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Green Building Trends in Utah Commercial Construction

Green building concepts have become ubiquitous in commercial construction, in Utah and across the United States.

utah commercial construction

Building commercial projects make less impact on the environment but their benefits don’t stop there. Healthier buildings create a better workplace environment for employees, and can even significantly improve productivity.

Soon, you can expect to see Utah commercial building codes and standards compelling the use of green materials, designs and technology. The good news is that, for building owners, this will help reduce your energy usage (and cost) and reduce the cost of operating commercial facilities.

Green Building Technologies Make for a More Productive Workforce

Employees spend almost a third of their lives at work, so it makes sense for employers to provide the healthiest possible workplace environment.

Today’s push toward creating a healthy indoor environment ultimately helps the employer as much as it does the employees. When you improve indoor air quality and reduce airborne toxins, employee productivity and cognitive function improve significantly, according to new research.

In fact, the data show that, by spending less than $40 per employee, per year, on green construction technologies to improve indoor air quality, employers can gain as much as $6,500 per year, per employee, in improved productivity.

Green Construction Requirements Are Becoming the Standard

For more than two decades, cities and states have offered a variety of incentives to encourage green building in commercial construction. Today, however, we are seeing many of these environmentally conscious practices become the standard.

Over the coming year, new green building codes, standards and rating systems will be published by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED and ASHRAE – three of the leading groups that help guide commercial construction-related legislation.

As more governmental agencies adopt these standards, both residential and commercial construction practices will be compelled to follow a more environmentally conscious mindset.

Sustainable Materials in Commercial Construction Design

A foundational concept of green building technology is sustainable materials or those that are renewable, reusable or recycled, or that otherwise have a low environmental impact.

Using reclaimed wood, for example, is one of the most popular green building trends today. Bamboo and cork are both highly renewable materials that architects are incorporating into green construction design.

Insulation made from recycled materials and concrete alternatives (FerrockAshCrete) are also becoming more common in architectural design specifications.

If you are in the planning stage of a Utah commercial construction project, you can adopt a variety of environmentally sustainable design concepts that won’t substantially increase your project cost. In Murray, Utah, Topp Remodeling & Construction works closely with our commercial construction clients to design and build facilities that achieve a variety of goals.

For more than a quarter-century, the Topp team has delivered residential and commercial construction projects on time and on a budget, while providing exceptional quality and customer service. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you incorporate green building practices into your Utah commercial construction project.

Commercial Build-Out Space Planning & Design

Commercial build-out projects present a unique challenge for most businesses, both logistically and financially.

Commercial Build-Out Space Planning & Design

If the project involves adding onto or modifying your current business location, you will experience disruptions and downtime, possibly even periods where you have to close your company – at least temporarily – to the public. Meanwhile, your revenue stream comes to a halt at the same time you’re trying to budget for the cost of construction.

A good space plan and architectural design can help to minimize both the cost and the time required for your commercial build-out. Using a full-service Utah general contractor can contribute even more to cost and time savings.

Understanding Space Planning & Design for Commercial Construction

Whether you need office, medical, retail, restaurant or another type of commercial construction, you can’t build it, remodel it or finish it out without architectural design and space planning.

Typically, commercial build-outs, renovations and remodels start with a space plan. This ensures that your space meets all your needs and goals and maximizes usability. Next, architectural drawings, also known as construction plans, are created using your space plan as a guideline.

These plans are what the city needs to issue a building permit and what your general contractor and their subcontractors need to provide a bid for the physical construction. So, unless your project involves simple finish updates – like installing new flooring, paint, etc. – you will need both a space plan and architectural plans.

Minimizing the Cost of a Commercial Build-Out

Even though it’s an investment in your business, the cost of a commercial build-out can place added financial stress on your company. Although you may be able to finance some portion of your project, you will likely have to pay for a portion of the project out-of-pocket.

If you seek out your own design team, you can expect to pay architecture fees, in addition to your direct construction costs. Add space planning costs and interior design fees, and you’re potentially looking at a 20 to 25 percent increase in overall cost.

You can help cut the cost of your construction project by using a commercial general that can include these services as a part of their scope of work. You can also request value engineering services from your contractor, which can help you shave even more off your project’s budget and schedule.

