Commercial remodeling is quite a popular undertaking given that there’s generally always plenty of great ways that you can spruce up your place of business on any budget. If you’ve been thinking about making improvements, it’s likely either out of necessity or with a specific goal in mind that a remodeling project would help you to achieve. Whether it’s a small task or an extensive project, there’s no shortage of local resources that are available to help you with your latest commercial remodeling endeavors.

For projects that are more complicated than replacing flooring or giving the walls a fresh coat of paint, you’ll likely be incorporating some level of construction which will necessitate the expertise of a general contractor. A general contractor will not only help you stay on budget and effectively manage the project from planning to completion, but they also have the experience to mitigate the downtime your business will face during the process. In fact, many times closing down operations can be eliminated altogether, which will allow you to keep your doors open and avoid the loss of profit compounded with the funds you’ll be spending on the investment in your building.

When assessing what improvements need to be done right away versus what can be planned for the coming months or years, consider not only smart investments that will add value but also attending to what has the propensity to cause the most damage if left in its current condition. A leaking roof is a prime example of damage that should be addressed sooner rather than later, as it can easily compound into much larger problems over time.

Chad Aldrich TCW - Commercial Remodeling in Lincoln, Nebraska“We are no strangers to inclement weather here in the Midwest, which can seriously impact the integrity and functionality of any structure,” explains Chad Aldrich of TCW. “Re-roofing something that we do all the time here at TCW, and there are two systems to consider—1.) Removing old insulation and panels and installing new or 2.) Re-roofing on top of the existing system. By keeping the old roofing, you can go on with business as usual as well as adding insulation for a higher R-value if necessary. Especially for buildings with very minimal insulation, a roof improvement could end up lowering the utility bills tremendously. We also utilize green materials as the roofing panels are made out of recycled metal. Slope can even be added to your roof; in fact, installing a slope build up retrofit system will effectively take care of 90% of future roof maintenance. When considering warranty options, a standing seam roof can have up to a 25 year warranty and stands up well to all of the elements we face with the exception of hail, which can take out everything no matter what.

Aside from roofing, another area that can deteriorate from exposure to the elements and high traffic are sidewalks, entryways and parking lots. While applying salt in the winter promotes the safety of your employees and customers, it also really damages the concrete which causes tripping hazards and detracts from the curb appeal of your property. Your image is not only tied to how you do business but also to the appearance of your business and the impression it makes on your current and potential customers. Concrete replacement is another great example of an improvement that’s a relatively easy, quick fix in most cases and can really transform the exterior of a business without breaking the bank.

Along with the same concept of improving upon your building’s existing features in a minimally invasive way, if the exterior of your building leaves something to be desired there’s also the option for what we call ‘re-skinning’ a building, or taking an existing structure and making it look new from the outside.

A good rule of thumb is to do a visual inspection of the interior and exterior of your building, including critically assessing your entire property, once a year. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, have a professional do a more thorough investigation and make recommendations for the best solutions so that you can make the best decision for your business and begin to plan accordingly.

At TCW, we pride ourselves in taking a consultative role to commercial remodeling projects. During our initial inspection we take pictures and videos so we can share with the owners what we are seeing and what future problems will arise without proper maintenance or correction. Above all, we encourage property owners to ask plenty of questions, and we are always happy to meet and discuss your concerns or plans for the future of your building.”

Titus Schrock  Schrock Commercial Roofing, Inc. - Commercial Remodeling in Lincoln, Nebraska“There are many different types of roofing systems and each will have their own requirements as far as general maintenance and repair,” adds Titus Schrock, owner of Schrock Commercial Roofing, Inc. “As the part of your building that really takes a beating with the weather we have here in Nebraska, it’s important that the roof withstands the elements while also enhancing the overall appearance of your business. Our goal is to restore the roof to optimum functionality and we take great pride in our workmanship and being able to provide solutions for any problem. For example, if you are having problems controlling the temperature in your building we might recommend a reflective coating to assist in deflecting the sun to reduce the heat and your utility bills. Furthermore, problems with roofing can easily compound and begin to affect other aspects of your building. Creating a maintenance schedule and sticking to it closely will save you from major and costly repairs down the line; we also generally advise to have a professional inspection conducted on your roof once a year and then to address any issues that are found proactively.”

