CollaborativeContracting1

Collaborative Contracting

Competitive, complex project-bid models, which typically involve the owner planning a large project without meaningful input from a contractor, have been the foundation of most commercial contract procurements in the past. This process is evolving in the industry due to the current state of affairs….

On-time, in-house construction

How We Keep Your Construction Project On-Time and On-Quality

Usource Construction self-performs on several CSI Divisions and has a specialized construction workforce that executes high quality workmanship. In addition to quality workmanship, Usource has more control over the construction schedule for those self-performing divisions and passes the cost saving down to it’s clients.

How to get your next Washington D.C. construction project started:

Contact Usource to discuss how your next project can be executed with both Usource in-house construction team and subcontractors. We are committed to educating our clients on the process and its benefits. Our goal is always to make sure your next project meets all of your expectations.

On-time, in-house construction

Usource provides high-quality, on-time construction services because we have an excellent in-house construction team and over 20 years of project management experience in Washington D.C.

Will My Contractor Pull Permits and Handle D.C. Building Entitlements?

Yes. We here at Usource Construction will be more than happy to assist with this step. Our team is very familiar with the permit process and work closely with the city’s inspectors to ensure your project meets code. We are also accustomed to addressing questions by phone and in-person, so don’t hesitate to reach out to find the answers you need.

One way to determine whether your project needs a permit is to consult your city building and permit office. Most have information online that you may review on your own.

Projects requiring a permit typically include:

  • Adding or removing walls
  • Changing the use (such as converting a residential use to a commercial use)
  • Relocation or installation of new plumbing pipes, mechanical systems, or electrical wiring for your building
  • Installation of a new roof and replacement of structural components for the building
  • Partial new construction (demolition and rebuild to a portion)

Usually, the person who pulls the permit is responsible for ensuring the construction is code compliant.

If you have never tried to pull a permit before, we suggest hiring Usource Construction for your next project. Allow yourself to focus on creating an efficient and highly functional space for  your next commercial/residential project without the hassle of dealing with local regulations or cumbersome restrictions. We can do it for you–we are experts at navigating through the design, regulatory, and construction process.

Just visit www.usourceservices.com to contact us.

 

What is a Full-Service Construction Company?

A full-service construction company provides design and build services including materials, equipment, and labor for excavating, masonry, carpentry, and more for your new construction, renovation, remodel, or restoration. Working with one company from planning to securing financing, breaking ground, and keeping your project on track in the Washington D.C. area simplifies the experience and helps you get the end result you want.

At Usource Services we take a full-service approach to give clients the best construction experience possible. We balance cost, quality, and time by working with you through every stage of the project, including:

  1. Design & Engineering – Developing the scope of work needed, including architectural, engineering, and material acquisition services 
  2. Regulatory Management – Managing the entitlement process to secure approvals and proper permitting
  3. Project Financing – Assisting you with securing capital partners to finance your project, whether it’s a new build, renovation, or remodel
  4. Project Management Support – Overall coordination of all your project’s moving parts, keeping costs under control and work on schedule
  5. Construction – We have a full construction team experienced in renovation and new construction

We can help you get your project started, keep it on track, and open your doors with a fresh, new space built to your needs. Just give us a call–let’s talk about what you want to build!

“Can I Keep My Business Open During a Remodel or Renovation?”

The answer may be yes, but it depends on the kind of business you operate and the work that is planned in your commercial remodel or renovation. You’ll want to discuss this with your general contractor to find out if staying open may be possible. 

A remodel or renovation is a major investment, so many business owners prefer to minimize the amount of time they need to close their doors. But if it’s safe and practical to remain open while work is underway, how do you, your employees, and your customers get through it with as little added stress as possible? In this blog, we’ll look at a few things to consider before beginning a remodel or renovation in your place of business.

  • Discuss your preference to stay open with your contractor, and ask for a schedule of work.

This is the first and most important step. Before finalizing any plans, discuss your plans to stay open with your contractor. They can advise you on what to expect with the work that is planned, and they’ll likely have tips based on past experience with commercial construction projects. Ask them for a schedule of work from start to finish so you’ll be able to plan around what’s happening in the building day to day. For example, there may be a short period of time you’ll plan to close if the power or water need to be turned off, or if loud or noisy work is planned like concrete demolition.

