedented employment rate, businesses are in hot competition for talent. Attracting and retaining talent is paramount with all the companies we work with,” shared Patrick. “The changes in the workplaces are meant to encourage people to be back in the office with spaces that build company culture and brand while providing health, wellness, collaboration, and productivity. The pandemic changed the way people want to work and their expectations of what a workspace should deliver. If companies don’t adapt and adjust, they will most certainly lose out to the ones who are demonstrating that they value their employees.”
Patrick cautioned that building owners must be flexible with their expectations, budgets, and design choices when remodeling their structure. The supply chain issues are unlike anything they’ve ever experienced in their 40 years in business. Availability of materials and demand coupled with the current labor shortage means costs can be unpredictable, which in turn negatively affects project timelines and budgets. AOI is ready for these challenges by having alternate options ready to go for clients, who must also be able to make decisions quickly and decisively to avoid the impact to their budgets and schedules.
“AOI is unique because of what we offer with regard to interior renovation. We are the only general contractor that has a construction group along with a full service furniture dealership – MillerKnoll – and pre-manufactured interiors group – DIRTT,” Patrick explained. “This gives us the ability to be neutral with regard to solutions that fit client’s needs. We don’t know whether the solution to their issues will be something a construction solution solves, or if a furniture solution may solve it, or if their issue is better served with a pre-manufactured approach – or maybe it is all three. That’s why our products and services are available individually or combined as part of a holistic approach developed in close collaboration with our clients and their design teams so that we are truly meeting their needs, not trying to pigeonhole them into ours.”
If you’re a first-time remodeler, Patrick suggests partnering with a design team and contractor that you trust. They are going to be your advocates in the construction world while bringing your project to fruition and providing you with the best solutions for what you want to achieve. For the time that they are engaged with you on your project, they should act – and be treated – as an extension of your business.
For Consulting Needs
REGA Engineering Group (regaeng.com) may not physically construct or remodel commercial buildings, but the work they do is crucial to the success of any commercial construction-related project. REGA has been providing civil engineering, surveying, land development, forensic engineering, landscape architecture, and construction observation to its clients since 2003. Licensed in 13 states, 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 care for things like water quality and stormwater drainage, and this requires construction observance throughout every commercial project we take on,” said REGA 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; subdivisions, 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 is part 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 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. Basically, we are the on-site problem solvers!”
Save Energy, Save Money
Building automation – intelligent, data-enabled automated and related controls – continues to become more and more common in today’s commercial spaces. Engineered Controls (engineeredcontrols.com) offers affordable integrated building control and automation systems that make your buildings smarter and more efficient by providing essential instrumentation and control.
“These systems save energy, lower operational costs, and enable productive and secure environments,” explained Owner Pat Killeen. “Our building automation platforms connect your HVAC, lighting, and safety and security systems, enabling them to talk to each other in a single language on a single platform. This gives you information to make better decisions, save money, and improve the way your building functions.”
When conducting commercial remodeling, Engineered Controls can help you implement energy solutions to save money. As most building owners know, energy is the single largest expense in a building’s total operating budget. In fact, 30% is used inefficiently or unnecessarily. One of the best ways to keep those costs down is to develop a comprehensive strategy to reduce energy use.
“We offer a comprehensive energy evaluation program for our customers where our Energy and Environmental Optimization (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,” Pat said. “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.”
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.
“When you choose a partner for energy reduction projects, choose one with the experience and extensive product portfolio needed to customize the right plan for your building,” suggested Pat. “Stay up-to-date on energy rebates and incentives with a partner who is knowledgeable in these areas. At Engineered Controls, we design our solutions to be complete – saving money and energy, making sure you can meet required regulations while satisfying comfort, safety, and convenience .”
Over 100 Years of Creating Stunning Transformations
Whether it’s stone or a new fireplace, Merritt Concrete, Fireplace & Stone (merrittlincoln.com) has the supplies you need. They carry over 70 different types of natural stone that can be customized and cut to meet the needs of any size project. On top of that, Merritt also carries electric and gas fireplaces, most of which are kept in stock. Fireplaces can typically be shipped within two to three days, making the process easy and stress-free.
“More and more people want a clean and modern look, and the newest line of electric fireplaces can accomplish just that,” shared Morgan Drommond, fireplace and stone sales manager. “Bigger is better! Fireplaces are becoming the focal point in any room. Nothing brings more attention than a 100-inch fireplace! In addition, natural stone is a timeless addition to any remodel. It can complement anyone’s style and lasts for the years to come.”
Merritt has been providing Lincoln with exceptional care for the last 128 years. They pride themselves on helping everyone, from DIYers to large companies and everyone in between. Their team wants your remodeling project to go as smoothly as possible, so they’re available to help you select the perfect fireplace or figure out the best color and cut of stone to place on your wall.
“When starting any project or remodel, it’s great to have an open mind,” encouraged Morgan. “There are so many options out there that it can become overwhelming. We are here to help guide you and help find exactly what you are looking for. Enjoy the process, and enjoy watching your vision come to life!”
Having been a proud member of the Lincoln business community for 90 years, ABC Electric (abcelectric.net) has the experience and knowledge to handle any application. They’re on the leading edge of LED lighting and controls, offering unique and sustainable designs to set your business apart from others.
