Five Things To Take Into Consideration Before You Start a Commercial Construction Project

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By Chris Tilton

Building a commercial project is much different from constructing a house. The process can be intimidating, and the initial decisions you make in the construction process are often the most important.

The right choices will enable the project to run smoothly and efficiently from beginning to end and help you avoid down time and increased expenses. Consider these five things before beginning any commercial building project:

1) Stormwater Management Ordinance.
Most local governments, including the City of Savannah and Chatham County, have regulations to control and minimize the adverse impacts of land development and to control post-construction stormwater runoff rates, volumes and pollutant loads on development and redevelopment sites. If your development process violates the Stormwater Management Ordinance, the local government can order you to stop work, withhold certificate of occupancy, revoke permits and even impose civil and criminal penalties.

Prior to the 1980s, stormwater management simply meant flood control and the pipes designed to convey stormwater runoff to aquatic resources. Little consideration was given to stormwater quality. While this approach worked well to reduce flooding, it did not address the negative impacts that land development can have on the health of the rivers and streams. During the 1980s, communities began to realize, in order to protect these resources from the negative impacts of the land development process, both stormwater quantity and quality needed to be addressed. As a result, in the 1990s, the National Pollutant Discharged Elimination System (NPDES) was enacted, and local communities began to revise and expand their local stormwater management programs, working towards prevention in lieu of mitigation. Chatham County-Savannah’s Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) implemented its local Stormwater Management Ordinance in 2012.

2) Architectural, Structural and Civil Engineering.
Construction jobs require different types of engineers to be responsible for many facets of the project, from designing to planning and managing. The engineer’s role is even more critical on commercial construction projects, which are more complicated and require a more planned and detailed approach.

The first thing to consider is what kind of professionals may be required for your specific project. Some municipalities, depending on the building type, will require an engineer either/or an architect. You will also need a structural engineer for the foundation, an MEP engineer for the mechanical, electrical and plumbing and a civil engineer for the site engineering. When it comes to determining the various professionals that may be required for your project, this is a good time to consult your general contractor. Put them to work for you, to help guide you though this process.

3) Permitting & Timing.
Consider the impact of your plans to construct and develop a realistic understanding of the timing of the permitting process. For example, you must have your plans completed before you can submit them to the local planning commission for approval. Three readings are typical for a development permit, at perhaps a rate of one reading per month. You should also anticipate several pre-construction meetings before you can begin construction. You should also factor in timelines for other permits including right-of-way, temporary power and water meter. Remember, schedules and budgets will likely change and you should be flexible up to a point, but you need to be realistic in determining your absolute latest completion date and maximum budget.

Another item to consider that could impact your timing is how the project may affect current business practices, customer relations, the local community and other businesses. You might want to visit with city council members or speak at a civic organization about your project. You may even want to reach out to the local media. It might be helpful to hire a public relations firm to help guide you through that part of the process.

4) Site Conditions.
This is probably the single most important consideration before starting a commercial project. There is a reason the sites being developed now are the last sites to be developed. As one large Pooler developer put it, “I don’t ever want to hear the words, ‘Pooler Gumbo’ again.” There are different mitigations for each type of foundation. For example, you must mitigate parking areas as well as the building pad. And don’t forget things like flood zones and fill dirt. The latter can cost more than the site itself.

The assessment of site conditions will be instrumental in developing the construction schedule as well as bids. Differing site conditions can cause schedule delays, cost increases and dangerous working conditions. They can also invalidate design assumptions, putting project performance at risk. If you choose a general contractor in advance of bidding, they should be able to guide you though this and other complicated processes. Make sure it’s someone you trust and who communicates well with you.

5) Location, Location, Location.
This is not just a real estate catch phrase. While a realtor can be a good resource for some information, like how much traffic may pass by your door, you will need to learn much more about the property as well as the applicable laws of governing jurisdictions. Is the site in an earthquake, hurricane or flood zone? What is its proximity to wetlands? Here is another good opportunity to turn to your general contractor for their expertise. If you have not yet purchased property for your project, ask them for their guidance is selecting a site that will be the best fit for your building needs, your customers’ needs and your bottom line.