For all types of major projects, you’ll want to hire a company that has both the experience and resources to manage your project effectively from conception to completion. It’s true, there’s almost always some degree of inconvenience that you’ll experience during the process of renovation. However, there are many smart ways to minimize or avoid issues that would negatively affect the day-to-day operations of your business so don’t let the perceived pitfalls or size of the project discourage you from reaching out to see exactly what your options are.

Wes Oestreich Cheever Construction - Commercial Remodeling“Based upon our experience with commercial remodeling, the one constant is that for most every business or organization, whether it is a church, a school, a business, or a medical clinic, etc., there is never a ‘good time’ to remodel and upgrade your facility,” says Wes Oestreich, President of Cheever Construction. “There will be inconvenience and YES, some dust.  Cheever Construction has a proven track record of successfully constructing and renovating many types of commercial projects. We routinely complete small remodels all the way up to large multi-million projects, all with a goal of exceptional client service.  Specifically, we excel at renovating occupied facilities so we understand the challenges and do everything possible to educate and coordinate throughout the process.  We can install temporary barriers and air filtration systems to control the work area impact on occupied surroundings.  Coordination meetings are conducted to assure expectations and responsibilities are well understood and addressed.

As a commercial general contractor, Cheever Construction provides complete coordination of obtaining competitive bids from all trade subcontractors, administering contracts, and supervising all phases of construction. With our skilled employees, Cheever self-performs installation of concrete foundations, rough carpentry and finish carpentry installation of doors, hardware, cabinets, toilet partitions and many specialty items.  As a full-service contractor, we construct new buildings and also are involved in many levels of commercial renovation; from limited to extensive projects in a variety of settings, and in both occupied and vacant buildings.

Numerous renovation upgrades of local business and medical offices have been happening recently in Lincoln; with our economy looking up many companies are accommodating for growth, which is exciting.  Every few years, business owners need to ask themselves ‘is it time to freshen up our look?’

Recently, the cost of LED lighting upgrades has been coming down, making the up-front expense more manageable.  Significant savings in energy costs help to bring ‘pay-back’ to that initial investment.  It is a good idea to check with Lincoln Electric System for information and access to assistance programs that they have in place to reduce power consumption. Also, asking for references is always a must.  This allows you to review past examples of successful work, and the opportunity to talk with those individuals about their satisfaction and experience. Owners might also consider speaking with their business peers about who may have performed past work for them or which Architects they are working with.   As a general rule, not all commercial contractors have experience in every project type.

I encourage anyone who is considering a commercial renovation project to support your local builders.  Lincoln has many excellent and capable commercial contractors who also utilize local trade craftsmen and suppliers.  This all helps to strengthen our local economy and make Lincoln a quality community to live and raise families.”

Jason Olberding J-Tech Construction - Commercial Remodeling in Lincoln, NebraskaAn experienced general contractor can also offer a wealth of knowledge on new trends, technology and concepts that could be advantageous to utilize in your remodeling efforts. “It’s essential that the company you are working with is up to date with the services they offer,” advises Jason Olberding, owner of J-Tech Construction. “Here at J-Tech we recognize the importance of keeping up with all aspects of cutting-edge technology. We are at the forefront of solar energy here in Nebraska and we are excited to see more businesses make the investment for a better future.

J-Tech offers a variety of services including seamless siding/gutters, roofing, triple pane windows, doors, and much more. We have the ability to work with any business on any budget, from helping a small business owner give their office a facelift to completely renovating large commercial properties. The most popular service for commercial buildings has been our seamless metal alloy siding. Business owners love the seamless look, especially on larger buildings. In addition to being extremely competitively priced, it also saves our clients a lot of money on energy bills and business owners recognize the fact that it is not just a purchase it is an investment.

