4 Reasons Why Construction DesignWorks Believes Design Build is Superior

4 Reasons Why Construction DesignWorks Believes Design Build is Superior

Design-Bid-Build is Not a Good Fit for Commercial Tenant Finish

KANSAS CITY, MO- The concept of design-build (DB) has been around for centuries. In fact, it has been around much longer than the design-bid-build process that is so popular today. “DB lost favor with the public over a century ago when lobbying efforts by Architects Associations became powerful enough to sway customers into believing the design-bid-build process was superior,” says Scott Hamele, President of Construction DesignWorks, Inc. “ If you have a budget and a schedule to live with, which most of us do, then design-build is the way to go.”

One Responsible Party

General Contractors (GC) are typically responsible for 100% of the construction costs of a project. It makes reasonable sense to then incorporate the design into their scope of work that results in one responsible party. Whether or not the GC has an in-house architect or subcontracts out these services, the GC becomes the single point of contact and responsible party to ensure the project is designed and built to meet the expectations of the client as well as stays on budget.

4 Reasons Why Construction DesignWorks Believes Design Build is Superior


A design-build process allows the creativity and expertise of the architect and the GC’s construction and job costing experience to provide a smooth project for the client. The architectural elements are fine-tuned with the help of the pricing feedback of the general contractor during the design phase.


Most design-bid-build projects require a period of time after the bidding process to allow for the General Contractor(s) to provide value engineering ideas. These are cost-saving ideas that the GCs and their subcontractors come up with alternate design elements. In the design-build process, this value engineering is done during the design and not after a laborious bidding process. It can save weeks if not months of time.

Change Orders

Clients hate change orders. Architects do not like them. Believe it or not, General Contractors despise them. GCs do not like to see clients shell out extra money for things that should have been incorporated into the design from the beginning. There are always unforeseen elements that require change orders, especially in remodels. However, design-build historically reduces change orders as it incorporates the design team, general contractor, subcontractors, and suppliers’ experience and resources into the design process. Thus weeding out flaws in the design and narrowing down options.

5 Keys of White Box Construction to Attract a Franchise

5 Keys of White Box Construction to Attract a Franchise

Construction DesignWorks, Inc. Specializes in Franchise Construction

KANSAS CITY, MO- Are you a commercial real estate broker, building owner, or property manager? Then you probably like the idea of a franchise as a tenant. “A franchise brings a proven track record and increases traffic to your retail center,” says Scott Hamele, President of Construction DesignWorks, Inc. a firm that excels in franchise construction, “There are simple things that can be done to attract a franchise to your building.”

Electrical Supply

During the construction process of the white box construction, it would be prudent to increase the electrical service to meet the potential minimum standards of a future franchise. Most retail franchise tenants would be satisfied with 100 amp for every 1000 square feet. However, coffee shops and tanning salons are among several types of businesses that may require as much as 200 – 400 amps for 1000 square feet of floor space. This increase in amperage would also provide the electrical demand for additional air conditioning for these types of businesses.

Water Supply

Water main tap fees vary throughout the United States and can dissuade a building owner from installing a very large water main. However, this could be detrimental to attracting potential franchises. Even a doughnut shop can require up to a 1-1/4” water main. This could double the tap fee of a 1”, but might be worth it.

5 Keys of White Box Construction to Attract a Franchise

Sanitary Sewer

Most retail centers include only one sanitary sewer line that runs along with the back 25% of the building. Numerous franchise floor plans require restrooms to be located towards the front of the space. So it might be worth installing a second sewer line in your white box finish that would cover this portion of the front space and avoid costly line extensions in the future.

Grease Trap

Most foodservice businesses require a grease trap. Depending on the lot layout and rear and side access to the building, installing the grease trap and tank after the building has been constructed poses numerous challenges. Installing a community or individual grease trap or tank could double the likelihood of attracting a food service franchise.

Gas Service

Most food service franchises require additional gas service versus the typical retail store. Providing adequate gas service is important to accommodate this type of tenant. Either a larger volume or high-pressure gas service will be required. Do your research ahead of time and install for the future needs of foodservice tenants.

