If you’re ready to be in a new office space, don’t rush to create blueprints for a new build just yet. While there are many benefits to starting from scratch, there are just as many reasons to choose to remodel your current office or another existing building, instead. 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.

Remodel to Attract and Retain Talent

AOI (aoicorp.com) offers solutions for the built environment through their construction, furniture, and premanufactured 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.

Patrick Jensen

“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 clients’ 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.

Plan for Future Growth

At Farris Engineering (farris-usa.com), they specialize in a variety of services that include mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, and commissioning. Whatever you need for building design, Farris can help you get there!

Derek Brooks
Farris Engineering

“We can provide technology infrastructures that are highly flexible and capable of future growth,” shared Electrical Engineer Derek Brooks, PE, LC. “Our engineers are committed to staying up-to-date on current technology trends and will provide cost-effective designs to meet your requirements today with an eye on the future. Knowing your goals, we’ll work with you to determine the best approach needed and help you stay within your budget.”

The technology staff at Farris includes Registered Communications Distribution Designers (RCDD) and electrical engineers with low-voltage expertise. They provide data center design, telecommunications infrastructure, audio and visual system design, and security system design.

The foundation for useful design solutions can be found in Farris’ planning services. From comparing total life cycle costs to lowest up-front or energy usage, to determining the right scope for projects, their experienced team brings a wealth of insight and experience. Their 3D models and photometric renderings help clients make better decisions. This technology provides Farris with increased coordination abilities and allows their 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.

Currently, Derek is part of the Farris team working on renovating 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.

“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,” Derek shared. “Energy efficiency is a popular demand beyond the historical building, too. As material and utility costs continue to grow, there has been an ever-increasing demand for building energy efficiency and lower energy consumption, as well as increased material sustainability.”

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. They’ve completed numerous renovations, historical renovations, and new construction projects since their start. For each project, decisions on many different aspects will affect the ultimate outcome.

Justin Kurtzer
Cheever Construction

“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 effect 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.

Omaha’s New Construction Professionals

Kolton Wagaman
Dean Snyder Construction

Dean Snyder Construction (DSC, deansnyder.com) recently entered the Omaha market with over 60 years of experience and an outstanding portfolio that includes work for many Top 100 companies in the world, with projects of all sizes and levels of complexity in industries ranging from commercial and food and beverage to healthcare and industrial. We spoke to Kolton Wagaman, senior project manager, who told us a bit about what DSC has been seeing lately in terms of commercial remodeling.

“Lately, we have been seeing an increase 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, which is especially helpful in these times as certain building lead times for new construction have been rather long.”

When clients choose to utilize DSC’s design-build approach to remodel their commercial space, they see several benefits. This includes a single source solution, with the design and construction services under one contract, and cost and schedule being controlled by a single entity. In addition, it’s typically the best method for fast-track projects, and subcontractor expertise can be obtained in the design process.

Extend Building Longevity

Stonebrook Exterior (stonebrookexterior.com) is no stranger to remodeling projects. The privately owned and operated commercial and residential exterior construction company has been seeing a growing trend of business owners opting to repurpose an existing building over building new.

Twilea Fletcher
Stonebrook Exterior

“Everything that Stonebrook Exterior provides for new commercial buildings in the aspect of exterior elements, we can provide for the remodeling of existing structures to give your current building a facelift,” said Business Development Manager TwiLea Fletcher. “ Most importantly, we can bring your building up to date with masonry, siding, metal wall-panel systems, and new gutter systems. This will give your company a fresh look and increase the longevity of the building for years to come.”

Curb appeal continues to be a priority for many commercial spaces. When curb appeal is up, they are more easily and quickly noticed, recognized, and remembered. In addition, 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. Sustainable exterior wall and roofing systems will also lower the cost for strategic ownership.

“We primarily self-perform our work instead of sub-contracting to others,” said TwiLea. “This makes our crews more productive which saves time overall when working to complete a project within the time allotted or requested.”

Building Safety

It’s vital that your remodeling plan includes the installation of updated safety features. FireGuard, Inc. (fireguardusa.com) offers a full array of fire-protection services, from installing new fire-alarm systems to updating or upgrading existing ones and providing increased protection for server rooms.

Phil O’Connell
FireGuard, Inc.

“FireGuard focuses solely on fire protection and life-safety solutions,” explained Engineered Systems Manager Phil O’Connell. “FireGuard eliminates the need to contact multiple companies by offering complete life safety solutions: we design, sell, install, inspect, and service all types of fire protection and life safety equipment.”

Phil said that when businesses undertake remodeling, it’s important for them to know that their fire systems must be altered, as well, to maintain code-compliant protection.

“My advice to those who are looking to remodel for the first time is to do their research,” Phil said. “Remodeling can provide an exciting new space to work in and boost employee morale and production, but understand that there can be additional requirements and costs associated when it comes to life-safety systems.”

