Commercial Remodeling in Omaha, Nebraska
As time wears away at buildings or modifications need to be made to enhance a building’s functionality or aesthetic quality, renovations become advantageous in order to improve the environment in which you are conducting business. As remodeling a commercial space is often a significant undertaking, there are generally a lot of decisions needing to be made that the average individual with no professional experience in the field could use help with. This is why there are numerous thriving businesses in our community that are well equipped to assist other businesses in regards to improving their buildings. In fact, it’s the transformation to a modern landscape that’s positioned Omaha as a place where people want to work and live.
Focusing on adding items that provide real financial value to facilities or fixing issues that are affecting the business’s bottom line, or a combination of the two, are most often the reasons behind setting a commercial remodeling project into motion. From the perspective of commercial building owners and managers who are considering a remodel or retrofit project, most are focused on what will provide them an attractive return on their investment. This is indeed important, but not the only benefit that a business will enjoy as a result of improving targeted interior of exterior aspects of the building itself.
Take for example energy consumption in your building, which is a big deal as far as expenditures go. A few things to focus your attention on that have a positive financial impact plus a host of related benefits are:
1. Investing in Engineered Controls’ Energy and Environmental Optimization program, which is a program that is designed to assist in the upgrading of existing mechanical equipment or replaces potentially outdated or end-of-life equipment
2. Indoor air quality or IAQ
3. Lighting control solutions
“Today energy use in a commercial building is becoming an ever-increasing financial concern, but also an operational problem for building owners,” emphasizes Pat Killeen of Engineered Controls. “Building owners are looking for reliable, cost-effective solutions to answer these new energy challenges and reduce their carbon footprint. To that end, Engineered Controls, in conjunction with Honeywell, has a new energy program to address these concerns. The Energy and Environmental Optimization Program is designed to leverage a broad portfolio of energy efficiency products and solutions, as well as offer a high level of energy expertise to commercial buildings in the hands of skilled, knowledgeable, and certified Energy and Environmental Optimization Program professionals. Additionally, Engineered Controls is partnering with Noesis to provide innovative payment plans to our customers. Noesis the leading provider of financing for commercial building equipment, offering creative ways to pay for equipment replacements and energy efficiency necessities, and is backed by the world’s largest provider of credit for equipment purchases.”
Indoor air quality is also a major concern for all commercial entities—businesses, hospitals and medical facilities, schools, churches—as it affects the building managers, tenants, customers and employees alike because of the impact on the health, comfort, wellbeing, and productivity of the building’s occupants. Good indoor air quality in buildings is a central component of a healthy indoor environment, which extends into other areas affecting a business’s day-to-day operations. As just one example, significant increases in worker productivity have been demonstrated when the air quality is adequate, particularly in setting the scene with a comfortable environment that allows employees and management to focus clearly on completion of tasks to the best of their abilities as well as supporting positive health outcomes that will result in less sick days.
Also on the list of concerns, commercial buildings, businesses, schools, and government facilities spend thousands of dollars each month to light unoccupied rooms, offices, warehouse, and more, spending even more to operate lights in areas that are already bright from the natural light outside. Engineered Controls, along with Honeywell lighting controls solution can make lighting much more efficient. The Honeywell Lighting Controls Solution offers smart scheduling, presence detection and photocells to ensure lights are not left on in vacant areas, but also that lights are off in areas where there is already plenty of natural light. New lighting technologies such as LED fixtures with dimming capability have diversified lighting control options and today’s contractors are able to deliver daylight harvesting, demand response and task tuning strategies that previously required expensive, proprietary lighting control equipment.
Everything we’ve covered thus far adds up to truly significant energy savings as a standalone solution or as a part of an overall integrated energy management plan that joins lighting control together with Honeywell heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), security, and building automation products.