Franchise Construction requires a specialized type of project management. These specialized services include experience working with franchise construction standards, furniture fixtures and equipment (FFE) packages, schedules, procurement, and countless details that are specific to franchise projects. Click here to read about How fixing outdoor tiles can help and affect your children.

Construction DesignWorks, Inc. Announces New Website

Construction DesignWorks, Inc. Announces New Website

Redesign Offers Resources for the Commercial Real Estate Community

SHAWNEE, Kansas – Construction DesignWorks, Inc. announces the launch of its newly redesigned website, http://constructiondesignworks.com. A desire to be a credible source of information for design professionals, building owners, commercial tenants, brokers, and property managers was one of the reasons behind the redesign.

“The new look of our website announces a change in the culture at Construction DesignWorks,” says Scott Hamele, CDW’s President. “That said, we wanted a forward-looking design that better reflects what we’re about and everything we have to offer. We want to let the business community know we are the premier experts in Interior Commercial Construction. ”

The new site contains information about the company which designs and builds commercial interiors for types of real estate such as office, healthcare, hospitality, industrial, and retail.

The site also includes detailed information about important topics within the commercial real estate and construction community such as help with BOMA definitions, project managementwhite box finishes, general construction terms, real estate lease content, and many others. Most of these educational items can be found on their “Toolbox” page which will be become a huge resource to the business community.

“Our blog is the main feature of our redesign. We discuss topics about commercial real estate and construction and look forward to instituting a dialogue around important issues that affect us all,” Hamele says. You can read about Things to consider before selecting the best outdoor tiles for your home by clicking here.

Added features to consider prior to commercial tenant construction

Added features to consider prior to commercial tenant construction

Construction DesignWorks makes white box construction appealing

I have attempted over the years to better define a vague term in commercial real estate – white box construction. This term is widely used to outline what the landlord’s deliverables will be to the tenant prior to the commercial tenant construction. I previously authored an article that sets forth a clear definition and scope of work that includes everything from the minimum sizing requirements of the HVAC system to the existence of ADA restrooms.

Lease rates and terms are based on a cloudy understanding of the landlord’s deliverables and thus these rates and terms are typically based on inaccurate information. By following the scope of work detailed in my prior article, all parties will fully understand exactly what the landlord is to deliver to the tenant, and the lease terms will be based on hard facts and precise numbers. The owner should consider a few options to produce a more inviting and attractive space to potential tenants prior to commercial tenant construction.

Additional options in white box construction to attract tenants


While the final color choice should be up to the future tenant, a crisp coat of white paint would make the space look clean and move-in ready. This should even speed up the leasing process by making it look more attractive. Most walls can receive a coat of latex primer white for as little as 50 cents per square foot of coverage area, making it a very affordable option to consider.


The decision of what to do with the ceiling can be a tough one and is ultimately up to the tenant. However, considering the surrounding spaces and building, one might conclude an open (naked) ceiling is the proper path most anyone would take. A coat of dry-fall paint would greatly enhance the look of the space and again furthering it to be move-in ready. I always suggest a light grey because it hides dirt well and makes the space look higher. For $1.25 to $1.50 per square foot, a ceiling can be painted. Additional costs will apply for extra items such as structural elements and HVAC ductwork. You can read about Creating a Stylish Design with Outdoor Tiles by visiting http://constructiondesignworks.net/creating-a-stylish-design-with-outdoor-tiles/



Design-Build is the cornerstone of our company.   CDW provides full-service design-build services. These services include a client’s needs assessment (architectural program), bridging documents, preliminary plans, subcontractor bid documents, a comprehensive set of design documents, construction management, and construction services.

Design+Build (or design/build, and abbreviated D–B or D/B accordingly) is a project delivery system used in the construction industry. It is a method to deliver a project in which the design and construction services are contracted by a single entity known as the design-builder or design-build contractor. In contrast, to “design–bid–build” (or “design–tender”), design-build relies on a single point of responsibility contract and is used to minimize risks for the project owner and to reduce the delivery schedule by overlapping the design phase and construction phase of a project. DB with its single point responsibility carries the clearest contractual remedies for the clients because the DB contractor will be responsible for most of the work on the project.