Most importantly, it’s essential to have a detailed plan and budget in place before you start. Make sure you are very clear with what you expect from your contractor so there are no surprises. At J-Tech we don’t like to work in ‘grey areas’; we like to know exactly what our clients want so that we can meet all expectations and ensure 100% satisfaction.”

Giving new life and a new look to older buildings has continued to be a popular trend, as evidenced by the appearance of newly renovated mixed-use buildings in urban areas such as those that have been popping up in downtown Lincoln.

Darin Cielocha  McGill Restoration - Commercial Remodeling in Lincoln, Nebraska“It’s been fantastic to see so many old buildings being refurbished into mixed use developments that incorporate housing, offices and storefronts,” explains Darin Cielocha of McGill Restoration. “This is especially popular in urban areas; many people are choosing to live in modern downtown areas as opposed to the suburbs and therefore there continues to be high demand for these types of establishments. Revitalization efforts have been underway in recent years in both Lincoln and Omaha, and larger cities in the Midwest such as Kansas City and St. Louis are no different.

For those who are considering a project that involves restoration, you’ll want to make sure to take into account how the existing structure will need to be modified to accommodate re-design. While we specialize in giving the exterior of aging buildings a complete facelift, we also consult on a lot of projects involving modifications to the interior of older buildings.

If you’re renovating a building with the goal of opening up the space, it’s critical to consider the actual structural support of the building and make the appropriate plans to transfer the load. There are many types of strengthening systems, many of them which employ very innovative methods, which can be applied depending upon the situation and specifications of the project. Another common improvement is to upgrade your building’s equipment to updated versions, which is problematic for older structures as they weren’t built to support the weight of the larger, heavier equipment available today. This also necessitates planning to transfer the load in addition to the installation of the equipment. Essentially it’s the same constant as engineering bridges as cars have gotten heavier over time to increase the load capacity. All of these are things that would ideally be installed by a professional who understands the mechanics of masonry and concrete.

Masonry was most widely used in exterior cladding systems 100 years ago and even today, so in assessing if improvements or repairs are necessary it’s always important to check the tuckpointing as well as the joint sealants around the windows and doors. When holes or voids appear in these it’s a very bad thing and needs to be remedied right away. A solution can be as simple as using water repellant to seal the gaps, which maintains the aged look while protecting the integrity of the original materials. Other times a more sophisticated solution will need to be tailored to fit the problem.

Especially in the case of older buildings, any problems that exist have the propensity to compound quickly and exponentially so it’s better to address these things proactively. Archways and decorative features, or even how the structure of the walls adjoins to the roof are also areas that need to be addressed if any major construction will be taking place. As another rule of thumb with older buildings, any time you have similar materials coming together you’ll have the chance for leakage or breakdown over time. If air or moisture is present and flowing through an old building, that’s a very bad sign and needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

When restoration comes into play, from an architectural and engineering standpoint, you’ll also need to bring the building up to today’s commercial codes by the time the project is completed. If your goal is to preserve the older look but to give it a more modern appeal, it’s well within our means to do so. But when you’re working with an older building, it’s not just as simple as going right into the demolition process. Structural integrity is fundamental and you’ll want to plan your project and budget with this in mind. While proper restoration is a sizeable investment, you’ll likely save on your utility bills as a result of a commercial remodeling project that involves an older building as well which can offset the cost a bit. Repurposing a building isn’t just popular right now because of their antique look and feel, but also because it is incredibly green to do so.