  • Plan for a clean living and working space throughout the work. 

Depending on the extent of your remodel or renovation, you may be able to block off half of your building, or at least enough space to safely and comfortably accommodate your staff and customers. Safety is of course the top priority, so you’ll need some space free of extension cords, building materials, and unfinished surfaces. If every room will be part of the remodel, work with your contractor to plan when you can remain open, and when you’ll have to close. The earlier you sort this out, the better you can prepare your staff and customers for coming changes.

  • Make sure supplies are ordered or on-hand before work begins.

No matter how well your remodel or renovation goes, you’ll definitely want work to be completed as soon as possible. Speak with your contractor about needed materials and make sure that everything will be ready before work begins. The last thing you want is to have an unfinished space longer than you need to because of delayed shipping. 

  • Take photos, ask questions, and prioritize the needs of your staff and customers.

During your remodel, life will be different. People will come and go from the jobsite, some areas will be inaccessible at times, and you’ll have plastic sheeting and drop cloths everywhere. And some days will be noisier than others. But you’ll also see your building’s upgrade happening in real time! 

Make sure that above all you prioritize your staff and customers. The last thing you want to do is impact their experience negatively while you’re saving money during the renovation. Be clear and upfront about the work that will be done, how long you plan to stay open, and always prepare to adjust on the fly as needs change. 

Whether you choose to stay open or close during a remodel, your contractor should work to accommodate your needs–the key is always proper planning upfront and an honest conversation between you and your contractor.

Ready to begin a remodel or just have a few questions? Give us a call!

Rising Lumber Prices and Your Construction Project or Renovation

You’ve likely noticed the recent rise in lumber prices if you currently have a construction or renovation project underway, or if you’re planning to begin one later this year. It’s true that many building materials have quickly become more expensive since around this time last year. As a general contractor working with customers across the Washington D.C. area, we’d like to share a few tips for dealing with higher material costs and what to expect from your contractor.

While this is a challenging time for both commercial and residential construction companies, and their clients, keeping these things in mind can help you navigate fluctuating prices together and still achieve your desired project outcome:

  • Discuss potential price increases with your contractor now

If you haven’t already, now’s the time to connect with your general contractor about potential cost adjustments. As always, we advise honest, open communication between contractor and client, especially when it comes to the project budget. Getting ahead of the issue can prevent surprises down the road. The sooner you discuss price changes with your contractor, the more flexibility they’ll have to offer cost-saving tips in other areas to offset higher materials prices.

  • Understand cost adjustment terms in your construction contract

Terms for cost adjustments during a project can usually be found in your construction contract. Many times, general contractors can deliver work under budget. When materials or labor get more expensive, or when unforeseen circumstances arise, there will usually be clear guidelines for adjusting the overall cost of the project up. Make sure you understand the process for any mark-ups based on unforeseen circumstances.

  • Ask about adjustments if material costs decrease

Your contractor should absolutely revisit cost adjustments if the price of lumber and other materials falls, affecting work still to be done on your project. We feel this is only fair, and clients should expect it. Make sure to bring this up in any discussions you have about price increases.

If you’re project is still in the planning phase, you’re still working out construction financing, or you need a general contractor in the Washington D.C. area, give us a call. We’ve seen price squeezes before, and we’ll be happy to offer our best advice to help get your project off the ground.

kitchen reno

4 Tips for a Successful Renovation or Remodel

Beginning a renovation or remodel project can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. With the right partners, however, you’ll have the support to navigate your way to a successful result. Tapping into the experience of your general contractor is key to finding answers and avoiding common pitfalls. In fact, some of the most important decisions you’ll make with your contractor will happen before the first hammer swings. 

In this beautiful kitchen renovation, our team brought the customer’s vision to life.

To get started on the right foot, you’ll want to keep these following 4 tips in mind. This will help you plan your project with your general contractor, stay engaged and confident while work is being done, and find yourself at the end of the project with the results you expected–or possibly even better!