The traditional approach for construction projects consists of the appointment of a designer on one side, and the appointment of a contractor on the other side. This approach is inherently confrontational. The design-build procurement route changes the traditional sequence of work. It answers the client’s wishes for a single point of responsibility in an attempt to reduce risks and overall costs. It is now commonly used in many countries and forms of contracts are widely available.

Design-build is sometimes compared to the “master builder” approach, one of the oldest forms of the construction procedure. Comparing design-build to the traditional method of procurement, the authors of “Design-build Contracting Handbook” noted: “From a historical perspective the so-called traditional approach is actually a very recent concept, only being in use approximately 150 years. In contrast, the design-build concept–also known as the “master builder” concept—as been reported as being in use for over four millennia.”

The Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) is a great resource and helps define the advantages for the owner of this project delivery system.

Commercial Tenant Improvements (T.I.) 

Commercial Tenant Improvements (T.I.) 

Commercial Tenant Improvements (T.I.) also known as tenant finish, is the heart and soul of our business.  Our team has specialized in tenant improvements and finishes for over 19 years. We have worked closely with tenants, landlords, investors, and commercial real estate brokers.

While there are different types of interior commercial improvements, we have separated them into three distinct categories: Interior Improvements (II)Landlord Improvements (LI), and Tenant Improvements (TI).

Definitions of Interior Commercial Improvements

Interior Improvements (II):

Modifications of a commercial space made by either the building owner or tenant. Interior improvements are the customized and/or standardized alterations a building owner and/or tenant makes to commercial space prior to a lease or as part of a lease agreement. These include changes to walls, floors, ceilings, and lighting, among others.

Landlord Improvements (LI):

Modifications of a commercial space made by the building owner prior to tenant improvements. Landlord improvements, also known as white-box improvements, are the standardized alterations a building owner makes to commercial space prior to a lease agreement, in order to configure the space for a quick turnover to a tenant for Tenant Improvements. These include changes to walls, floors, ceilings, and lighting, among others.

Tenant Improvements (TI):

Modifications of commercial space are made by either the building owner or tenant in order to configure the space to accommodate the specific requirements of the tenant. Leasehold improvements, also known as tenant improvements (TI), are the customized alterations a building owner makes to commercial space as part of a lease agreement, in order to configure the space for the needs of that particular tenant. These include changes to walls, floors, ceilings, and lighting, among others.

There are several synonymous terms for Tenant Improvements that are used within the real estate and construction industry. The use of these terms is not necessarily interchangeable and can be confusing if not used properly. These terms include Tenant Finish, Leasehold Improvements, the initial’s (TI), Commercial Construction, Interior Improvements, Construction Improvements as well as Commercial Remodeling. The most used term in the industry is Tenant Improvements (TI). The definition of TI can vary slightly as viewed from different Industries.

3 Tips for Project Management

3 Tips for Project Management

Construction DesignWorks Chooses the Right Subcontractors

There are thousands of articles and books written about project management in construction. However, I seldom see much of anything mentioned about choosing the right subcontractors. The construction project could be ground up, tenant finish, ed or even retail renovations; selecting the right subcontractors and vendors can make or break the job. It isn’t always about the almighty dollar.

I have been involved with, and continue to work with, some subcontractors that go above and beyond to satisfy the client. On the flip side I have also been involved in numerous construction projects where the subcontractors are chosen have slowed the project down, wouldn’t work with other trades, were disrespectful to the owner, and would not follow the design documents. What some subs don’t realize is that they are part of a team and one spoke of the wheel. I consider the subs, vendors, general contractors,s and design professionals all on equal ground. The project can’t be delivered successfully if everyone on the team doesn’t do their part to succeed.

3 Simple Tips to Choosing a Subcontractor to Assemble a Great Team


Vetting different subcontractors, based on their size, will greatly ensure the success of a project. Not having enough skilled labor for a specific part of the job can kill a schedule. On the other hand, adding bodies to the labor force can help the overall schedule and enable early delivery of the building.


If the subcontractor doesn’t have the skill level to provide the services required, it can be a huge detriment to a project. An electrical contractor may be licensed, but not experienced in a specific field of construction like healthcare or food service. These specific fields require additional knowledge and experience that others may not.