Your general contractor should be a true partner in helping you navigate these initial decisions as well as throughout the design/build process. If your construction team takes these five areas into consideration, it could wind up saving you a lot of time and money.

Chris Tilton is the co-founder of the Dewitt Tilton Group with Andrew Dewitt. For more information or to contact Tilton, call 912.777.3404 or email chris@dewitttiltongroup.com.

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Chris Tilton

 

Dewitt Tilton Group Launches Website Showcasing Commercial Construction Projects

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(SAVANNAH, GA) The Dewitt Tilton Group is pleased to announce the launch of its new website, www.dewitttiltongroup.com. The site hosts a growing portfolio of work for the Savannah construction firm specializing in commercial construction and also reflects the history of the city where partners Chris Tilton and Andrew DeWitt were born, as well as their hometown pride in the buildings they construct for clients of the firm.

“The first thing you’ll notice when you visit our site is our logo, a black and white rendering of Savannah’s Harbor Light,” said Tilton. “Just as that beacon shines a welcoming light to all who visit or return home to Savannah, our firm strives to lead the way in the local construction industry by devoting individual attention to each client’s needs, budget and timeline.”

The new website also includes a news gallery and information about the firm’s principals and associates, as well as the story of the company’s founding. Design elements throughout the site play off the company logo with a cobblestone background and distinctive colors and textures.

“Just like the projects we manage and build, we wanted to create a website that reflects our company’s character and standards,” said DeWitt. “We are honored to be partners in supporting the commercial construction industry in Savannah, as well as in helping shape its future.”

Although the Dewitt Tilton Group has just recently begun operations, the firm is already engaged in building several commercial projects including a dance studio on Wilmington Island and an industrial facility near the Port of Savannah. Dewitt and Tilton have both worked in the local construction industry for 25 years and have known each other since attending Benedictine Military School. The firm is located at 2807-A Roger Lacey Avenue in Savannah. In addition to its new website, the Dewitt Tilton Group also has a growing social media presence on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Dewitt-Tilton-Group-873807949377385/. For more information, call 912.777.3404 or visit www.dewitttiltongroup.com.

MORE INFORMATION ON DEWITT TILTON GROUP
The Dewitt Tilton Group, a premier construction firm located in Savannah, Ga., specializes in commercial construction. The principals, Andrew Dewitt and Chris Tilton, have over 50 years of combined experience in the local construction industry. The firm manages every aspect of a commercial project from pre-construction to the final walk through. Known for using only highly reputable contractors, the Dewitt Tilton Group brings to the table design, engineering and construction capabilities which guarantees a smooth construction process for each client. The firm is located at 2807-A Roger Lacey Avenue, Savannah, GA 31404. For more information or to contact the Dewitt Tilton Group, please call 912.777.3404 or visit www.dewitttiltongroup.com

CONTACT
Kim Thomas
Dewitt Tilton Group
912-777-3404
kim@dewitttiltongroup.com

MEDIA CONTACT
Marjorie Young
Carriage Trade PR
912.844.9990
marjorie@carriagetradepr.com

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Dewitt Tilton Group, a Savannah Commercial Construction Company, Appoints Kim Thomas as Director of Operations

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(SAVANNAH, GA) Dewitt Tilton Group is pleased to announce that Kim Thomas has been named as director of operations for the Savannah area commercial construction company. Her duties include working with clients during design and construction of projects with a wide range of responsibilities including: drawing plans with architects, civil and structural engineers; obtaining bids from subcontractors; submitting plans for the permitting process; managing paperwork; attending approval meetings and coordinating with accounts receivable and payable.

“We are so pleased to bring Kim on board,” stated Chris Tilton, president and co-founder of the Dewitt Tilton Group. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with her in the past and I know construction is in her blood as much as it is in mine.”