Choosing a Locally Owned Commercial Build-Out Contractor Makes Sense

Although you may think a large national or regional commercial contractor is the best choice for your build-out project, consider the benefits you will enjoy when you choose a locally owned and operated firm instead.

A Northern Utah-based commercial builder will be well-established in the community, with an extensive network of resources. Local builders, especially those that have been in business for many years, have close relationships with local subcontractors, tradespeople and material suppliers, and can negotiate the best possible price and terms for your project.

And, because a Utah general contractor will be most familiar with local building codes, inspectors and city plan checkers, they can expedite the permitting and sign-off process to help keep your project on schedule.

Topp Remodeling & Construction, based in Murray, Utah, has been providing expert commercial general contracting services to Utah clients for almost 25 years. During that time, we have worked hard to establish our reputation by providing exceptional quality and customer service, along with fair and transparent pricing. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with every facet of your commercial build-out project.

Doing a Room Addition? Consider Updating Your Flooring Too

Room additions are a popular way for Utah homeowners to increase the size, livability and value of their homes. But did you know you can improve your home even more – and potentially save money – if you have your flooring redone at the same time?

Room Addition

You’ll have to add flooring in your room addition anyway, so it makes good sense to redo some or all of your home’s floors at the same time.

Choosing Flooring for Your Room Addition

The best type of flooring to use for your new room will depend on how you will use the space.

If you’re adding a common space, like a family room, kids’ playroom, game or media room, etc., you will likely want to use a hard surface flooring. Tile, natural stone, wood or laminate are the obvious choices. However, many homeowners are choosing stained concrete or some of today’s new linoleum-type products.

Many homeowners prefer to use carpet in bedrooms, because it’s warmer and softer on the feet. However, you may want to compromise and put down hardwood or engineered flooring and add rugs.

Extending Room Addition Flooring to Existing Space

When adding a room addition, you may want to avoid having a mix of flooring in your home – a look some contractors refer to as “Franken-flooring.”

In those locations where the new square footage flows into existing space, consider extending the new flooring product outward. This helps prevent the appearance of having added on to your home, and helps incorporate your new space as a seamless part of the house.

If you have the same flooring throughout the house, you can choose to continue the new surface the entire way. Or you can find logical locations to stop the new product and create a transition. For example, you can upgrade the common areas of the home, including hallways, and stop at the doorways to bedrooms and baths.

Does Updating Your Home with a Room Addition Make Sense?

If other finishes in your home are a little dated or worn – or if you think you may want to update other finishes in the near future – consider the advantages of adding that work into your room addition project.

The primary reason for doing so is cost savings. In most cases, homeowners will pay less to make other upgrades as a part of a room addition than they will if they undertake the work at a later time.

Your remodeling contractor will already be mobilized on site, as will their subcontractors and materials suppliers. You won’t have to have additional architectural or design work done, and your contractor can include all the work under a single building permit, rather than having to go through the permitting process twice.

Also, you and your family will already be in remodeling mode, so adding a few extra days to the schedule will be less of an imposition.

In Murray and throughout Northern Utah, Topp Remodeling & Construction provides expert commercial and residential construction, remodeling and renovation services. We have a reputation for exceptional quality and customer service, and we strive to ensure the best possible pricing for your project, no matter the size or scope. Contact us today to learn more, or to request a cost estimate for basement finishing, renovation or room additions.

Home Remodeling: Adding a Master Suite

Of all the home remodeling projects you may elect to undertake, adding a master suite provides a unique combination of increased home value and improved livability.

Incorporating a master bath and walk-in closet not only improves the convenience of your home but it provides you with a more relaxing haven for restful sleep and rejuvenation.

home remodeling master suite

Adding a Master Suite Adds Value to Your Home

The National Association of Realtors® reports that the average master suite addition produces approximately 53 percent return on investment. If you can use existing space rather than doing a room addition, however, you can save up to 60 percent of the cost of remodeling.

This home remodeling also produces one of the highest “joy scores,” 9.7 of 10, reflecting how happy the project makes the homeowner.

When you attempt to sell your house in the future, having a master bedroom suite will give you an advantage over other homes in your neighborhood who lack this amenity.

