The construction industry plays an important role in the economy. When the economy begins to slow down, the construction industry often feels the effects first – but when there is a strong demand for new construction, it’s an indicator the economy is on the right path. Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, such as skyrocketing prices on building materials, major supply chain issues, and labor shortages, the construction industry persevered. According to ConstructConnect, it is estimated that total put-in-place for 2021 was around $1.57 trillion, an increase of 6.8% from the previous year, and they are expecting 2022 to have a 6.6% increase in put-in-place to $1.67 trillion (construction put-in-place is the estimated total dollar value of construction work done in the United States).
Are you ready to start from scratch with a new office building? Maybe you aren’t prepared to build a new office, but are interested in renovating an existing building. Regardless of the route you want to take, Omaha has many knowledgeable and experienced contractors that can help you create the most efficient and effective workplace.
A great deal of preparation must be done beforehand when starting a commercial construction project. redbox+ of Omaha (redboxplus.com/omaha) makes project planning easy by helping you take care of two essential items through one contractor. The company provides their Standard commercial roll-off construction containers in both 20 and 30 yard sizes, as well as Elite containers that come with two port-a-potties mounted to the front of the container for an all-in-one system. No more tipped or blown over port-a-potties on your job site!
“With our Elite container, you no longer have employees leaving the job site for bathroom breaks, keeping them on task and doing their job more efficiently,” explained redbox+ of Omaha President Mark Fredrickson. “Our containers have been on numerous projects around the metro area. They are beautiful, bright red containers that give the job site a professional look.”
Another added benefit to the Elite containers is the free advertising component that comes with it. The front of these containers is essentially an 8×8 bright red billboard, and redbox+ can create a magnet with your company’s information to be placed on the front of these containers for the duration of the project.
“Our Elite container is patent and something you can only fi nd with redbox+ of Omaha,” explained Mark. “We can eliminate the headache of having to call for two services. One call, one invoice, and the quality of service you deserve.”
Over 60 Years of Design and Construction Experience
Established in 1958, Dean Snyder Construction (DSC, deansnyder.com) has handled all manners of commercial construction projects across the Midwest, from bringing a new concept for Fareway Stores, Inc. in the form of the Meat Market to Omaha and wellness expansions to the meat processing facilities around town. DSC provides design and construction services to the private and public markets, including education, food service and restaurants, financial, government and civil, office buildings, religious facilities, and retail. They are proud to offer in-house architects, enabling them to address any issues that arise immediately to keep the project on schedule, as well as pre-engineered buildings. Pre-engineered building is a functional, attractive, and cost-effective solution, and they can often be constructed faster than a traditional structure. Senior Project Manager Kolton Wagaman told us about another great feature that is new to DSC.
“DSC is excited to now own a 3D scanning laser,” said Kolton. “Laser scanning is a method of high-accuracy mapping that uses laser beams to quickly capture complete detail of an entire building construction project – much like a camera taking a 360-degree photo, but with an accurate position for every detail. Scanning all components as they are installed on a project can provide a time-lapse record with millimeter accuracy data on pipes, HVAC, structural steel, floors, and floor slopes. When used throughout the entire construction project, the new facility will have as-built documentation, creating a record of what is behind the walls, above the ceilings, and under the floor slabs. This can be utilized as the building is managed, maintained, and renovated.”
Before he was a project manager, it was mandatory for Kolton to work successfully in the field, something that DSC requires as part of their true-builder approach with team members. This field experience gives team members valuable knowledge for their future responsibilities, as well as an opportunity to grow relationships with the crews in the field and build trust for the future projects they will one day oversee.
With any business, there are trials, and Kolton explained that the construction industry is seeing challenges even greater now than when the pandemic started two years ago. Dealing with very long lead times from supply chain issues and rising material prices has been a challenge, but DSC has been helping companies through these difficult times. They encourage prospective builders to start the conversation soon so that their team can navigate through scheduling needs and pricing to deliver the best project in the most efficient way possible.
“We’ve also seen an increase on the commercial construction side of existing remodels/retrofits,” Kolton shared. “DSC can get creative with our design-build approach and deliver clients some relief in the form of remodels to fit their current needs until certain building lead times become more reasonable and new building construction can begin.”
DSC employs approximately 230 people, and their team has an average tenure that is higher than the U.S. median years of tenure in the construction industry. The company recently extended ownership to their employees, rewarding them for their contribution to the company’s growth and success through the years with the creation of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).
“We are open-book and transparent,” Kolton concluded. “We value being honest, loyal, and reliable to our clients, construction partners, and subcontractors. We pride ourselves on having a skilled team of professional engineers, registered architects, field supervisors, estimators, and tradespeople, backed by a company with over 60 years of construction industry knowledge and experience.”