All projects should be run with a team approach for all parties involved with the project. A good-natured temperament is a must. A subcontractor that is not willing to work alongside other trades is a liability to the success of a project.

There are thousands of tasks and decisions required for successful project management. Choosing the right subcontractors is the most important of all. The subcontractor can make you look good or bad in the end and influence your reputation. Ultimately everyone involved should want the customer to be 100% satisfied with the delivery and investment of their project. Visit http://constructiondesignworks.net/disadvantages-of-installing-outdoor-tiles-in-your-home/ to read about the Disadvantages of installing outdoor tiles in your home.

Successful franchise construction management

Successful franchise construction management

Avoiding roadblocks during pre-opening activities

Franchise construction management is a unique type of production administration. A project manager (PM) needs to wholly understand the intricacies of construction, complexities of design, and manage the difficulties of a schedule. The PM also needs to be able to fully appreciate the level of participation from the client (franchisee and franchisor). The participation of the client is incredibly critical in the pre-opening activities.

Every franchise is different. As such, each one has different levels of sophistication and complexity in their contribution during the construction phase. All of which affects who provides what and when also known as a responsibility matrix. During pre-opening activities, the end of every type of construction project is eerily similar; an overabundance of workers and a mad dash to get to the finish line.

Successful franchise construction management

Four key franchise construction management elements that help in avoiding roadblocks during pre-opening activities

Brand Compliance

In most cases, a national franchise representative will visit the job site just prior to the opening to do an inspection. Not only are they looking for construction deficiencies such as HVAC air balance and levels of drywall finish, but also strict adherence to the design documents and specifications. Ultimately, the national representative is responsible for brand compliance. Brand compliance safeguards continuity in stores and locations throughout corporate and local partnerships. Brand compliance also reinforces franchisees following specific standards.

Furniture, Fixtures, Equipment (FFE)

For most of the construction process, you normally will not see any of the franchisee’s furniture, fixtures, and equipment. This is to safeguard the materials against damage and to streamline delivery costs and the timing of when they are needed for installation. This is more critical during pre-opening activities. It can seem the floodgates have been opened and the space becomes cramped and there is nowhere to move. My advice is to plan the delivery of this equipment to an adjacent space or an outside storage container. Bring in each item as needed. This will free up space for the skilled tradesmen to finish out their work and punch list items.

Employee Training

All the while construction work is being completed in the store, the franchisee needs to commence training their employees. This is a critical process that doesn’t get discussed often enough. The construction work needs to be far enough along to allow the employees to begin learning their job. Because expedited schedules are the norm, the general contractor must obtain, at a minimum, a temporary certificate of occupancy (TCO) permit that gives the franchisee permission to train. There may be restrictions in the TCO such as not being open to the public or can’t turn on the equipment that generates heat. In any case, there needs to be time and space appropriated to the franchisee for this necessary training. Learn more about drywall finishes.

Final Cleaning

Don’t jump the gun and schedule a final cleaning. It is best to keep the job site tidy and free of debris during the last few days of a project. Using floor and wall protection as well as temporary corner guards of casework, equipment and doors are highly advised. However, save the final cleaning for the day before the grand opening. It will sparkle and smell fresh for the employees and most importantly the customers.

It is critical to schedule an on-site meeting with all subcontractors, suppliers, construction workers, superintendents, project managers, franchisees,s, and franchisors just prior to the pre-opening work. Establish protocols on who needs to be where and when, so as not to interfere with the work product of another. A detailed day-to-day schedule is necessary for this last push to the end and will improve your chances of success.

About Construction DesignWorks, LLC

Construction DesignWorks uses its hands-on approach and design and construction expertise to create and develop a winning design-build team that is specialized for each customer. Their complete turnkey building solutions align with the unique business needs of various types of real estate.

Bold commercial remodeling ideas for the office

Bold commercial remodeling ideas for the office

The benefits of fabric accent walls in commercial remodeling

Two rooms that add the most value to a house and deserve the most attention are the kitchen and master bathroom. In a commercial office, those two rooms of emphasis are the lobby or reception areas and conference rooms. Creative business interior ideas involve imaginative building ingredients. An often forgotten building material in commercial remodeling is fabric (aka textile). The use of stretched fabric on an accent wall is a bold statement. It offers more versatility than other materials such as wood, tile, paint, and wall coverings. Used in combination with these other materials it will result in stunning effects and create a warm and inviting space.