Within the commercial remodeling industry, there are a lot of different upgrades and amenities offered that, all things considered, are truly transformative and have wide-ranging applications. Travis Stutzman of Echo Systems asserts that considerations for a commercial remodel with a number of benefits in terms of aesthetics and function are lighting design, automated shades, security, and AV technology. He states, “The best lighting is integrated into the architecture of the space, reinforcing the activity occurring in the space, and highlighting prominent areas. A ‘one size fits all’ approach is quite common and yet, oftentimes unsuccessful. It is important to work on a space-by-space basis to determine specific lighting design criteria that factors in flexibility. The lighting design needs to be kept simple to avoid visual clutter. It is important to layer the light, from ambient to task and also accent to get the best balance of light in the space given. Lighting uses about 30 percent of the electricity used in an office space. Dimming controls can also reduce energy costs by lowering light levels to conserve energy and increase lamp life, in addition to altering the intensity of the lighting to suit a particular tasks or activity.”
While automated shades are often considered a luxury item for a business, they really do make for a great attribute by offering no hassle in regards to the shades in a room or space with a price point that is surprisingly lower than you might imagine. Properly designed shade systems maximize building energy performance, improve productivity, create and maintain a sustainable working environment, and even improve aesthetics. They allow beneficial daylight into a space, while reducing glare and heat gain, which saves energy in the long run. Going back to return on investment being a mix of financial gain and a host of related benefits, this is another ideal example of an all-encompassing addition to a commercial space.
Similarly, to many audio/visual technology seems to be just about displays and speakers, but it is so much more. With Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), collaboration, digital signage, conferencing solutions and control systems for all of the working parts in place, A/V technology solutions are being realized as a necessity for commercial businesses and no longer just a commodity. Properly designed A/V technology solutions improve productivity and efficiency, improve employee and client environments, add visual appeal, and can provide owners with a substantial ROI. That being said, it is important to consider the following: Did you properly budget and choose an A/V integrator that will design and deliver the correct solution to fulfill your current and future needs?
Acoustics, lighting, shades, room flexibility, and technology are commonly overlooked attributes to commercial remodeling endeavors. Many companies seek to find the short term, lowest cost solution and find themselves in the “good enough” category. This critical misconception causes companies to lean towards “workarounds”, which can lead to grossly falling short of meeting the company’s needs in order to fit inside a box. Whether it’s budget restraints, lack of education or both, having someone who can help you look at the bigger picture and work with your budget to get you what you really need should be the ultimate goal.
Stutzman echoes this sentiment, stating, “In my opinion, working around budget restraints and advising our clients as to what’s available to them is our responsibility as the designers, the builders, and the integrators. An example of a faux pas is with shades, or rather lack of, during the initial remodeling phase. Let’s say you do not own the building and the landlord has certain limitations on what you can do to improve the light coming into the room, impacting the ability to see the screens–how does one fix that problem? Common requests we get at Echo Systems are ‘Fix my problem’, ‘I am tired of the work arounds’, and ‘Why do I have to constantly manipulate the system to get it to do what I want it to do?’ We capitalize on making sure all parties look towards the possible ‘what ifs’ down the road.”
When looking forward towards a commercial remodel and what should be incorporated in that project, the outside is just as important as the inside. An attractive property with nice curb appeal often draws clients in, while being highly functional and putting forth great service makes them both stay and come back.
Jeff Benning of McGill Restoration further explains, “Quite often, we see the maintenance on the exterior of buildings or parking garages being neglected, not being properly taken care of, or even as far as being avoided. These repairs are a very critical component of performing a proper renovation of a structure and can help to add years of life to it on top of any improvement to its overall appearance as a result. These repairs can range from washing parts of the exterior to remove pollutants in addition to contaminants, re-caulking the control joint’s sealant, or window glazing to install protective coatings to the elevated levels of parking garages. We understand that these maintenance repairs are not always looked at as adding any aesthetic value to some, but, they are crucial to helping maintain the overall ‘weather tightness’ of a structure. By performing these repairs routinely or in a proactive manner, they will work together in the effects to help eliminate the need for majorly costly structural repairs in the future.”
From the perspective of the experienced professionals at McGill Restoration, as a commercial specialty contractor, they feel it is crucial to maintain and even improve the overall “weather tightness” of a structure or exterior building envelope. Water or moisture entering into a building or structure and coming in contact with the structural components can be detrimental. Over time, it can cause major deterioration or even complete failure, which leads to very costly repairs. Additionally, water coming in contact with interior finishes also has the potential to create mold or bacterial growth. This can lead to potential health problems for the occupants, among other factors, if it is not avoided.
