Commercial Remodeling in Lincoln, NE – 2019
While new construction offers an opportunity to build a commercial space with the latest, most cost-efficient technology, remodeling and renovation are alternative strategies that can lower costs for Lincoln businesses in the long run by reducing energy consumption and preventing damage.
As the vice president of business development for McGill Restoration, Darin Cielocha believes it is important to understand the distinction between remodeling and restoration work.
“The interesting thing is, we don’t do remodeling. We do restoration,” said Darin. According to Darin, the distinction is the focus of the project, with the majority of remodeling work focusing on a building’s interior, while restoration work focuses on restoring structural integrity to aging materials, such as concrete and stone masonry. For example, Darin explained how they work for clients like Wells Fargo and University Towers in Lincoln: “We were hanging on the outside of the University Towers building grinding out mortar joints and tuckpointing them back for a year working to restore the building. From a masonry restoration perspective, we’re taking a dated building and trying to give it a facelift. For instance, when we are restoring the concrete for Memorial Stadium, the years of dropping beverages and everything else starts to deteriorate the concrete. We work to retain the structural integrity and to restore concrete and masonry,” Darin explained.
As Darin explained to us, McGill has three unique traits: “One of our unique traits is that we do a lot of internal training. We will spend over 1,600 hours just for internal training of our field workers this year. We are paying our people to learn from our people. We consider our workers to be craftsmen and want to provide the training opportunities to help them to succeed within the trade. Our second unique trait is our specialty equipment. For example, we own many specialty equipment rigs that have been designed to apply protective coatings to bridges and highways to get the roads back into service as quickly as possible.”
“The third unique trait of McGill Restoration is that we perform the majority of our work with our own forces on a tight schedule,” Darin continued. “When you have your own workforce and you are doing more than 80% of the work internally—without subcontractors—you have to understand your capabilities and manage your capacity well in order to succeed.”
Because restoration work involves working with aged materials, Darin says their workers have to be experienced in traditional craftsmanship. “It is a very labor intense trade. There is a lot of heavy lifting involved and there is no new technology that can replace hard blue-collared work. It is very much a traditional, skilled art. Previously, if you were a stone mason, you were very sought after.”
Darin added that this is why mentorships and training are imperative for their employees and he believes craftsmanship deserves more appreciation because of its importance to restoring historical buildings and preserving history in general.
We also spoke with Travis Rose, project manager for the growing general contracting company, Perry Reid Construction (PRC). As Travis informed us, PRC is approaching completion on commercial projects for major Lincoln clients.
“PRC has recently been working on a number of new remodels,” Travis said. “We are currently doing an interior office remodel for the Center for Healthy Living. We’ve moved a few walls to give them ample space for a workroom. This includes all new flooring, paint, and updated cabinetry and countertops. We also have expanded the restroom for ADA compliance. PRC is also working on a project at 48th and Holdrege. This is a newly constructed building with the main floor open for improvements and finished apartments on floors two, three, and four. The concept for the main floor is to add more apartment units, a salon, restaurants, and a possible coffee shop.”
Travis explained that their work for the Lincoln Children’s Dentistry office offered them an enjoyable design challenge: “We removed walls that were operatory rooms before to open the space up. We added glass walls to create a consulting room and installed colorful flooring and paint throughout the space to make it more inviting for children. I really liked the way all of the colors looked once the space came together.”
According to Travis, the remodeling process involves a careful planning stage to prepare a realistic budget for the client. “I like to believe that we exceed our client’s expectations!” he exclaimed. “Some of the tenant finishes we are currently looking at do not have construction plans so we like to take the time and extra steps needed to walk through and thoroughly survey the space. PRC meets with clients to get a better understanding of the ideas of what they picture their space looking like. We then draft their ideas and put together a budget based on what they’re envisioning. We like to work closely with our clients to make their visions a reality within their budget. By doing this, we are always in constant contact with clients and regularly update them on the state of the remodel.”
Something that might surprise readers is the degree of flexibility that’s required for remodeling. Travis says in that respect, construction imitates life: “Construction takes time and a great deal of coordination. Sometimes we run into unknown problems or uncover things that cannot be seen by the eye. As much as we would like, things don’t always go according to plan. Just like life, you’ll get a curve ball every now and again.”
Travis thinks a popular choice for recent remodeling projects is LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile) for both its ease of installation and for its comfort. “LVT is softer than stone or wood, it’s more affordable, durable, and has an overall appealing look. Wallpaper is also making a comeback in apartment remodels,” Travis noted.
