What’s the Difference Between Ground-Up Construction and Renovation?

ground up construction and renovation

What's the difference between ground-up construction and renovation?

Ground-up Construction vs. Renovation: 2021

In most cases, when you compare construction and renovation, you are motivated by two main factors. One is that your company has outgrown its current premises, or you would like to have an additional location for your business. In this article, you will learn how ground-up construction differs from commercial renovation and understand the factors you need to consider to choose the most appropriate option for your business needs. 

Ground-up Construction & Renovation Defined 

Ground-up construction refers to the process of putting up a new structure on a lot where no building exists. You are building from scratch. New foundations, new walls, new footings. On the other hand, a renovation refers to the modification of an existing structure. The primary structural elements, such as the foundation, will remain. Still, your local renovation company in Sacramento may tear down an interior wall to change the building’s floor plan.

However, the professionals at Head Waters Construction, Inc. warn you that the definition of what constitutes renovation or new construction may vary from one municipality or city to another. So, it is best to check the local laws and establish which categorization applies to the project you wish to undertake.


– Design Flexibility 

Headwaters building and contracting professionals recommend that you consider the degree of design flexibility that you desire during your project before you opt for either ground-up construction or renovation.

In most cases, ground-up construction offers you nearly unlimited design flexibility. A blank slate or canvas allows you to make the site into anything you want. However, keep in mind that renovation puts some constraints upon your design possibilities since you must work within the existing building’s structural elements. If these constraints will be a concern, then opting for ground-up construction would be the ideal choice.

– Location

Another crucial factor that you need to think about has to do with your business’s ideal location. It may be hard for you to find a vacant lot in a desirable area where you can build the ideal premises for your business. In such a case, finding an existing building and renovating it would be a more feasible option.

– Regulatory Compliance 

Building codes keep evolving, and all new structures or renovated ones have to be compliant with the latest regulations. Herein lies another consideration that Sacramento construction companies advise business owners to think about. For example, deciding to renovate a section of your current building may trigger a regulatory requirement for you to make the entire building ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)-compliant. These regulatory issues can make an otherwise straight-forward renovation process complex and costly. Building premises from the ground up becomes a more attractive proposition since you may predict all the project factors.

– Getting Construction Building Permits

The process of securing building permits for a renovation project is generally less complicated and shorter when compared to navigating the permitting process in a new structure from the ground-up. Some renovation projects may not even require a permit. However, likely, constructing a building from scratch will never have the permit requirements waived.

–  Building

How soon do you want to use the new or renovated building? The duration needed to complete a renovation project is usually a small fraction of the time required to construct a building from scratch. Head Waters Construction, Inc., aconstruction company in Sacramento, recommends that people who are pressed for time opt for renovation. Similarly, those who don’t have much time should build the desired structure from the ground up.

–  Concerns Over Hazardous Materials

You may have hazardous materials to contend with if you would like to renovate an older building. For example, asbestos may be found within the walls as you kick-start a project to add an extension to your business premises. According to Headwaters development experts, dealing with those hazardous materials can inflate renovation budgets and throw project timelines out of whack.

However, even vacant lots can have hazardous materials. For example, a lot located on land that was reclaimed from agricultural land, chemical industry, or even a retired garbage dumping site may have toxic waste. Therefore, it is advisable for you to commission a site or building analysis to identify any potential issues of hazardous materials before you decide whether to renovate that existing building or build on a vacant site.

– Construction Cost

Your budget is a significant determinant of whether renovation or ground-up construction is a viable option. Our friends at Tureks Plumbing Services, a home remodeling contractor in Appleton, WI, add that most renovation projects require smaller budgets than ground-up construction does. Furthermore, renovation projects can be phased so that the cost implication is spread out over a longer time. If your budget is limited, your best bet is to renovate an existing building. However, if no resource limitation exists, ground-up construction may be a better option.

As you can see, there is no clear cut answer as to whether renovation or ground-up construction is the best option for you. What can only determine the correct answer once you discuss your building needs in Sacramento with an expert from Head Waters Construction, Inc. Our professionals will recommend the most cost-effective option for your company, so give us a call today!