That said, there are times when remodels won’t affect your company’s or organization’s safety systems, but you don’t know if you don’t verify. By knowing what you’ll need to do ahead of time when laying out the budget for a remodel, you’ll be more likely to avoid any surprises late in the project.

Building Controls

Control Depot (controldepotinc.com) partners with the leading suppliers of building technologies in order to provide their customers the best products available. As a Honeywell Authorized Systems Distributor, Control Depot offers a full-line of Honeywell commercial and residential products to fulfill any HVAC control or security needs. From a simple residential thermostat to a complex web-based building automation system, they support and stock the Honeywell parts you need.

Matt Holst
Control Depot

“If you’re looking to have an energy-saving building with low operational costs after your remodel is completed, our building automation systems can help you,” explained Matt Holst, sales manager and business development representative. “Our building automation platforms connect your HVAC equipment for air handling units, variable volume boxes, heat pumps, fan coil units, boilers and chillers, and more. Additionally, our building automation controls will integrate lighting systems, flow and KW metering equipment along with security and life safety 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.”

Control Depot also provides combustion controls, electrical products, tools and equipment, metering, lighting controls, field devices, and gas detection.

“Our overriding purpose is to help our clients create comfortable, efficient, and safe building environments,” said Matt. “Our team of qualified and experienced employees strives to provide a personal touch to our customers by combining a friendly and knowledgeable store experience with an inventory that rivals the largest retailers. At Control Depot, we don’t just sell you products, we sell you solutions.”

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.

Pat Killeen
Engineered Controls

“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, connecting them to each other 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 the comfort, safety, and convenience needs of the building and its occupants.”

Chris Langer
Langer Electric

Langer Electric (langerelectricco.wixsite.com/electrical) is another reputable contractor who can help you find ways to save energy, in addition to ensuring that all of your upgrades are code-compliant and safe for employees. Langer is a licensed, bonded, and insured electrical company serving the Omaha region that prides itself on delivering exceptional customer service and building relationships with customers because, if you own a business, you’ll certainly need electric work more than just during your remodel. You can bet you’ll be treated well, because Langer wants your business for life.

“The hottest trend is upgrading everything to LED,” said Owner Chris Langer. “LEDs use 90% less electricity than the standard incandescent bulb, so you’re getting more light for less power. Also, Wi-Fi switches are continually improving. People can install and control everything throughout their house, including security cameras. It’s like a one-stop-shop that can all be controlled through an app on an iPad or smartphone. It’s pretty much standard these days to have 24/7 surveillance of your property sent right to your phone.”

As you upgrade 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. If the company’s online testimonials are any indication, you’re going to be happy with the outcome!

Goodbye, Plumbing Problems

Whether you already have an idea of what you want for your business or you need help with the designs, Big Birge Plumbing (bigbirgeplumbing.com) is at your service. With 40 years of combined experience in the plumbing industry, they have helped businesses in a wide range of industries with the plumbing aspects of remodeling projects. They handle everything from the installation of new fixtures and plumbing components to the replacement of old, outdated fixtures. Skilled labor is not the place to skimp on quality; choose Big Birge’s team of Omaha plumbers for superior American craftsmanship at the fairest prices around. They’ll take care of the custom design that fits your needs and budget; project management and coordination; repairs, demolition, and construction; selection of all materials and fixtures; and the installation of all materials, lighting, flooring, and fixtures.

One of the most prominent trends in plumbing remodels as of late is replacement of older and high-flow flush valves and toilets with new models that meet or exceed the latest city, state, and international plumbing codes. In addition, many commercial businesses are changing current plumbing fixtures with high-performing ones that are functional, nice to look at, and can help reduce water use.

Co-owner Lallenia Birge says that what makes Big Birge Plumbing different than many other companies is its personal investment in getting it right every time.

Lallenia Birge
Big Birge Plumbing

“A lot of people and owners say they care, but we deep-down want to do the right thing and always have,” shared Lallenia. “Yes, making a profit is rewarding, but that’s not why we are in business. We started this business because we saw a need for plumbers that do quality work and are honest. We want our customers to be treated right. We hire the people on our team who are honest, hardworking, qualified, and care about others.”

Lallenia and her husband and co-owner, Brad Birge, often are asked about making things “cheaper,” but they warn that the problem with cheaper plumbing is that it will cost more in the long run.

“Our advice is to hire real plumbers and pay for quality plumbing installations and fixtures,” Lallenia said. “Your plumbing system is something that is used every day, multiple times throughout the day. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and do your research before just hiring the least-expensive plumber.”

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.

Ben Russell
McGill Restoration

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,” Ben added. “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.

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 your self in your ideal workspace after partnering with these contractors.