Huffman Engineering, Inc. (huffmaneng.com) is a start-to-finish engineering firm specializing in automation controls and control systems integration. They work with industrial manufacturing plants like pharmaceuticals and life sciences, food and beverage companies, and material handling and packaging organizations, as well as utilities including water, wastewater, electrical, and gas companies to make their ideas work. Huffman will design and program automation systems using the latest technology to meet a need to bring more efficiency, higher productivity, and better safety in a manufacturing plant or to deliver safe, clean water or energy to the residents of a populated area. We spoke to President and Founder Howard Huffman to learn about some of the projects the company has been working on.
“We have been working with The City of Omaha for several years on their CSO project to purify the city’s wastewater,” began Howard. “We have worked with MUD on two initiatives; to help heat Omaha using natural gas and allowing the residents of Omaha to be secure knowing their drinking water is clean and safe, ensuring the infrastructure is put in place to keep it that way for decades to come. We were also very proud to be the system integrator called in to help with the 2019 Nebraska floods and help get the systems back on track during that devastating time.”
Huffman has helped to heat and cool Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln and has brought world-class productivity to one of the most common medical pain relievers in the world. Their Colorado office replaced the Eisenhower Tunnel ventilation systems controls to make them safe and secure for every passenger traveling across the main arterial in the Midwest for a ski vacation or cross-country trip.
Lately, Huffman has been hearing a lot about networking, cybersecurity, sustainability, and robotics. As companies make decisions to plan for upgrades within their production and utility systems, the good news is that all of these incredibly important topics can be planned for at the same time. While there may be a phased approach to implementation, their engineers have their eye on how the latest technologies can really help expedite all of those goals within a system upgrade. Howard also mentioned that automation is in high demand these days, especially due to the shortage of skilled workers available.
“We will only see this increase combined with the cybersecurity safeguards we can implement in industrial and utility facilities,” Howard said. “Even companies who have been hesitant to take on an upgrade of their facility are now seeing the wisdom in planning for upgrades rather than be a target of an unplanned shutdown that could cost millions of dollars a day.”
Huffman Engineering was recently named the 2022 System Integrator of the Year by Control Engineering and Plan
Engineering magazine. They’ve also been CSIA certified by the Control Systems Integration Association since 2005, the first and now one of only two CSIA certified engineering firms in the state.
“We solve highly complex issues on a large scale every day and pride ourselves on providing the professional development and training to our engineers and technicians to keep them up to speed on the latest software and hardware developments,” concluded Howard. “Most importantly, we provide extreme value to our customers and see ourselves as an extension of their team, building lasting partnerships to help them achieve and sustain excellence.”
Building Structures and Relationships
As a 100% employee-owned firm, you can be assured that Cheever Construction (cheeverconstruction.com) will deliver on their promises. The full-service general contractor/construction manager provides pre-construction services, construction management, and general contracting. Cheever Construction’s employees are invested partners that provide solutions for their clients. It is through these employee-owners that Cheever Construction is able to continue to perpetuate the principles of its founder and stay committed to a business philosophy that is dedicated to trusting relationships, excellence in performing services, workmanship that has enduring character, and meeting clients’ expectations on every project.
In terms of commercial construction projects, Cheever Construction has seen high demand throughout all sectors of the industry, including retail, manufacturing, education, and medical. However, the largest demand is coming from inside the industry.
“The biggest demand we see as a construction company is workforce and supply chain,” explained President Justin Kurtzer. “Workforce is in high demand for all sectors of our industry. With supply chain challenges, extensive pre-planning and creativity in material selections are solutions that we, as a construction manager, have to provide insight on for our projects.”
Cheever Construction approaches each project with consistent objectives for success. They utilize an effective schedule coupled with the quality and skill from their subcontractors, combined with their field craftsmen. Their goal with each project is to make it the precursor to the “next” project, all while building a lasting relationship with everyone involved.
“Our team is grateful for all of our clients and projects,” said Justin. “One of our current projects is the new Lincoln Public Schools athletic complexes at the two new high schools. The facilities will provide competition fields for football, soccer, softball, baseball, and tennis. We are excited to be working on this project and helping to improve our community.”
Bring Buildings to Life
Farris Engineering (farris-usa.com) is an employee-owned building design firm that specializes in mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, and commissioning services. Their roots date back to 1967, and they’ve completed over 33,000 projects in more than 42 states. Electrical Engineer Derek Brooks, PE, LC offered some more insight into what Farris can do for commercial construction.