Fabric wall offers five benefits over conventional commercial remodeling materials


A fabric wall finishing system, such as Fabricmate Wall Finishing Solutions, will absorb impact much better than a gypsum board and will regain its form after a hit. Unlike a conventional wall that is left with a mark or hole, this is a trackable surface and will hold tighter than a typical cork wall mat.


Stretched fabric adds acoustical value to your space. The use of stretched fabric will absorb sound waves and improve sound transmission within the room.


Thousands of colors and patterns are available. Don’t like the color after a couple of years? Then change it. Fabric is easy to clean and alleviates visible damage.

Bold commercial remodeling ideas for the office


Most stretch fabric product is fabricated with over 60 percent recycled product. Its adhesives are typically low in or have zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs).


Textiles offer unlimited versatility to custom print your company mission statement, art, graphics, logo or pictures.

If you are considering the use of fabric covering in your next commercial remodeling project, there are three major components to consider.

  • Fabric covering — Choose a color and type of fabric that will add life to your room.
  • Backing material— Add a quarter to one inch backing behind the fabric to fill the void between the wall and the fabric. This also helps absorb reverberated sound waves.
  • Fabric mounting system— This helps define the shape of the fabric wall. It will hold the fabric in place and is typically made from plastic.

While textiles can cost anywhere from $10 to $200 per yard; a frugal shopper can always find what they are looking for with patience. Think outside the box with your commercial interior finishYour imagination is your only limit with colors, types of fabrics, shapes, and sizes. Intermix textiles with beautiful teak wood or intersperse areas of ceramic wall tile to accent the fabric in your next commercial remodeling project.

About Construction DesignWorks, LLC

Construction DesignWorks uses its hands-on approach and design expertise to create and develop a winning design-build team that is specialized for each customer. Their complete turnkey solutions align with the unique business needs of various types of real estate.

5 Levels of Drywall Finishes

5 Levels of Drywall Finishes

Five major trade associations, the Association of Wall and Ceiling Industries International (AWCI), the Ceilings and Interior Systems Construction Association (CISCA), the Gypsum Association (GA), the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA), and the Drywall Finishing Council (DWFC) presented the consensus document Recommended Levels of Gypsum Board Finish. The document was created to “precisely describe” the desired finish of walls and ceilings prior to final decoration. This precise description enables contractors to better understand the requirements of architects and building owners in order to enhance the satisfaction of the client. Specifications that include the Levels of Gypsum Board Finish also promote competitive bidding that allows the bidder to consider the correct labor and materials to finish the wall suitably for its final decoration.

The most recent version of this document, published by the Gypsum Association, is GA 214-10:

Recommended Levels of Gypsum Board Finish. The document has been promoted heavily to specification writers nationwide by local wall and ceiling associations and gypsum manufacturers.

A modified version of Levels of Gypsum Board Finish has been incorporated into ASTM C 840, “The Standard Specification for Application and Finishing of Gypsum Board.” Included as Appendix X8, The Levels of Finish could even be incorporated into model building codes that utilize ASTM standards as reference documents. Publication in ASTM C 840 increases the industry’s awareness and acceptance of these standards. As a result of this, ASTM C 840 is a Referenced Standard in AIA, MASTER SPEC. The Levels of Gypsum Board Finish are specifically outlined in Section 09 29 00, Gypsum Board; Part 3 Execution.

The above-mentioned trade associations periodically publish revised versions of the Levels of Gypsum Board Finish. The revisions are intended to clarify the operations required to fulfill the requirements of each level of finish. Additionally, changes have been made to further define the “skim coat” operation and clearly define “drywall primer” to remain current with recent developments in finishing products.

Many of today’s project manuals include references to the Levels of Gypsum Board Finish. Specifiers should be aware of the recommended level of finish required for the final decoration for walls and ceilings and clearly specify this for contract bidders. Bidders should carefully read project specifications to ensure that bidding includes the proper level of finish to meet the standard set for final wall decoration.

