Construction services company in Kansas City

Construction services company in Kansas City

Construction DesignWorks is a self-performing general contractor

Is your general contractor a paper contractor or do they self-perform any of their services? A construction services company would typically be the latter. A ground-up services company typically would be providing 100% project management services which are closely defined as a paper contractor. General contractors that specialize in commercial tenant finish as well as building reconstruction services typically self-perform a portion of their work. Self-performing offers benefits such as lower costs, higher quality, and improved schedules. The general contractor has a much better labor force than a subcontractor.

Construction services companies that self-perform provide specialty services


Commercial metal stud framing is much different than wood studs you find in the residential construction industry. Not only are the materials different, but the installation techniques are very different. You normally do not see a crossover of commercial to residential framing because they are so different and are in their own different specialties.


Subcontracting drywall (gyp board) work has its advantages. It also has its pitfalls. Not much can go wrong during the hanging phase. Gyp board finishing is where the craftsmanship is most noticeable. Self-performing the gyp board finish can make or break the final product and help make the construction services company successful when delivered with a high degree of quality and attention to detail.

Finish Carpentry

Levels of finish carpentry vary greatly between carpenters, crews, and companies. While one finish carpenter might specialize in building cabinets, another might be an expert in hanging and trimming doors. Self-performing finish carpentry gives the construction services company a much larger range of products and options for clients and architects to choose from. A new brewery may require a highly customized bar top and front that a casework and cabinets company may not be able to produce.

Acoustical Ceiling

The ability to install your own acoustical ceiling tile (ACT) systems can be invaluable since this is completed toward the end of the project and needs to be coordinated with lighting, fire sprinklers, audio speakers, and HVAC supply registers. This coordination of different disciplines toward the end of the project can kill a schedule and prohibit the project from being turned over on time.

There are countless specialty areas a general contractor may self-perform in addition to these four areas. Fields of construction such as tile and flooring installation, insulation, data, low voltage, and painting all offer value and scheduling advantages to the project. The ability to self-perform may just be the deal maker or breaker; serious consideration should be made by the owner and architect when interviewing and evaluating a construction services company for a new project.

White Box Finish

White Box Finish

White Box (also known as Vanilla Shell, Vanilla Shell, Lit Shell, Plain Vanilla Shell, Plain Vanilla Box, Warm Vanilla Shell, Warm Vanilla Box, Warm White Box, Warm White Shell)

‘White Box’ is a term used for a type of finish in commercial real estate with an unfinished interior and does not include: interior walls (other than code required restrooms), wall coverings, paint, flooring, plumbing fixtures (other than code required restrooms and drinking fountains), upgraded electrical fixtures, and upgraded code required restroom fixtures. A white box is ready for tenant improvements (TI’s), which are to be completed once the lease agreement has been negotiated and executed.

It includes a space that is protected from the outside elements which typically includes a roof, exterior windows, and doors. Also included is a basic finished ceiling, floor sufficient for most flooring, basic heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), basic lighting, fire protection (if necessary per code), restrooms(s) (if required by code), hot water, drinking fountain (if required by code), adequate access by way of an elevator or stairs.

This particular form of construction is for commercial owners who need to quickly incorporate a new tenant into their property.   It is typically an interior space that is minimally finished.   The idea is that the next tenant will be presented with a shell space that they can quickly convert into virtually anything.

White Box Finish

Though the finished project may seem like the bare minimum, the process required to achieve this state is far from it.   All components of the space must be up to code and ready for a new interior tenant build-out.   Additionally, typically a building permit and other licenses are required, depending upon the jurisdiction of the space.

In many cases, the landlord will offer financial incentives in the form of a tenant improvement allowance (TIA), which pays for or at least partially defrays the cost of any improvements necessary for the tenant to occupy the building itself. Tenant improvement allowances do not usually include furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FFE) or trade fixtures necessary for the tenant to conduct business. Usually, white box finishes, or those improvements necessary to upgrade the building from a cold shell, are not completed until the lease agreement between the tenant and landlord has been negotiated and executed. This ensures that the landlord does not pay for improvements that are unnecessary or that the tenant does not want.

Advantages of design-build construction for property owners

Advantages of design-build construction for property owners

General contractor provides piecemeal pricing to fast track projects

Construction DesignWorks, LLC recently worked on three commercial construction projects that are great examples of the advantages of design-build construction compared to the typical design-bid-build (DBB) delivery method. The projects included us as a general contractor (GC) and were in the restaurant renovations/hospitality sector. All of the projects had very tight budgets. These projects involved competent and creative architects and professional engineers. However, in order to keep costs in check, we needed to limit the hours of these design professionals.

As a GC specializing in design-build, we have developed a vast number of vendor contacts from mechanical contractors, electricians, and flooring installers to tile suppliers and beyond. This allows us to consult directly with these vendors, providing value-added services and options for the design, without involving the design professional every single step of the way, all the while being able to fast-track the project after gathering enough information to commence construction.

Time and money are the crucial advantages of design-build construction

Two of these projects were breweries and the other a restaurant. In all of these cases, we immediately obtained pricing for the demolition, new electric service, sub-grade plumbing and framing. We all understood that these particular items were essential and needed to be done regardless of the final details of the project.

We provided piecemeal-type pricing for each of these scopes of work for approval and then provided the service, accelerating the schedule. The remaining scopes of work such as the mechanical system, quantities and types of electrical devices and light fixtures, flooring selections, and wall colors, were all finalized and pricing firmed up.

A new ground-up project we were involved with also required an expedited schedule. Like the other projects above, the overall building design was not complete. We as a design-build general contractor assisted in finalizing the overall job site layout, location of the building, footings, and foundation design, as well as locations and sizes of major utilities. Utilities included electrical power, domestic water, fire protection line, natural gas, and sanitary and storm sewer. We procured all of these services ahead of the overall final project design. This process reduced the overall construction schedule and saved money for the owner.

While piecemeal pricing and phasing the design, development, and construction of a project is not the preferred process, it does offer owners the ability to release the leading parts of the construction project early. This allows the design team and owners to concentrate on the all-important guest experiences and finishes. There are definite advantages of design-build construction over the traditional DBB when the primary contract is direct with the GC. This allows the GC the flexibility to work independently of the architects and engineers to investigate different products and methods to get the greatest value out of the design, ultimately benefitting the owner.