“With the growth of 3D modeling technology, we have implemented a few different programs that allow us to visualize the built environment before it is constructed,” explained Derek. “This provides us with increased coordination abilities and allows our clients, in addition to the design team, to see how the building functions and flows to meet goals and characteristics that are unique to each building project.”
Derek is currently involved in the renovation of a historical courthouse that was built in 1938. Farris has been working closely with the owner and architect to update the building to modern technologies and implementing current energy efficiency strategies. He explained that the design and construction aspect are heavily revolved around adapting and modifying building aspects to meet the current needs and goals of the owner and maintaining important historical features, all while dealing with the surprises and unique characteristics of a building with this age. Energy efficiency is a popular demand beyond the historical building, too; with rising material and utility costs, Derek said there has been an ever-increasing demand for building energy efficiency and lower energy consumption, as well as increased material sustainability.
“Farris Engineering is a valued partner that provides innovative and project-specific solutions for those who want the best for their building,” Derek said. “This allows our clients to have the freedom to go beyond the standard and not be constrained by convention, because we share their vision for excellence through our technical expertise and unwavering dedication to quality, service, and long-term partnership. We don’t just make buildings function; we bring buildings to life through our designs.”
As the leading control technology contractor in Nebraska and Iowa, Engineered Controls (engineeredcontrols.com) offers a complete turnkey building-control solution, including system design, new construction, and owner-direct retrofit sales, installation, repair service, and preventive maintenance work for small buildings. Since 1994, they have been dedicated to designing easy-to-use building automation and security systems that provide the highest possible efficiency, all while ensuring occupant comfort and maintaining a safe and secure workplace. Their innovative and cost-effective building control solutions have been experienced by thousands of satisfied customers.
“We live in an era in which buildings of any size and shape can become intelligent buildings,” said Pat Killeen, president and CEO. “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.”
It’s becoming more and more common for a building to have one central location to control all lighting, heating, cooling, and security functions, including outdoor controls and elevator controls. Not only is this incredibly convenient, but if you want your company’s building to go green, this is also essential.
“Our Energy and Environmental Optimization, or 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,” explained Pat. “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. Leveraging the unique EEO toolset, they will partner with you to develop the right solution for your building.”
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.
Control Depot (controldepotinc.com) works hand-in-hand with Engineered Controls to provide them with the parts and products they need to carry out their work. From their start in 2006, Control Depot has now progressed to being one of the leading Honeywell distributors in the nation. Honeywell is well-known throughout its 128-year history as a leader in temperature controls. As a two-step distribution channel, Control Depot is proud to offer the products and innovations that have made Honeywell a trusted partner in the industry.
“Control Depot’s primary goal is to offer the necessary systems and replacement parts that will provide a safe, comfortable working environment, as well as cut wasteful energy costs,” Vice President Jeff Killeen said. “We are helping companies become more sustainable and improving their bottom lines.”
As a Honeywell-Authorized Systems Distributor, Control Depot offers a full-line of Honeywell commercial and residential products to fulfill any HVAC controls or security needs. From a simple thermostat to a complex web-based building automation system, you can find it at Control Depot. In addition to wholesale counterline, Control Depot provides contractor programs, consulting services, parts coverage, control panel fabrication, training, and gas detection calibration.
“We have assembled a team of knowledgeable, qualified individuals whose goal is to assist each customer with personal service rooted in their experience,” said Jeff. “Because our inventory rivals any of the largest retailers, we can offer comprehensive solutions for building controls.”
Exterior is of the Essence
During the winter of 2003, Stonebrook Roofing, Inc. was founded with one goal and a mission statement of roofing contractors that can solve roofing issues with the most effective and efficient methods available. Since then, they’ve rebranded themselves as Stonebrook Exterior (stonebrookexterior.com) to reflect their capabilities and have evolved beyond roofing to provide a single source for the whole building envelop package. We spoke to Business Development Manager TwiLea Fletcher, who told us that Stonebrook has been seeing an increase in requests for repurposing existing buildings.
“Owners and investors are recognizing that giving the building exterior the attention it needs will lengthen the duration of the structure and bring it up-to-date for a more professional look,” said TwiLea. “Sustainable exterior wall and roofing systems will also lower the cost for strategic ownership.”
Among recent projects, Stonebrook Exterior provided the elements for multi-story office buildings in the Omaha area, including the Baxter Building, Waterford Office, The Breakers, Nove Apartments in Little Italy, The Yard, and Morrison Stadium, plus Plaza on the Green, The Brook, Hudl, and Lionberger Veterinary Clinic in Lincoln. They perform extensive customer-needs analysis for each project with which they are engaged, taking every opportunity and consider all the aspects of what the customer wants, needs, and has budgeted.