When it comes to upgrading the flooring in your office, EMO Flooring has you covered. While traditional carpeting and hardwood remain viable choices for certain area of the office, EMO Flooring’s office manager, Jacque Lee, also recommends Luxury Vinyl Tile as a sturdy option.
Luxury Vinyl Tile resists chipping and scratching better than both wood and stone. It also offers a variety of design choices which realistically replicate any surface, from wood to stone to ceramic flooring. Tile—whether it’s ceramic, porcelain, or stone—is one of the longest-lasting flooring materials in existence, but it still needs a bit of care. Basic, consistent maintenance of your tile floor will ensure that it remains beautiful and trouble-free for many years.
The mission of EMO Flooring is to provide flooring products of the highest quality and value, with sales expertise, service, and professional installation.
Of interest to Lincolnites, we discussed some more current and upcoming commercial remodeling projects with local experts in Lincoln. Ironhide Construction informed us that they will begin construction on the Cornhusker Winnelson, a plumbing supply store in Lincoln, this month. “IntoMetal is another project we will be starting,” said Katie Dey. “This one stands out to us as we have been working with the owners and architects since the very start of this project. We helped with the design and everything in between. The steel was just delivered last week and we are excited to make their dreams come to reality.”
Because Ironhide specializes in pre-engineered metal buildings, Katie noted that metal remains a functional solution for modern buildings, and that it can be used for a variety of building designs. Katie listed some examples of building types that they have built from metal: athletic complexes, warehouses, office buildings, retail spaces, manufacturing plants, clubhouses, fitness facilities, and so much more.
Katie advised owners who are considering a remodel of an older building to consider the advantages metal offers: “Pre-engineered metal buildings are often used today for one and two-story buildings because they provide benefits like durability, speed of construction, design flexibility, attractive appearance, and energy efficiency, as well as being cost effective to construct and maintain. Metal buildings come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but at their core they all utilize a custom engineered structural steel frame and a high-performance metal roof. In addition, metal can flexibly be combined with masonry, stone, pre-cast or tilt-up concrete, wood, glass, and other architectural wall treatments.
“The versatility and flexibility of metal building systems allows for a myriad of colors, shapes, textures, and designs,” Katie added.
Melissa Fisher of Tru-Built Construction explained to us that one of their unique traits is their firm’s background in both residential and commercial work: “We have a wide variety of people, both staff members and business associates from both commercial and residential fields.”
Melissa’s advice to property owners considering remodeling work is to start early.
“The earlier the better,” Melissa explained. “Let us know what your vision is when working on plans. I recommend working with an architect or a designer from the very beginning on large construction items and we can guide and put extra detail in those plans. Having that detail from the very beginning helps the general contractor as well as others involved. Another key component is flexibility. Flexibility is one of the most important qualities when considering a commercial remodeling or renovation project. There are unforeseen conditions lurking under the surface which may not be exposed until you dive into the project. For example, we are working on a commercial remodel where the roof has had a leak but was never really noticed until spring rains. This is an added expense not foreseen which is in need of repair before continuing further. Cost and time delays are almost inevitable so being flexible is a huge plus, we want everyone happy.”
According to Melissa, recent innovations in technology have made it easier to organize subcontractors and present a client with a complete vision of a project’s progress.
“Having clients be able to do everything from their phone or other device is one of the largest changes I have seen,” Melissa shared. “With all the technology that has been released, this option is cost effective and adds an extra layer of ease.”
Technology and operation advancements have also made the remodeling process go smoother for Cheever Construction.
As Justin Kurtzer highlighted, Cheever approaches each project with consistent objectives for success.
“We utilize an effective schedule coupled with the quality and skill from our subcontractors, combined with our field craftsmen,” Justin said. “Cheever Construction 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.”
While there are many different types of delivery methods, the three most often utilized include design-bid-build, construction management with variations, and design build. Selecting the correct delivery method can have a direct impact on the outcome of the project. Numerous items will factor into your decision, including size of the project, complexity of the project, project type, and overall delivery schedule.
Under the design build method, an owner typically hires a single entity, the designer/builder, to perform both the design and construction tasks under a single contract. Design-bid-build, on the other hand, is the most traditional process in construction industry, where the owner contracts separately with a designer and a contractor. An example of a recent design-bid-build project that Cheever did was the renovation of Southeast Community College’s culinary arts restaurant and kitchen workspace. This 12,000-square-foot commercial space was completed in January of 2018 and turned out beautifully. The architect for the project was The Clark Enersen Partners.