“We recently completed an interior renovation for the VA in the Denney Federal building,” shared Project Manager Jon Eicher. “We furnished and installed new LED lighting and lighting controls, fire alarm system upgrades, complete phone and data systems including fiber optic cabling and uninterruptable power supplies, card readers and door access systems, and modular furniture along with other conventional wiring systems. This is a fairly common renovation for us – as you can see we can do it all!”
ABC Electric has been seeing a growing trend of energy efficient LED lighting and the versatility of the lighting controls packages coming together. Owners are interested in the latest data technology infrastructure, which ABC Electric can gladly suggest the best options – and provide them. Even more, they offer a 25-year warranty on all data installations that they design and install.
“First and foremost, when conducting a commercial remodeling project, hire professionals in their respective disciplines,” said Jon. “Obtain the appropriate building permits and prepare an accurate budget which includes a contingency amount to help offset any surprises you may encounter along the way.”
Lincoln’s New Tile Maven
Choose wisely when selecting the tile and stone to put into your business – it can really make a difference on the outcome of the remodel! In this case, we recommend the professionals at Maven Tile & Stone (maventile.com). They are a tile design studio that specializes in showcasing unique tiles and stones, as well as other commodity products. New to the Lincoln market, they’re excited to officially be open on June 15.
“We strive to help you pick the product that is best for your individual needs and goals,” shared Owner Lizett Nissenson. “We are here to make your process easier, which includes answering the technical questions and doing walk-throughs on projects during non-business hours. Plus, clients that purchase through us are offered my tile design services at no charge.”
The hands-on tile design studio has samples available in their showroom and design center for builders who come in with a set of plans or property owners who want to get ideas and advice for their remodel. Some of the commercial projects Maven has been on before includes restaurants, yoga studios, med spas, and hotels.
When it comes to commercial remodeling, flooring is virtually always included in the project. The type of flooring you choose can upgrade an outdated appearance into a more modern look, or give your space a clean, fresh appearance by axing the flooring that you can never get to look as good as it did when it was new. We recommend Underfoot Flooring Solutions (@underfootflooringsolutions), who has been providing the local area with commercial and residential flooring installation for over 15 years.
“When choosing your flooring, there are a lot of things to take into consideration so that you are installing something that is suitable and functional for your business,” said Operations Manager Chad Schlisner. “A common factor is if you expect to have a lot of foot traffic. If so, you’re going to want something that is durable and easy to maintain, or else you’re going to experience a lot of wear very quickly. You’ll also need to think about the unique needs of your space. For example, a senior living community or hotel will want to select something that can withstand spills and stains in addition to heavy foot traffic – but at the same time, you’ll also want it to be inviting to guests and those residing there.”
Underfoot proudly carries all types of flooring, and their knowledgeable team is available to help you with any questions or concerns you may have so that you select the best choice for your project.
Protect Your Property
Empire Netting & Fence (empire-fence.com) 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.
Empire’s sister company, ESC Fabrications, recently acquired Wittrock Sandblasting & Painting, Inc. of Waverly, expanding their supply and custom fabrication operations. This acquisition allows Empire to offer solutions that will minimize the cost to the owner and drastically cut down on additional lead times.
“I encourage everyone who is looking into remodeling their commercial space to also consider the security and safety of the property,” suggested Trevor Sullivan, project manager. “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.”
Empire can also assist you during your commercial remodeling project by providing temporary construction fencing around the jobsite to provide safety. This keeps the site safe from outside individuals who may wander in and allows the crews to have a visible boundary of where they are permitted to work.
For Restoration Needs
Sometimes it’s not remodeling that needs done to your commercial space, but rather restoration. In that case, give McGill Restoration (mcgillrestoration.com) a call. The extremely skilled and reputable restoration service has worked for many of Nebraska’s most notable companies, and they continue to see geographical growth with projects and clients located throughout the Midwest and beyond.
According to Vice President of Operations Ben Russell, one of the biggest trends in commercial remodeling today is preservation of aging buildings in the area—and you can’t overestimate the importance of research in preparing for a restoration project. That research is the key to how you go about restoring a building and how authentic your end result is.
“Restoration requires an in-depth understanding of a structure’s history and details,” Ben said. “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? 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.”
For those who are considering a project that involves restoration of any kind, as a rule of thumb, McGill suggests that you make sure to take into account how the existing structure will need to be modified to accommodate re-design. While McGill specializes in giving the exterior of aging buildings a complete facelift, they also consult on a lot of projects involving modifications to the interior of older buildings.
Earlier this year, McGill acquired Wilkinson Sandblasting, an industrial coating and restoration company in central Nebraska, as well as Commercial Waterproofing, a concrete waterproofing business with offices in Oklahoma City and Wagoner, OK. The combination of McGill with these two businesses equips them to deliver outstanding year-round, scalable restoration capabilities.
For businesses that are looking for a more historical, classic design to spruce up their building’s exterior, brick is always a stable choice—and has the big advantage of being low-maintenance. Established in 1881, Yankee Hill Brick (yankeehillbrick.com) 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, they also import a selection of bricks from other manufacturers, chosen to complement the local Nebraska market.
The folks at Yankee Hill Brick pride themselves on offering only the best brick products, something contractors have learned and come to rely on. Their products are specified on many award-winning projects. The combination of quality, color, and pristine makes Yankee Hill Brick an attractive choice for architects.
Ready to start taking out those walls and ripping up that flooring? We suggest first putting on some safety glasses and reaching out to these local remodeling businesses. Your priorities are their priorities, and you’ll find yourself in your ideal workspace after partnering with these contractors.