Master Suite Home Addition Improves Your Life

Home remodeling projects are an investment in your home’s value but, chances are, you’re taking on this renovation to make your house more livable for you and your family.

A master suite makes your life easier in a number of ways. Getting ready in the morning becomes easier, faster and more convenient when you don’t have to traipse up and down the hall from bedroom to bathroom. Choosing what to wear becomes enjoyable when you have plenty of room to logically organize your clothes.

Of course, the details make all the difference. The perfect lighting, paint colors and interior finishes delight the senses and create a comfortable haven for getting the perfect night’s sleep.

What Should You Include in this Home Remodeling Project?

You know you want a new master suite in your home but what should you include in this home remodeling project?

If you do not plan to do a room addition, you will be naturally limited to the space you currently have available within the footprint of your home. This may require applying a little creativity in the layout and configuration.

The two requirements of any master suite are an en-suite bath and a large closet, preferably a walk-in. Today’s in-demand master baths feature tricked-out showers and, more and more, no bathtub. If you have the room, add both. If your space is limited, consider leaving a tub out of your design – unless you place a high personal value on having one.

Carve out as much space as possible to devote to the closet. A generous master closet, including a highly usable configuration and built-ins, is a must-have for home buyers today. This feature will improve your life as long as you remain in your home, and improve the attractiveness to potential buyers when it’s time to sell the house in the future.

Topp Remodeling & Construction serves clients in Murray UT and the surrounding communities of northern Utah. We offer both commercial and residential construction, renovation and remodeling for projects of all sizes and scopes. Contact us today to request an estimate for adding a master suite or another home remodeling project.

Utah Home Remodeling Survival Guide

In Utah, home remodeling projects are often completed while the homeowners continue to live in the house.

home remodeling

If you’re planning an addition or renovation at your home, it helps to know what to expect. And, if you prepare in advance for some of the most intense periods of work, you can get through the project with your nerves – and your sanity – intact.

How to Prepare for Your Home Remodeling Project

Ideally, your contractor will take the necessary steps to minimize the disruptions of your renovation. This includes (whenever possible) installing a thick, plastic barrier between the rooms under construction and the rest of the house. However, if you’re remodeling your kitchen and you have an open-concept floorplan, this may not be possible.

Ask your contractor to provide you with a schedule of those activities that will be particularly disruptive – like demolition – so you can anticipate the worst disruptions and plan around them. Also ask for the cell number of the project manager or whoever will be in charge of the actual work. That way, you will have someone to call if something goes wrong.

Make plans for how you will feed the family while your kitchen is out of commission or take a shower if the contractor has your bathroom torn apart. Planning ahead will help you keep your sanity until the work is done.

How to Stay Sane During Your Home Remodeling

No matter how careful and quiet your contractor tries to be, some tasks related to the renovation process are going to be noisy, loud and potentially unpleasant-smelling.

If you work at home or if someone in your household sleeps during the day, you may want to consider setting up a temporary spot in the basement or garage, at the home of a friend or family member – or at least on the other side of the house. You may want to stock up on allergy masks and ear plugs, or use this opportunity to pick up those noise-canceling headphones you’ve had your eye on.

Try not to stare over the workers’ shoulders or give them input on their activities. If you see a problem in the works, call the job superintendent or project manager and let them know.

Choose Your Utah Remodeling Contractor Carefully

The best way to survive your home renovation or addition project with your sanity intact is to choose the right contractor for the job.

Choose a contractor that is too small – or that doesn’t have the proper license, insurance, etc. – and you put yourself at risk for damages and budget or schedule overruns. You need to know you have somewhere to turn if your remodeler damages something in your home, or if the project goes way over budget or time.

Choose a large, national contractor and you run the risk of being treated like a number. When your remodeler is essentially sharing your home for a few days or weeks, you need to have a more personalized level of service and responsiveness.

In Murray, Topp Remodeling & Construction isn’t too big or too large – we’re just the right size. We have been helping Utah homeowners with their residential renovation and remodeling needs for more than 20 years. We are proud of our reputation for excellence, and we pride ourselves on providing the best quality work at a fair price your budget will love. Call us today to request a cost estimate for your Utah home remodeling project.