The construction management or CM format allows the owner to select their chosen design team and a qualified construction partner to work closely on preliminary budgets and construction methods that will enhance the design direction. Representing the owner’s financial and performance interests, Cheever Construction will administer all contracts to ensure the competitive bids for each discipline of construction and suggest cost-effective materials for the design team’s consideration, while monitoring a quality installation for a successful end project. Some of Cheever’s recent CM projects in Lincoln include Advanced Medical Imaging and Resort Lifestyle Communities.
The Advanced Medical Imaging (AMI) project is a new construction project that broke ground in June of last year. The anticipated completion date is September. Cheever is very proud of the progress being made on this healthcare facility. The space will be used for AMI’s ambulatory surgery center, adjacent to the current AMI imaging center at 7601 Pioneers Blvd.
In addition, with the growth of Cameron General Contractors and Resort Lifestyle Communities (RLC), Cheever Construction was called upon to expand the current Resort Lifestyle Communities Corporate office to allow Cameron General Contractors and RLC to be headquartered under one roof. The 22,418-square-foot project consisted of a lower level, main level, and upper floor level, and was completed in March of 2018.
Another impressive new construction undertaking in Cheever’s portfolio is the Nebraska Center for Advanced Professional Studies, which is located outside of Lincoln in Fairfield, NE. Offering 40,000 square feet of flexible educational environments to support the school’s linked learning curriculum, the building’s design caters to myriad learning styles between its two floors.
“As an employee-owned construction firm, you can be assured that we will deliver on our promises,” Justin added. “Employee owners and experienced, key individuals have maintained the consistent management and character of our company. This consistency of employment creates a culture of integrity and commitment toward each projects success. Our dedicated team of industry experts are among the most experienced and highly skilled in our regional market. It’s these people that make Cheever Construction what it is. By working together, dedicated Cheever owners have formed a collaborative relationship with our clients, architects, engineers, and subcontractors, enhancing the company’s reputation for superior workmanship and performance.”
Another major local remodeling project completed recently is the 160-bed minimum security facility at the Lincoln Regional Center. Kingery Construction Co. was responsible for the project. Co-owner Rod Berens said the project took about 18 months to complete. Kingery Construction is also remodeling the refueling hangar for the Nebraska Air National Guard.
Rod said the relationship with the project’s superintendent is vital: “I would recommend that a client interview the superintendent who is going to be working on the project, remodeling projects can be somewhat more difficult than new projects. 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. 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.”
For example, Rod pointed out how some remodel projects would require an inspection of the walls for current placement of electrical feeds before demolition, floors need to be assessed in older buildings and may be found to be uneven, and historic parts of a building might be at risk of damage due to their age.
“With a remodeling project, you have to look at the building, anticipate the type of hurdles you may come up against,” explained Rod. “If part of the building is being demolished, you have to plan for how to shore up what is still there. Typically, with an old building, any plans you can find are out of date or misleading. This creates the need for ‘on the ground’ decision making.”
“During 2019, our company is celebrating our 95th year in business,” Rod noted. “We’ve had the opportunity to do a number of remodeling projects that are of historic value. For 20 years, we were in the State Capitol building, working constantly on the building’s restoration projects including the fountains and elevators. Our average length of service for our employees is 18 years, giving us the benefit of skilled people for remodeling and renovation work.”
Rod added that, in regards to remodeling, he is excited for improvements in heating, cooling, and lighting which he anticipates will continue to reduce energy costs for commercial buildings in the long run.
For information on these types of systems, we spoke to subcontractors who specialize in the HVAC and electric industries. As project manager for ABC Electric, Jon Eicher shared some details with us about some of their most recent electrical remodels.
“We have recently been a part of Eagle Printing & Sign’s relocation and renovation. They moved from their previous location to 1625 P St. This property required a new three-phase electrical service and interior renovations to accommodate their staff and printing processes, all completed on a very tight time schedule,” Jon said.
For electrical work, Jon stressed that time efficiency is vital: “We have the ability to organize and streamline the design and installation process to meet the time constraints of various types of electrical installations. We are trained, tooled, and knowledgeable on a wide variety of applications. Having been in the electrical contracting business for over 85 years, you learn through experience what works and what doesn’t work in regards to each individual installation and customer. We treat each customer as if they are our only customer and we truly care about their business and its success.”
Jon urges business owners preparing for their first remodel to not compromise their building’s long-term efficiency and safety. “Our advice would be to hire trained professionals for every aspect of the addition or renovation. Lincoln is home to several quality contractors and subcontractors with a lot of experience and integrity. We suggest using those contractors to perform their particular disciplines and also to get qualifications and references of those contractors before making the choice. We at ABC Electric are the proud recipient of the 1st annual BBB Integrity award and have been servicing the Lincoln and surrounding area for four generations of family-owned community commitment.”