Let’s review the Levels of Gypsum Board Finish, paying close attention to the document changes:

Level 0

Level 0 is used in temporary construction or if the final decoration is undetermined. No taping or finishing is required.

Level 1

A Level 1 finish is recommended in areas that would generally be concealed from view or in areas that are not open to public traffic. The joint tape need not be covered with joint compound to fulfill the requirements of Level 1. In Level 1, the surface is left free of excess joint compound. Ridges and tool marks are acceptable for a Level 1 finish. This level is often specified in the plenum area above ceilings, in attics, or in in-service corridors. In some geographic areas, this level is referred to as “fire-taping”.

Level 2

In garages, warehouse storage areas, and other similar areas where the final surface appearance is not of concern, a Level 2 finish is the recommendation. Level 2 may be specified where moisture-resistant gypsum board is used as a tile substrate. Level 2 reads, “All joints and interior angles shall have tape embedded in joint compound and wiped with a joint knife leaving a thin coating of joint compound over all joints and interior angles”. This differentiates Level 2 from Level 1. Joint compound is applied over all fastener heads and beads. The surface is left free of excess joint compound. Ridges and tool marks are acceptable for a Level 2 finish.

Additionally, Level 2 includes the following sentence: “Joint compound applied over the body of the tape at the time of tape embedment shall be considered a separate coat of joint compound and shall satisfy the conditions of this level.” In the past, there has been some confusion as to whether tape pressed into joint compound and covered with joint compound in a single operation fulfilled the requirements of Level 1 or Level 2.

Level 3

In areas to be decorated with a medium or heavy hand and spray applied textures or where heavy-grade wall coverings will become the final decoration, a Level 3 finish is recommended. Level 3 states, “All joints and interior angles shall have tape embedded in joint compound and shall be immediately wiped with a joint knife leaving a thin coating of joint compound over all joints and interior angles. One additional coat of joint compound shall be applied over all joints and interior angles. Fastener heads and accessories shall be covered with two separate coats of joint compound. All joint compounds shall be smooth and free of tool marks and ridges.

Before final decoration, it is recommended that the prepared surface be coated with a drywall primer prior to the application of final finishes. Level 3 is not recommended where smooth painted surfaces, light textures, or light- to medium-weight wall coverings become the final decoration.

Level 4

If the final decoration is to be a flat paint, light texture, or lightweight wall covering, a Level 4 finish is recommended. As stated in Level 4, “All joints and interior angles shall have tape embedded in joint compound and shall be immediately wiped with a joint knife leaving a thin coating of joint compound over all joints and interior angles. Two separate coats of joint compound shall be applied over all flat joints and one separate coat of joint compound shall be applied over interior angles. Fastener heads and accessories shall be covered with three separate coats of joint compound. All joint compound shall be smooth and free of tool marks and ridges.” It is recommended that the prepared surface be coated with a drywall primer prior to the application of final finishes.

In severe lighting areas, flat paints applied over light textures tend to reduce joint photographing. Paints with sheen levels other than flat as well as enamel paints are not recommended over this level of finish. Special attention should be paid to long corridors, large areas of the wall, and large/multiple windows when specifying Level 4, because these areas are potential areas of concern in achieving acceptable wall finishes, and may need to be specified appropriately.

Level 5

 Level 5 finish is recommended for areas where severe lighting conditions exist and areas that are to receive gloss, semi-gloss, enamel, or non-textured flat paints. Level 5 requires all the operations in Level 4. Additionally, a thin skim coat of joint compound, or material manufactured especially for this purpose, is applied to the entire surface. A thorough explanation of “skim coat” is given in the comments section of GA-214.

A skim coat of joint compound is intended to conceal small imperfections in joints and on the surface of the gypsum board to help conceal joints and create the appearance of flatness. A skim coat will also smooth the texture of the paper, minimize differences in surface porosity, and create a more uniform surface to which the final decoration can be applied.

The Level 5 finish is required to achieve the highest degree of quality by providing a uniform surface and minimizing the possibility of joint photographing and/or fasteners showing through the final decoration.