Jon Eicher ABC Electric - Commercial Remodeling in Lincoln, NebraskaIf you are doing any major renovations it is also important to make sure that it won’t have an impact of the existing systems and utilities, such as electric, natural gas or plumbing. “It’s important to have your electrician involved as early as possible to help in the building design and accurate cost estimates for that specific portion of the project,” emphasizes Jon Eicher, Project Manager for ABC Electric.  “This also helps in making sure the electrical requirements are being met with the most economical options available. There are numerous energy saving lighting options these days, including LED lighting and occupancy sensors, and as technology advances there are many more on the horizon. But as of right now, LED lighting is definitely an option to consider.

ABC Electric plays many roles in the construction and/or renovation process.  We are typically a subcontractor to the general contractor performing the overall scope of work for the job. In this role, we like to have input, and can contribute greatly to the overall planning in an advisor/consultant capacity, during the design stage of a project.  Our other primary roles include producing cost estimates, procurement of building materials in a timely fashion, providing the labor workforce and project management teams, scheduling and cost accounting of our portion of the work.  We can perform all facets of the electrical construction process including low voltage and data wiring, fiber optic cabling, control wiring, power and lighting requirements,  underground and overhead high voltage installations and termination, parking lot and site lighting, traffic signal wiring and street lighting.  At ABC Electric, we pride ourselves in our customer service and responsiveness to the owner’s needs.”

It’s also important to partner with subcontractors and trade professionals who can present valuable options but won’t sacrifice quality or cut corners. Eicher adds, “While very important, project cost is not always the best method of determining which contractor or subcontractor to partner with.  What may seem like a great deal or a low price up front may actually turn out to be a costly long term decision.  We believe that our experience and attention to the details will ultimately give the owner more ‘bang for their buck’ over the long term.  I always recommend working with a ‘known entity’– someone who has the long term experience and a proven track record. ABC Electric is a family owned local business with more than 80 years of continuous service to the community, spanning four generations.  We are qualified to perform any and all electrical service you may require and we are responsive and conscientious.  Furthermore, we are the first ever winner of the Better Business Bureau Integrity Award, an honor we are very proud to have achieved.  Most importantly, our success is, and has always been, measured by that of our customers.”

Going green is not only kind to the environment but beneficial to a business’s bottom dollar based upon ROI, and as already mentioned with the examples of urban revitalization and energy efficiency there are plenty of ways to incorporate this into the plans for renovation.

Pat Killeen Engineered Controls - Commercial Remodeling in Lincoln, Nebraska“By far, anything tagged with a ‘green’ label should be a prime target for commercial remodel work,” agrees Pat Killeen, owner of Engineered Controls. “Contractors such as our team at Engineered Controls commonly assist building owners and energy managers to help in developing reliable and cost-effective solutions for their specific energy challenges and to reduce their carbon footprint.

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.

Regarding a building’s electrical systems, there is a whole host of ways a BAS can optimize electrical energy in buildings. The simplest and most recognized way is to monitor a buildings electrical energy usage. 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 BAS has time based scheduling programs that can be used to minimize the electrical consumption of a building. And at the same time a BAS can also be constantly monitor buildings kW demand and as it begins to approach a pre-determined peak demand begin 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.

Furthermore, there are several trends that are beginning to surface in the building automation system (BAS) industry. We live in an era of where today’s buildings of any size and shape can become intelligent buildings. 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.  Building Automation Systems provide efficient control of internal comfort conditions, individual room control, increased staff productivity, effective use of energy, improved building reliability and life, quick and effective responses to HVAC and security problems, and save time and money. 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.

By integrating heating and cooling, lighting and security functions all within one common BAS platform, a building’s power systems–lighting and illumination; electric power and control; security, video surveillance and magnetic card access; heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC); outdoor controls; and elevator controls–will all be monitored and controlled from one central location. Studies show that by 2018, it will be the integrated control systems that will show the greatest growth in future years. The largest segment of expected growth are for the HVAC segment, which comprises 30% of the market, and security and access controls segment that comprises between 40%-50% of the market.

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. Wireless technology will continue to revolutionize building automation system market. 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, metering equipment to name a few.”

He continues, “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. 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.”