Value-Added Basement Finishing: Adding a Guest Suite

If you want to improve your home’s value, basement finishing is one of the most effective ways to accomplish your goal.

Homeowners typically want more living space, be it for storage, extra beds or baths, recreation, media or a man cave. If you convert your basement using a guest suite format, you can achieve all of your objectives while significantly improving the value of your home.

Basement Finishing Adding a Guest Suite

Why Basement Finishing Is the Best Way to “Add On” to Your Home

Every homeowner has different needs for adding space, and the basement provides – by far – the most cost-effective way to increase the finished square footage of your house.

Basement space already exists, so no additions are necessary. Utilities are already in place or easily accessible. Consequently, the costs for finishing a Utah basement are typically limited to building walls and installing finishes.

And, although you may need building permits for a basement finishing project, you won’t need full building plans like you would for a true home addition. This saves significantly on both cost and time for your home renovation project.

Why You Should Design Your Basement Build-Out as a Guest Suite

For the purpose of home valuation, appraisers consider the number of bedrooms and bathrooms as well as the overall finished square footage. When you finish your basement space with one or more bedrooms and bathrooms, you will gain the requisite value for those extra amenities as well as the finished square footage.

But, when you design the project correctly, you can leverage your buildout to include everything on your wish list.

In addition to having your desired extra storage space, home office, media room or game room, you will also have a perfect space to accommodate visiting family or friends, aging parent or your kids when they’re home from college.

Designing Your Guest Suite Basement Build-Out

The most effective way to achieve a great design – and one that checks off all your must-have features – is to work with a local home renovation contractor that provides project design as a part of their services.

Start by making a list of the amenities you want in your basement guest suite. Then schedule the contractor to walk the space with you. This way, the contractor can design a layout that stretches your basement finishing budget and maximizes the space.

For example, by designing a large living area for the guest suite, you can set this space up as a game room, crafting area or playroom for the kids. You can use the suite’s various closets and storage spaces for the extra storage you need. And, of course, the extra bedroom(s) and bath(s) will come in handy for every family.

Topp Remodeling & Construction, serving Murray UT and the neighboring communities of Northern Utah, provides residential and commercial construction and remodeling services for projects of all sizes. Contact us today to request an estimate for your Utah basement finishing project.

Tenant Improvements for Adaptive Reuse Projects

Tenant improvements in a standard retail or office building are fairly straightforward projects. Adaptive reuse projects are another story.

Every interior build-out project has its challenges, simply because of the complex nature of interior finishes. When you need a tenant build-out in an older building that’s being adapted to a new use, however, you never know what you might find.

Tenant Improvements for Adaptive Reuse Projects

The secret to successful tenant improvement (TI) projects in an adaptive reuse setting is simple: an obsessive attention to detail and a healthy dose of flexibility.

What Is Adaptive Reuse?

This is a phrase you’re probably hearing a lot, especially if you’re considering moving your office or opening a new facility. As the principles of urban planning bring our focus back to the city and away from suburbs and exurbs, planners and architects are infusing new life into old buildings.

Adaptive reuse takes an old, often historic, building and updates it for use in a modern context. For example, developers are updating old warehouse buildings to create cool, urban office spaces, retail centers, and entertainment venues.

Although the cost of restoring one of these old buildings is often just as much as new construction would be, adaptive reuse fits in with today’s focus on recycling and a sustainable approach to living and working.

Embracing an Adaptive Reuse Tenant Space

If you are planning to choose (or have already chosen) one of these spaces for your office, you can expect to face some tradeoffs.

In exchange for having a truly unique office environment, probably in a great location, you may miss some of the modern conveniences you’re used to. If you’re a person who really likes everything to be new, you can achieve that with your tenant improvement, at least to some extent.

Consider sticking with a balance of new and old, however. Otherwise, you could skip the extra hassle and expense of doing a tenant build-out in an older building and stick with a newer location.

Designing an Adaptive Reuse Tenant Improvement

Whether you have an interior architected or you would prefer your TI contractor to work with you on design, remember that you will have some limits on what you can do.