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2019 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

Commercial Construction Project Scott’s Seafood

Commercial Construction Project Scotts Seafood

Our Favorite Commercial Construction Project in 2020: Scott’s Seafood 

Commercial Construction Project Scotts SeafoodOur favorite Sacramento commercial construction project Scott’s Seafood, was a groundbreaking one!

Scott’s Seafood and Williamette Wineworks opened earlier this year after the completion of the roundhouse shell that was to house the two businesses. While the first floor was occupied by the former, the second story was occupied by the winery.

After two decades on Greenback Lane, Scott’s Seafood moved to the Historic District of Folsom, Sutter Street. The location: a historical, cultural, and social magnet for the city stands where the original roundhouse for the city stood.

The new Scott’s Seafood building has been designed as an exact replica of the roundhouse. That roadhouse once stood on the same parcel of land more than 100 years ago. 

The Headwaters Construction team worked around the clock with specialists and remarkable craftsmen to make the historic building authentic. It’s beyond question that the new Scott’s Seafood will be the talk of the town and the “it-scene” in the Folsom Historic District!

Here are a few unique features of this magnificent structure that our commercial builders love:

1. Real Bricks

Currently, most commercial construction buildings do not use bricks in commercial construction and instead prefer concrete, lumber, drywall, metal, and asphalt. Our Sacramento ground-up construction team used real bricks that existed when the roundhouse had been built more than a century ago. The aim of this was to keep the building’s historic atmosphere while also making a bold statement about the exterior of the building.

2. Custom Backside Windows

The inside of the building is made of a solid wall. To make the new Scott’s Seafood restaurant inviting, our commercial building renovation contractors decided to install 6×8 foot windows on the outside of the building which was manufactured by Sierra Pacific. The three windows will host a photo of a real locomotive and the individuals servicing it etched onto a sheet of glass which will have LED lights on it to illuminate the photo.

That way, if a person happens to walk by the restaurant at night, they will see Locomotive 3 in the building.

3. The Paint Color

Based upon historical significance to the time the first roundhouse was in use. The paint color used on the exterior of the building was picked The color in question, Carter Brother’s Tuscan Red, dates more than a century ago, before 1887 when it was used around South America and the West Coast on more than 5,000 railroad cars.

We at Headwaters Construction Inc. were very pleased to use Carter Brother’s Tuscan Red as the color adds authenticity to the building.

4. The Wooden Doors

It isn’t often that you chance upon a building that has 12×17 foot wooden doors that are operable. The roundhouse will have them though, just like the original building did. The original roundhouse was constructed with huge doors. This is because they were wide enough to allow a steam locomotive into the building.

The new roundhouse has the same 12×17 foot doors which are thick and made from reclaimed redwood by CrossRoads Lumber. The doors were installed by no other Folsom construction company but Headwaters Construction Inc. Reclaimed redwood is used to match the building’s historic nature. 

5. Second Floor Windows

Our concrete tilt-up contractors also included clerestory windows in the design of the building. These windows were typical of the time when the roundhouse was in use hundreds of years ago. Our friends over at Maid For Muddy Paws, Window Cleaning service Woodlands TX, explains that these windows were used to flood the building with as much natural light as they possibly could. 

As they do not have right angles, the windows weren’t easy to construct. However, the determination of the team to design the roundhouse to be as exact as the original ensured the job was done.

These aren’t the only unique features that make this roundhouse special in the Historic District of Folsom. Williamette Wineworks was launched on Sutter Street on February 26th. Scott’s Seafood was opened in the summer of 2020, a few months ago, setting the bar very high. From the perfect location, freshness of products, use of farmer’s market produce, and the creative menus, Scott’s Seafood will not only be the place to be but the place to eat. To get in touch with the restaurant, you can contact them on [email protected] or on +19169896711.

Commercial Consturction Services

We at Headwaters Construction Inc. have fully licensed construction contractors in California, Oregon, and Washington. We have a passion for tilt-wall building, shopping center renovation, and commercial new construction. Our Sacramento ground-up construction teams have more than 100 years of experience in commercial construction. We are also focused on delivering outstanding service, communication, and quality.