As a result of a commercial remodeling project, you may also notice some changes to your building’s look and environment that will need to be addressed. “More often than not, a company that is remodeling their building does not even know they have a need for any kind of window film until after the project is completed,” explains Keith May, owner of The Tint Shop. “For example, if new windows are added they may not realize that they are going to have a bigger heat or glare issue until the windows are in. Another situation that sometimes arises with remodeling is privacy, or obscuring areas that will need to be hidden from sight or covered up. This might include utility rooms, conference rooms, private offices, mechanical rooms, and so on. A hugely growing trend in commercial remodeling currently is glass, and not just exterior glass, but glass inside the building such as glass partitions, glass cubicles, or glass offices and conference rooms. Glass is being used more and more inside buildings to give them a more ‘open’ and spacious appearance. The problem then becomes one of a few issues—there’s no privacy, there are cluttered desks and cords visible everywhere, or employees just feel like they are ‘on display,’ or sort of a fishbowl feeling. The Tint Shop has a very vast array of frost, decorative patterned and opaque films that can solve all of these problems.

Another trend in commercial remodeling is adding more, or bigger, windows. Even though today’s windows are very energy efficient, a company may still experience heat and glare issues that they never had before. A standard window can only do so much for heat, and unless the glass has some kind of darkness, will do nothing for glare (the annoying light that causes you to squint, makes computer screens difficult to read and also causes headaches). We have many films that can cut heat by over 80% in some instances and knock out over 85% of glare coming through those windows. In most cases, the entire window film purchase will pay for itself in 3-5 years depending on film, building characteristics, and initial investment.

Sometimes blinds and drapes or shades are added in on remodel projects, which is a good investment if privacy is a major concern. But unless they are solar type shades, which can be very pricey, they will not help much with heat. However, blinds or shades coupled with 3M Window Film is a very wise move. Not only will the window film stop the heat before it enters the building, it will block 99% of damaging UV rays that would normally be deteriorating the blinds or shades. Then at night, the blinds provide the needed privacy from outside.

Companies and building owners should never limit or change their desired look of their spaces because of solar control or privacy/obscuring worries. There is a window film at The Tint Shop for every situation and need. We can even add a little art decor to your building with 3M’s FASARA line of custom decorative films.”

Tobias Sommer Generators For Sale - Commercial Remodeling in Lincoln, NebraskaWhen considering upgrades that would greatly help your business, a generator is also a must. “A power outage, even as brief as a few hours, can cause major problems for all types of businesses,” emphasizes Tobias Sommer, owner of Generators For Sale. “In most cases, if your phones or computers are down, you are missing leads or unable to conduct transactions. However, if you’re still able to do business thanks to a back-up power system, you aren’t losing out and you may even have an advantage over those who don’t have a generator to keep them up and running. There are many reasons why you could lose power; utility transformers can blow, a vehicle can hit the light pole and take out the whole line, a storm can cause damage, and that’s just a few of the common scenarios. Unfortunately, however, many of the people who recognize the importance of a generator have had to learn firsthand why it is so important by suffering the unforeseen consequences.

If you’re already remodeling and you don’t already have a generator, it’s a great time to incorporate one as we can pre-plan for integration and recircuiting and you’ll very likely save yourself a lot of time and money with this approach. When deciding what type of generator is the best fit for your needs, look at what you absolutely can’t live without. For some businesses it may be critical to keep their whole building operational, while for others it may just be keeping a few key components up and running. With commercial remodeling it’s all about planning ahead; maybe not for today or tomorrow, but over the next two, five or ten years. Technology is only going to become more integrated, so it makes sense to mitigate risk of complete shutdown by covering your bases with an alternate power source.”

Remodeling a commercial property can be quite the undertaking, but it is also exciting and rewarding to update your place of business. Familiarizing yourself with the options that are available and connecting local professionals, whether for guidance or to manage and complete your entire project, is advantageous for the best possible outcome and will keep you well ahead of the game if you consult with them early and often.