If the configuration of your building is an old warehouse with nothing but the outer walls, you will have much more flexibility than you will if the space has existing interior walls. You may be limited with regard to plumbing and sewer runs, specifically, and potentially with electricity and HVAC as well.

The best approach is to get your TI contractor started as early as possible on your build-out. This way, if you do run into an unexpected hurdle with the building design or city approvals, you have a little padding built into your schedule.

In Murray UT and the surrounding communities, Topp Remodeling & Construction provides professional general contracting and design build services for residential and commercial projects. Contact us today for more information or to discuss your upcoming tenant improvement project.

3 Custom Home Design “Trends” You Can Love for Decades

Whenever we talk about custom home design trends, we can’t help but think about fashion trends that come and go in a season. But custom homes should never be trendy – they should be timeless.

This year’s color of the year, lovely as it is, will soon give way to something different. But who wants to repaint every year?

home design trends

So, today, when we talk about custom home design trends, we’re going to talk about features and styles that will feel as fresh and relevant in 20 years as they do today.

No. 1: Warm, Natural & Sustainable Materials

The collective regard for the natural environment will continue to grow over the coming decades. Using sustainable materials in your design is one way to minimize your environmental impact.

But using natural, sustainable materials is about much more than ecology. It’s a way for you and your family to offset the cold, hard edges that you are subjected to in today’s tech-heavy world.

Wood, cork, cotton and silk are some of the most popular renewable materials. Although bamboo is highly touted as “the” renewable wood, wood sourced from certified sources – locations where reforestation is ongoing – is great for the environment and the economy.

Other natural materials that create a special feeling in custom home design include glass, soapstone, leather and clay. Each of these can bring a tactile sense of nature’s calming influence into your new home.

No. 2: Less Workspace, More Play Space

For the past 20 years, residential architects and designers have devoted much time and attention to home offices. As more and more Americans began to telecommute, at least some of the time, adding workspaces to the home became a priority.

Today, the focus has shifted to adding more play space to the home.

Many custom home clients will still need an office. But it’s important to include at least as much space for spending your leisure hours. Families are spending more playtime at home, so adding a recreation space or home theater makes sense. Other ideas include a dedicated home gym, a putting green, basement climbing walls and built-in bars.

No. 3: Useful, Transitional Spaces

The last custom home design trend may be the most important one of all.

Americans are downsizing their homes across the board. We want less space to clean, heat and cool – and we want to focus our lives on making more from less. In response to this trend, architects and designers stress the importance of making good use of every square inch of your home.

In today’s home design, we see this reflected in the elimination of hallways and other wasted space. We see it in flexible spaces that can serve a variety of purposes. And we see it in the quest to make the transition between indoor and outdoor living.

Custom home designs include walls that seemingly melt away, creating seamless transitions to outdoor living space. They include outdoor living zones that allow families to truly enjoy all of the natural beauty Utah has to offer.

The key to finding the best design elements for your custom home is matching them to your family’s wants and needs. Topp Remodeling & Construction, based in Murray, Utah, provides a highly personalized experience for our customers, ensuring that your new home is everything you’ve dreamed it would be.

Contact us today to learn more, or to schedule a personal consultation to discuss your custom home design.

Top Utah Kitchen Remodeling Trends: The Farmhouse Kitchen

In Utah, kitchen remodeling is arguably the most popular home upgrade.

Not only does a kitchen renovation improve your family’s quality of life but it is the most effective use of your remodeling budget, with a very high return on investment (ROI). But, before you invest in any residential remodeling or renovation project, it is important to think about the future.

kitchen remodeling trends

Whether you plan to sell your home in two years or 20 (or never), it makes good financial sense to choose upgrades that will have a timeless appeal. The farmhouse kitchen is one of those classic styles that will be valued as much in a decade or two as it is today.

Kitchen Cabinet Remodel for the Farmhouse Style

Many clients come to us with a conflict about this type of kitchen remodel. They love the farmhouse style but they fear it means having to have white cabinets.

Although you can certainly add white cabinets to your farmhouse kitchen, it’s not a requirement at all. In fact, you can achieve this same light, airy and open feeling with light ash cabinets, bamboo, pine, natural maple or chestnut. In fact, you can choose almost any wood species you prefer and your remodeling contractor can recommend the right finish or glaze to achieve to look you want.