One of the most efficient innovations Jon has seen in the electrical field is LED lighting: “The LED lighting wave continues to evolve. Now LED lighting lumen output (brightness) and Kelvin rating (color) can be field adjustable in some fixtures. Keeping on top of this ever-evolving product can be problematic and confusing if you are not involved with it on a daily basis. Why would you choose someone unfamiliar with the options and choices available to help you with design and actual application of the product? ABC Electric is knowledgeable about the LED lighting evolution and integrated control systems available.”
When it comes to commercial lighting for warehouses, factories, showrooms, etc., Sebek Lighting & Electronics is where to turn. Sebek Lighting is a wholesaler for LED commercial lighting, specializing in LED fixtures for offices and industrial businesses.
“We buy direct from the manufacturer, so we are able to eliminate the middle distribution cost and pass the savings on to the customer,” Doug Hancock explained. “Sebek Lighting is manufactured with all industry required certificates. As we near the end of fluorescent availability, Sebek Lighting helps businesses prepare by formulating an LED retrofit plan. Our thorough cost analysis includes: calculating the customer’s electricity savings, preparing a proposal (with options) for the cost of the LED fixtures, and recommending an electrician if the customer does not know one. We also inform the customer about LES Sustainable Energy Program Lighting Incentives, helping them apply and directing those rebate dollars ($1.5 million for 2019) back to the customer to help pay for the retrofit.”
All of the products manufactured for Sebek Lighting and Electronics meet industry standard warranty against factory defects. With international buying power, Sebek Lighting & Electronics can get you what you need for your remodeling project right here in Lincoln.
Since buildings include a complex combination of systems, they can be compared to a living thing. As Pat Killeen, president and CEO of Engineered Controls, reminds us, errors in these systems can affect the comfort and security of an entire building.
“A building’s mechanical systems can be optimized by providing supply air and supply water reset programs where the temperature of the air or water is automatically adjusted depending on space demands and outside air temperatures. Mechanical optimization programs could also include demand control ventilation programs to provide the right amount of outdoor air required in the building to improve the indoor air quality. Additionally, constant volume air and water systems can be converted to variable air and water flow systems where just the right about of air and water are delivered based on demand,” explained Pat.
By monitoring a building’s electrical energy usage, Pat says owners can spot when an electrical system is being used wastefully, and explains how automation systems can minimize such waste: “Most buildings’ electricity is billed two ways—electrical energy consumption or kWh, and what was the peak electrical energy usage over a specific period of time or kW demand. A building automation system, or simply referred to as BAS, has time-based scheduling programs that can be used to minimize the electrical consumption of a building. At the same time, a BAS can also constantly monitor buildings’ kW demand and, as it begins to approach a pre-determined peak, demand begins shedding or shutting off electrical loads automatically. All of these mechanical and electrical optimization solutions are designed to maintain building comfort and maximize energy savings that result in reduced energy bills.”
Pat told us that several exciting trends are emerging in building automation. “We live in an era in which buildings of any size and shape can become intelligent buildings,” Pat confirmed. “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.”
Pat also explained that, although building automation systems have existed since the 1970s, recent systems save time and money on internal comfort conditions, individual room control, improved building reliability and life, and quick and effective responses to HVAC and security problems. “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,” pointed out Pat.
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 which 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.”
Indoors isn’t the only place where businesses are considering the comfort and work efficiency of their employees in regards to remodeling projects. Tech giants such as Google and Microsoft have elected for outdoor spaces to allow their employees an opportunity to work outside of the office or enjoy a leisurely view. From Facebook in the Silicon Valley to Shutterstock in the Big Apple, spacious rooftop work spaces have become a popular choice even when outdoor space isn’t readily available. A pleasing outdoor space can also create a welcoming environment for customers and attract young professionals to Nebraska.
Boasting a wide selection of products for outdoor landscaping, Outdoor Solutions can assist the “do-it-yourself” types with supplies, and they welcome inquiries about planning larger outdoor projects. Their online gallery is a great place to start for some inspiration for landscape designs to complement your business. From outdoor decor that will make a space feel more livable, to hardscapes like underground fountains that add a tranquil vibe—Outdoor Solutions has it all.
Outdoor work spaces are definitely an emerging trend and business owners are taking notice as they consider remodeling and updating their space.
As the business ecosystem in Nebraska continues to grow, there will continue to be a demand for commercial remodeling projects to improve and expand on existing office space. It’s good to know who the companies and faces are who are tackling these projects, taking great precaution to restore the history of the building and enhance Lincoln’s landscape.