Get in touch with us today at 916-6564-8899. Or, you can contact us at [email protected] and let us help you make your commercial project dream into a reality! Additionally, you can check out our projects on our project gallery; headwatersbuilding.com

The Future of Construction Post COVID-19

The Future of Construction Post COVID-19

The Future of Commercial Construction Post COVID-19 

The Future of Construction Post COVID-19The COVID-19 crisis has hit many commercial construction companies hard, making many of us wonder about the future of construction post-COVID-19. Projects have been put on hold, and many have been canceled. To many, the future looks shaky at best, but this needn’t be the case. Construction companies in Sacramento and elsewhere can take a number of measures to not only survive this situation but also come out of it stronger. Today on the blog,  our commercial builders highlight some of those helpful measures.

Pay Special Attention to Financial Stability

Commercial construction companies in Sacramento need to review their corporate and capital budgets. Additionally, they should look at any additional alternatives to generating funds. This will help as adjustments can be made to weather the current storm. However, the lack of clarity about the direction of the pandemic makes it hard to conduct financial reviews and adjustments.

A possible way around this challenge is to engage in robust scenario analysis for each project and market. This case-by-case approach is critical since each ground-up construction project is unique and has its own contractual requirements. Tools that generate different models for various conditions can help Sacramento construction companies make data-driven decisions about how to keep costs manageable during and after this difficult time.

Staff Safety and Engagement

The stay at home orders issued in the wake of the pandemic had immediate effects on construction sites. Our neighbors at Gilmore Heating, Air & Plumbing, Sacramento HVAC company, explains that they’ve had to make tons of adjustments in their day-to-day business. This is because a significant number of workers have to be present on the job site during typical workdays. Construction companies now need to pay even more attention to PPE, especially with regard to disease prevention, and it is possible to take additional measures (staggering work shifts, for example) to reduce the number of employees at sites at any given time.

For those who can work from home, special attention has to be directed towards cybersecurity. Sensitive project and company information is likely to be transmitted over the home internet connection. Unfortunately, that can create vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers. Regular communication with telecommuters can avert most avoidable threats.

Inevitably, some employees may have been furloughed due to the pandemic. These staff members needn’t be neglected during the pandemic because they may have skills that are in short supply when normal conditions prevail. Strip mall construction firms and other companies in the construction sector are therefore advised to consider upskilling their furloughed employees so that they can remain useful to the company.

Supply Chain Evaluation

The harsh economic effects of the pandemic are undeniable. Commercial construction companies need to assess how the lockdowns have affected their planned or ongoing projects. For example, Sacramento construction companies with overseas suppliers may have suffered disruptions, and supplies may not come through as expected.

Our team advises you to contact your suppliers. This will help understand the specific supply chain vulnerabilities you are exposed to. Find out what challenges they are facing in their operations. Generate a dashboard depicting this information and keep updating it as the pandemic evolves.

Now maybe the time for you to discuss project flexibility with your supply chain. Additionally, and it is time to look at the real possibility of having to change suppliers in case the current ones become casualties of the pandemic.

Don’t forget to analyze the legal implications of every decision you make. The current situation isn’t an excuse for you to act without thinking through your contractual or other obligations.

Bolster Your Financial Position

The cash flow of many commercial construction companies has likely taken a huge hit during this time. This is due to stalled projects or accounts receivables that can’t be collected. Without cash, a construction company can go belly up quickly. Now is, therefore, the time to look into government financial support, restructuring credit facilities, and looking for ways to raise additional equity. The survival of your Sacramento construction company depends on how well you keep cash flowing.

Raising resources shouldn’t only be focused on staying afloat during the crisis. When the pandemic is brought under control, and a degree of normalcy returns, you’ll want to be prepared. Only those sector players who manage to have a healthy balance sheet will reap the benefits of the numerous contracts aimed at stimulating growth. Such companies can also grab the choicest merger and acquisition opportunities. These are the inevitable outcome of such a crisis.

The bottom line is that this pandemic presents an excellent opportunity for commercial construction companies to rethink how they do everything. Not all companies are likely to emerge out of this unscathed. Certainly, you don’t want yours to be one of the Sacramento construction companies that go under. Are you ready for the future of construction post-COVID-19?