As for cabinet style, you can choose shaker, beaded shaker or slab style doors. Use open uppers or choose doors with glass insets and mullions. Black antique metal cup-style drawer pulls, handles and knobs are iconic but you can choose antique brass, oil-rubbed bronze or antique nickel finishes if you prefer – especially if you aren’t using white cabinets.

Farmhouse Kitchen Countertops and Floors

Soapstone is one of the most beautiful options for a farmhouse kitchen remodel. You can also use white marble tops, butcherblock or solid surface countertops in pearly grey, champagne or antique white.

Floors can range from ash planks to pure white tile with grey grout. The beauty of the farmhouse style is that you are not bound to any specific finishes. Whatever you like, you can find a way to incorporate it into your new kitchen.

One of the most popular Utah kitchen remodel floors is finished concrete. It’s modern and rustic all at the same time, and you can always add rugs for comfort and style.

Rounding Out the Details of Your Farmhouse Kitchen Remodel

Lighting for farmhouse kitchen remodels is always a fun part of the project. Farmhouse lighting can range from wrought iron fixtures to milk- or clear glass pendants. Use cage fixtures, metal or galvanized pendants and gooseneck wall sconces and with visible filament Edison bulbs.

Of course, the signature feature is the undermount farmhouse sink with apron, either in white ceramic, copper or stainless steel. You can also use a slate or soapstone sink, or even a custom-fabricated concrete apron sink.

Use a faucet set in the same metal as your cabinet hardware accents. Gooseneck, hand pump and angular copper pipe styles are popular but you can select basically any style you prefer.

In Murray UT, Topp Remodeling & Construction offers a full suite of residential and commercial construction services, including custom home building, basement buildout and home renovations. Contact us today to request a complimentary estimate for your project, including bathroom and kitchen remodeling.

Are Building Permits Required for Remodeling a Utah Home?

Building permits are required by city or county building department for many types of residential projects.

home remodeling permits Utah

Whether or not you need a permit for your remodeling or home renovation project depends on where you live and the scope of work of your project. Unfortunately, many building departments have complex, convoluted procedures for obtaining permits and approvals.

So how do you determine what you need and how to get it?

Why Building Permits Are Required for Residential Remodeling

The overarching purpose of permitting requirements is to protect the public’s well-being. Permits ensure that remodeling or renovation projects comply with minimum safety standards.

Before the city issues your permit, they conduct a thorough review of your project’s building plans and specifications. If the plans meet code requirements, a permit will be issued. No work can start on the project until the permit is issued and posted in a prominent location on site.

When you obtain a permit for any residential or commercial construction project, city inspections will also be required at various stages of the project. This allows the inspector to verify that the project has been built according to the approved plans originally submitted to the city.

What Types of Remodeling Projects Need Building Permits?

Some municipalities require permitting for virtually any type of work. Some potential exceptions include installing new flooring or painting your home.

If your residential remodeling project adds square footage, adds or removes any walls, adds doors or windows or makes any changes to your roofline, building permits will be required.

You will also need permits if your renovation makes any alterations to major systems, such as electrical, plumbing or HVAC. Even many landscaping projects require building permits in most Northern Utah locations.

What If I Don’t Get Building Permits for My Remodel?

If you choose to forego permitting your renovation project, no duly licensed contractor will perform the work for you. If you plan to do the work yourself, be prepared to have the city show up and shut you down.

The city or county has the option of citing you, fining you, compelling the demolition of the work (through the court system) or even charging you with a crime. If you do somehow get away with your scofflaw plan, it will come back to haunt you with you try to sell your home. You may even have trouble getting your homeowner’s insurance company to insure an addition to provide coverage for a non-permitted remodel.

It’s always better to follow the rules and obtain the required permits for your room addition, renovation or home remodeling project. If you use a licensed Utah general contractor, they will typically obtain the permits for you as a part of their service.

Topp Remodeling & Construction, based in Murray, Utah, understand the importance of providing high-quality work that complies with building codes and related standards of safety and quality. Contact us today to request an estimate for your home remodeling project and, rest assured, we will make sure to obtain any required building permits.