Church of Christ Renovation Project ( Part 1 )

If you’ve ever worked on a renovation project, you know how it can be. Noise, dust, budgets, dumpsters, and so on! Just Google “renovation,” and you’ll find many posts about budgets, how to survive, … you get the picture. To say it’s stressful is an understatement. Now, imagine a renovation to your existing church building where you still need to have services on Sunday, but your sanctuary is torn up and some areas require hard hats. How do you keep doing church in the midst of a this?

How can a church keep going in the midst of a renovation? Here are three steps to consider.

1 – Plan Ahead

2 – Create a Communicaions Plan

3 – Be Flexible and have Fun!

Here’s a good example of our latest project, the Church of Christ on 3100 13th Street. The sanctuary ‘Before’. 

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The old Sanctuary

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Check back in with us to find out how it went!  Or visit www.usourceservices.com to contact us and find out more on how we can asssit you with your renovation project.

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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.

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Converting a Residence into a Commercial Property

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A successful residential-to-commercial property starts with proper planning. As an experienced Washington D.C. general contractor, we can help.

Converting older residential buildings into commercial properties is a trend throughout many historic Washington D.C. neighborhoods. As our communities evolve, former residential buildings are sometimes perfectly situated for use as retail spaces, cafes, or office spaces. 

However, successfully converting a home into a place of business isn’t as easy as simply going in and performing a quick renovation. There’s paperwork, structural design, and of course financing to consider. 

Over our 25 years of general contracting in the Washington D.C. area, we have gained experience and learned a lot over the years. Here are three key considerations for any residential to commercial conversion project:

Permitting, zoning, and paperwork

Every construction project comes with its share of paperwork. But a residential to commercial conversion may also require re-zoning and special permitting, depending on the location and property details. If it’s a historic building or located within a designated historic district, there may also be special permissions required before work can begin. 

You’ll want to work with an experienced general contractor who knows how to navigate through the entitlement process. Knowing what’s required and who to talk with to get approvals is key to getting your project off on the right foot.

Extent of structural and design work

Residential spaces differ considerably from work spaces. The layout and structural components of your building may need to be addressed in the planning phase in order to serve it’s new intended function. In many cases, new electrical and plumbing will need to be installed with more stringent requirements as well as fire alarm, sprinkler and building accessibility. 

On the other hand, historical charm in features like a brick fireplace or a grand staircase can lend your new commercial space true character. We love working with clients and our design team to strike the right balance of what to keep and what to change in commercial conversions.

Financing and budgeting

Of course, financing forms the foundation of any construction project. Finding the right financial institution to back your project is key–they’ll be your partner in getting the job done right and on time. Ideally, you’ll want to work with a lender experienced in historic restorations and/or residential-to-commercial conversions. 

Give us a call and we’ll gladly guide you to banks and financial institutions in our area that may be the right fit for your next building project.

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How Long Does a Historic Building Restoration Take?

Restoring a historic home or commercial building takes time, money, and usually specialized skills possessed by experienced trade workers. The balance between time and money spent on a historic restoration aren’t necessarily as inversely related as they are in a typical renovation or construction project.

Some historic building restorations can be completed in 6 months or less. Other times, it may take more than a year to finish your restoration to your specifications. In this blog, we’ll discuss factors that can affect how long your historic restoration takes.

Specialized labor and materials

Building methods, materials used, and design tastes naturally evolve. Structural and finish materials in a historic building often differ from those used today. Finding direct replacements and qualified labor can be a challenge depending on the time of year and the area you’re in. 

In a city like Washington D.C. where many historic restorations take place each year, specialized labor and materials can be easier to find than in a more rural setting. One of the first things your general contractor will want to discuss with you before starting a restoration will be how much of the original appearance you’ll want to restore or maintain. 

Necessary upgrades, repairs, or new infrastructure

It’s normal for older buildings to need significant repairs or safety upgrades. This is especially true for buildings that have been neglected for some time. Structural beams or foundations may be failing, lead pipes may need to be replaced throughout the building, or you may have to work with the city to repair a damaged sewer connection. 

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Historic add a lot of charm to our D.C. neighborhoods. It’s easy to see why local organizations exist to protect them.

Often these kinds of repairs will have to be completed before the structure is safe enough for other restoration work to begin. To spot potential hang-ups, you’ll want to review your inspection report with your general contractor.

Special permit or permission requirements

Here in the Washington D.C. area, we love our historic buildings. And not just those around the National Mall–our historic neighborhoods get a lot of their charm from the beautiful historic homes and buildings that line the streets. For this reason, organizations and rules exist to protect historic structures and ensure they remain a part of our city. 

 

Some buildings are in the National Register of Historic Places. Others may have a local historic designation or fall within historic district boundaries. Navigating varying levels of restrictions is something your local general contractor can help with. Through our 25 years, we’ve learned the many ins and outs of pulling permits for historic restorations in the D.C. neighborhoods.

The fastest way to complete your historic restoration is by calling us today

The bottom line is that the sooner you begin, the sooner your historic restoration will be complete. Start by giving us a call today to discuss what you have in mind. We can help you get your bearings and lay out next steps toward beginning work. 

Let’s talk! 

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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.