Tip #1

Honestly consider and discuss your budget.

Your general contractor’s goal should always be to deliver the work you expect, on time and within your budget. To do that, you need to have an honest discussion about your budget for the project up front. Your builder needs to know up front what they’re working with before making plans, ordering supplies, or hiring labor. Changing the budget after work begins can cause major disruptions in the project. So have an honest conversation, your contractor can help you understand realistic renovation cost expectations and timing based on the resources available.

Tip #2

Check your contractor’s license and reputation.

Before beginning a major renovation or remodel, you’ll want to know exactly who you’re working with. Don’t be afraid to ask for your contractor’s license information. And definitely ask for references. Do a little digging yourself, too. A reputable, fair-dealing contractor won’t have anything to hide from you.

Tip #3

Discuss timing, and remain reasonably flexible during the project.

An experienced contractor will tell you delays happen. That’s normal. There are a lot of moving parts in a renovation or remodel, and often your contractor depends on vendors to deliver quality products on time. Your contractor should, however, be able to give you realistic estimate of how long a renovation or remodel will take, while also alerting you to potential issues ahead of time. If you get a call that work will be delayed, ask questions and remain understanding. As long as you keep an open, honest dialogue with your contractor, you can trust that you’re getting the truth about delays and that they’re doing their best to navigate issues and keep the project on time.

Tip #4

Stay open to your contractor’s ideas.

Experience plays a big role in successfully completing any construction project. Your contractor should always work to achieve your goals, but stay open to any ideas they may have. They might know how to save money, time, or better achieve your ultimate vision. For example, they may suggest a more inexpensive, but just as attractive and durable, alternative to the hardwood flooring or granite countertops you initially asked for. They may also know how to save a little time or money in one part of a project, freeing up resources to make major upgrades elsewhere.

Every detail count. This bathroom renovation was completed to the customer’s specifications–on time and within budget.

Work with your contractor to achieve amazing results

It all comes down to having the right partner throughout your project. Your general contractor brings the know-how and the experience to make your project happen. You supply the vision. Together, you’ll likely get to the desired result on time and within your budget.

3 Ways to Manage the Cost of a Building Renovation or Restoration

Every construction project is a balancing act between cost, quality, and time. Changes to one of these aspects affects the other two. Of course, everyone wants the best outcome given the resources available. Delivering finished work on time and under budget is always the goal. However, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by cost at the start of a project when aligning plans with your budget. 

An experienced, trustworthy general contractor will help you get the most for the time, budget, and materials available. Honestly discussing budget and expectations upfront sets the project out on the right foot. Often, a contractor who has a long history of building in your area will be able to leverage their experience and business network to make your budget go further with labor, materials, and equipment. 

Here are three ways an experienced contractor can help you manage costs:

  • Planning your project at the right time of year

The climate of your area is a significant factor in completing construction projects. Depending on the nature of your renovation or restoration, this can make one season a financially wiser choice over another. Your experienced general contractor can help you choose the right time of year based on what your project entails, whether it’s extensive outdoor concrete work or a meticulous interior historic restoration. 

  • Choosing cost-effective materials and design elements

Materials and artisan labor can make historic restorations an expensive proposition. Restoring an old mahogany floor, for example, could prove much more costly than replacing it with stained oak, hickory, or cherry designed to last many years with minimal maintenance. Your contractor can help you save costs while retaining the building’s historic charm by saving sections of undamaged floor or even repurposing salvaged pieces as decor. This can help you achieve a balance between cost and results.

  • Doing work right the first time

Doing the job right can save you a ton of money. Having a project completed on the cheap only to be forced to make repairs or redo portions of the projects within a year or two can hit your budget hard. Experienced contractors earn their reputation from results. Always ask them to share a list of completed projects, and speak with their past clients if possible. If they’re happy with the work the contractor did, you can go into your project confident you’ll spend your budget to get the job done right the first time, giving you many years of use of enjoyment.

Considering the cost of your next renovation or construction project? Let’s chat about your options. We’ll help you strike the right balance between cost, quality, and time so you’re completely satisfied with the results.