“Our reputation has been built from our unyielding commitment to excellence, which is evident in the areas of safety, productivity, and workmanship,” TwiLea said. “We pride ourselves on our innovative management style. We will service your needs with a highly proficient, safety-oriented, and cost-efficient management team who is ready to meet your goals and objectives.”
When it comes to concrete and masonry repair, restoration, and construction, McGill Restoration (mcgillrestoration.com) is on the job. From highway surface treatment and parking-garage repairs to industrial painting and masonry repair, they’re ready to help you with just about any construction need. They follow a proven process for each job to ensure that they deliver consistent, high-quality results to all customers.
“When it comes to restoration, research is key,” said Estimator and Project Manager Jennifer Loukota. “Researching the building, the materials, and the best techniques is essential to providing a beautifully restored building or project. When it comes to the planning and execution of a project, we want to offer our expertise. Most companies know the finer points of new construction, but McGill understands the intricacies of restoration.”
In 2021, McGill expanded operations through their purchase of Wilkinson Sandblasting, a central-Nebraska industrial coating and restoration outfit, and Commercial Waterproofing, a concrete waterproofing business with offices in Oklahoma City and Wagoner, OK. The combination of skill sets between McGill Restoration and the newly acquired businesses means that the company can offer outstanding year-round, scalable restoration services. McGill is excited to bring the full package of large-scale restoration capabilities that they offer into the Oklahoma market.
Jennifer concluded by explaining that restoration requires an in-depth understanding of a structure’s history and details. 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?” Jennifer explained. “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.”
Contractors You Can Count On
Every part of building construction is crucial to the overall project success and completion, and that includes what’s inside the walls, floors, and ceilings. Langer Electric (langerelectricco.wixsite.com/electrical) is an excellent option for your electrical work. Owner Chris Langer has over 15 years of experience in the industry, and it’s important to him to help businesses strategize their energy needs and upgrades, with an eye toward increasing efficiency and reducing monthly electric bills for the long term. He keeps up with all codes and employee safety regulations to ensure that your building’s electrical system is truly safe and sound.
“Commercial construction offers tremendous opportunities for business owners, but it’s important to know all of the rules and opportunities,” Chris said. “As you plan your business space, Langer Electric can provide estimates for everything from fixture installation to panel updates, camera installation, repairs, maintenance, and pretty much anything electrical.”
Langer Electric has provided repair, maintenance, and installation services to commercial and residential clients, receiving an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Chris strives to bring a level of comfort that feels as though you’re working with family, as well as a different level of customer satisfaction to the trade, which he says is hard to fi nd these days. When performing electric work for a commercial construction project, he believes preparation and communication are key to making the job successful.
“I make sure everything on my end is lined up with materials, labor, and communication between trades. We don’t EVER want to be the ones holding up a project,” he explained. This includes establishing a relationship with inspectors for construction projects.
“My main concern with any project is making sure everything is completely in line with what the inspector wants. It doesn’t help anyone to butt heads with the one who ultimately calls the shots in the end. You have to be mindful of what exactly the inspector expects because each individual is different.”
Don’t let your coworkers and employees get left in the cold! Ideal Heating & Air Conditioning (heatingairomaha.com) is a leading commercial HVAC company in the Omaha area. They install, service, and repair all commercial makes and models, and they can supply you with Rheem products; Rheem is currently the only manufacturer in the world that produces heating, cooling, water heating, pool and spa heating, and commercial refrigeration products. Owner Corwin Keller emphasizes providing quality service and educating their clients.
“Informed decisions are good decisions,” said Corwin. “We want our clients to feel confident we are qualified to perform the service for which they are hiring us. Our clients need to focus on their business and their own work. When they rely on us, we can help them keep their focus there.”
There are multiple options for commercial HVAC systems, and the type of system you will have relies on many factors, such as the building layout. Low-height facilities with plenty of rooftop space tend to favor packaged rooftop units with variable-air-volume (VAV) systems. Meanwhile, multi-story buildings often opt for the use of chillers, which transfer heat away from a space that needs climate control using water instead of air, or water-source heat pumps, which reject heat in the cooling cycle through a cooling tower loop that is piped through the building.
“Whatever system you ultimately have, it should be durable and efficient for your building needs,” concluded Corwin. “We know how unstable the Nebraska climate can be, so we want to make sure you are always feeling ideal with our HVAC systems.”
Constructing a commercial building consists of critical details and decisions that can be made simple with the help of local experts. We encourage you to reach out to these Omaha professionals today to get started on building your next great project!