Protection of the inside of the commercial structure is pivotal as well. The team at FireGuard makes great efforts towards protecting the items inside the building, the people who are in the building or are guests of the business, and the actual structure itself. By making efforts towards the installation of a fire alarm system, or updating an outdated system, the tragedy and financial problems that can come with a fire outbreak can be prevented to a large extent.
Bob Sorensen of FireGuard, Inc. advises, “The main concern when a fire breaks out is to get people out of the building in a timely and safe manner. Nobody predicts their business to fall victim to a fire outbreak, but they do generally understand that the potential exists. We take our role in educating our clients very seriously. By talking to the business owner about recognizing existing or potential conditions that can cause a fire, these components can be identified and safety measures can be addressed. A fire can be recognized through the smell of smoke, the sight of the fumes, and the feeling of the heat. Many business fires occur through spontaneous combustion which can quickly progress into a smoldering fire. Even the smoke created by the fire itself can be detected through systems offered by FireGuard. Once you are at the stage where the fire can be seen, you can predict that the feeling of heat that comes with a fire will quickly come next. Alarms often go off around this point and an average individual can be startled. Fire is obviously very hot so before thinking that you want to move into another room, place your hand on the door in between you and the room to feel if it is hot. This ensures that you are not walking directly into a fire, but also provides somewhat of an indication as to where the fire is located so you can avoid that area and move as far away from it as possible.”
Due to the serious nature of fire safety, FireGuard is a responsible business who hires industry professionals. They have crossed a lot of bridges through great amounts of tasks and endeavors, so they can offer helpful insights as to things you might have missed that will greatly impact the safety of everyone in the building. Specifically in regards to commercial remodeling projects, as with indoor air quality, FireGuard also advises people to not underestimate the importance in the alarm and detection industry. People often do not realize its importance until it’s absolutely needed in an emergency, in which time it is likely too late. Moreover, if you are adding on to your building or making significant changes to the space, keep in mind that this type of equipment will need to be adjusted accordingly.
Before possibly expanding your building in the commercial remodel process or adding features, it is also important to have your property lines accurately defined, which will dictate the exact amount of space you have to work with. As such, this should be the first step in the renovation process if it applies to the project, particularly if any type of construction is involved. Toni Montana of Land Survey, Inc. states, “The money that is spent on a project is an investment in the overall value and appearance of the property itself. Many times already established business owners assume that they have all of the knowledge needed in regards to where their property starts and ends because of previous landscape, but I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to know where these property lines are, specifically corners.”
Land Survey, Inc. employs a method to find the property lines that utilizes CAD drawn plans opposed to traditional hand-drawn ones. These are both clearer and more concise. While it has a possibility to take longer, it creates the best results.
Design is often considered to be the fun part of remodeling, and Ceramic Tileworks Center can be a great asset towards the future appearance of your business. Jason Tidblom of Ceramic Tileworks Center explains that, when it comes to choosing finishes, porcelain and wood are two common words one hears in the tile industry. “Porcelain flooring is the most durable floor covering available. This can be beneficial to any business because of the unpredictable traffic, events and day-to-day happenings that can occur. Different styles of this includes: contemporary, wood looks, and slab looks. By having wooden planks that are porcelain and scratch resistant, your floor will wear like iron.”
In addition to flooring, which is something that’s replaced by businesses more often than anything else due to normal wear and tear, Ceramic Tileworks Center offers plenty of countertop options that could potentially be incorporated within a business. With granite slabs in stock, this makes the countertop process very easy with no huge lead times in ordering materials.
No matter what you need help with in the wide world that is commercial remodeling, whether it’s a relatively minor upgrade or a full facelift, many Omaha businesses have their doors open to clients offering their years of expertise, advice, showrooms, and examples of previous work. The aging of a building or office space is inevitable, so when the time comes to consider or carry out a remodel, consult or hire a local professional who can deliver on the promise of a finished project that looks nice, functions properly, and improves the way you do business.