What’s the Difference Between Building Restoration and Renovation?

When it comes to improving an existing structure, it’s easy to confuse a historic restoration with a building renovation. The primary difference between the two is adherence to historic accuracy. Depending on whether your priority is to preserve a building’s historic look and feel or improve it functionally while maintaining its charm, you and your general contractor will decide whether a restoration or renovation is right for you.

What is a historic restoration?

Restoring a building means bringing it back to its original, or at least a previous, appearance. Care will be taken to conceal modern updates like ventilation systems, electrical upgrades, or security improvements. A restored building can still function as a safe, modern space, but efforts to conceal upgrades will be factored into the budget. 

Building restorations also involve repairs to one-of-a-kind features like antique fixtures or stained glass windows. Often, these repairs will cost more than simply replacing with modern, readily available materials. This is a key area to decide if a restoration or a renovation is the right way to go. In some cases, historic materials simply aren’t practical, safe, or allowed by building codes. Lead paint and asbestos insulation, for example, will be replaced with new materials without changing the look of the building. 

What is a building renovation?

Renovation involves updating and improving what’s already in the building. While the overall layout will stay mostly the same, walls will be refreshed with new paint, floors may be switched from tile to hardwood, and lighting fixtures may be replaced with new units. Often in renovations, historic charm is maintained by selecting certain antique elements to retain. This could be a particular stained glass window, a carved banister, or an elegant fireplace mantle. These select features will be largely left alone while everything around them is updated with more modern materials and design elements. 

Choosing a renovation can help you meet functional and budget goals. The result can be a fresh, modern space completed with durable materials designed for commercial building demands. Often when an older building is being converted for use as modern office spaces, renovation is the way to go. Your general contractor can help you build a plan that meets your budget, while identifying key elements of the original structure to retain. With a renovation, you give new life to an aging structure. 

Is a restoration or renovation right for your next construction project?

Speak with a general contractor experienced in both restoration and renovation to decide the right path for your next project. You may find that you want to restore some elements of your building while renovating others. 

Balancing cost, quality, and time is key to achieving the result you want. With over 25 years of experience restoring and renovating buildings in Washington D.C. neighborhoods, we can help you understand your options and get your project started on the right foot with a solid plan.

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3 Reasons Spring is the Best Time for Construction Projects

Spring is the best time to start a new construction project or historic building renovation in Washington D.C. As the days get longer and the cherry blossoms get close to blooming, now’s the time to get your project on the books with your contractor. The schedule fills up fast this time of year. With longer days, warmer temperatures, and many people and organizations moving their winter plans into action, you can get ahead of the curve by giving us a call today.

 

Here are 3 reasons spring is the best time for construction in D.C.:

  • More time in the day

While changing the clocks didn’t actually give us an extra hour of daylight, the days are getting longer as we race toward summer. More daylight means more time to get work done on the construction site. This helps keep projects on schedule. Longer days also create wider windows for concrete to cure, a critical aspect of the early phases of construction. 

  • Warmer temperatures–but not too warm

Spring temperatures in the Washington D.C. area are a true Goldilocks zone. It’s warm enough to work with temperature-sensitive materials (like concrete, paint, etc.), but not too hot for those doing the work. Plus, snow and ice days are generally behind us. This eliminates a major disruption experienced during the winter months. 

  • Put your winter ideas into action

If you had a construction project in mind through the winter, you likely spent cold days indoors watching home restoration shows and scrolling through ideas online. Beginning a new project is exciting, and it’s only natural to research all of your options ahead of time. Now that spring is here, it’s time to make those dreams reality. Beginning your project now means you could be enjoying your new space by the time the next winter rolls around.

 

Put our experience on your side this spring as you launch your new project. Whether you’re breaking ground on new construction or restoring one of the D.C. area’s many historic churches or commercial buildings, we’ll partner with you through every every step. 

 

Got questions? Give us a call. Let’s chat about where you’re at in the planning phase, next steps to get your project underway, and what to expect in terms of time, budget, and project outcome. Spring is here–let’s build something together!