Before coming to Dewitt Tilton Group, Thomas worked as a Commercial Projects designer and office manager for six years at John Tilton Homes & Tilton Commercial Group in Ridgeland, SC, and also worked as an assistant project manager at Norsouth Construction Company of Georgia in Savannah. She was previously employed as construction administrator with TMX Finance in Savannah and office administrator at 14th Circuit Solicitor (District Attorney) in Walterboro, SC. Thomas also served eight years as the Chairman of the Jasper County, SC Planning Commission.

“It’s so exciting to be a part of this new, collaborative team,” said Thomas. “I’m inspired every day by the work that Andrew and Chris do, and I enjoy interacting with clients and sharing in their excitement during the creative process of bringing a building from concept to reality.”

Thomas studied at Pittsburgh Technical Institute, earning an associate degree in specialized technology, as well as a degree in computer graphics/architectural CADD. She was also honored with a certificate from the Clemson Extension Leadership Program. She has served as a board member for the Jasper County, SC Community Fund and in numerous positions, including Nurture chairman, Sunday School teacher, choir member and children’s choir director, at the St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Ridgeland, SC. She was also a team leader for Ridgeland’s Relay for Life event.

The Hawaii native has lived many places around the globe, having been raised as a military dependent with a father who was a member of the US Air Force. Thomas has called the Savannah area home for most of her adult life. She enjoys scrapbooking, jewelry making and traveling.

The Dewitt Tilton Group, a commercial construction firm located at 2807-A Roger Lacey Avenue in Savannah, manages every aspect of a project, from pre-construction to the final walk through. For more information on the Dewitt Tilton Group, call 912.777.3404 or visit www.dewitttiltongroup.com

MORE INFORMATION ON DEWITT TILTON GROUP
The Dewitt Tilton Group, a premier construction firm located in Savannah, Ga., specializes in commercial construction. The principals, Andrew Dewitt and Chris Tilton, have over 50 years of combined experience in the local construction industry. The firm manages every aspect of a commercial project from pre-construction to the final walk through. Known for using only highly reputable contractors, the Dewitt Tilton Group brings to the table design, engineering and construction capabilities which guarantees a smooth construction process for each client. The firm is located at 2807-A Roger Lacey Avenue, Savannah, GA 31404. For more information or to contact the Dewitt Tilton Group, please call 912.777.3404 or visit www.dewitttiltongroup.com

CONTACT
Kim Thomas
Dewitt Tilton Group
912-777-3404
kim@dewitttiltongroup.com

MEDIA CONTACT
Marjorie Young
Carriage Trade PR
912.844.9990
marjorie@carriagetradepr.com

Kim Thomas, Dewitt Tilton Group, a Commercial Construction Company

Kim Thomas, Dewitt Tilton Group, a Commercial Construction Company

Preciball USA Builds New Distribution Center in Pooler

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The North American distribution center for the world leader in the manufacture and supply of industrial ball products is constructing a new facility with 37,600 square feet of floor space near the Port of Savannah. Preciball USA has engaged the Dewitt Tilton Group of Savannah to build the structure at the Westside Business Park in Pooler, Ga.

“We provide products manufactured all over the world to customers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico from our Savannah distribution center, so the geography and proximity of this location to the airport, the port, I-95 and Highway 80 were important in our decision to relocate,” said Don Peak, general manager for Preciball USA. “Not only is this project a good example of effective land use, a thoughtful design process and energy efficient construction, but it should also have a favorable impact to the area’s economic development potential.”

Preciball is expected to occupy about half of the building and make the remaining space available for lease. Suites incorporate both warehouse and office space.

“The building has a number of unique aspects in that it provides this flexible space, and is adaptable to Preciball’s rapidly expanding growth,” Peak added. “Other key benefits include the building’s high efficiency warehouse lighting and HVAC equipment, as well as dock-high loading doors and dock levelers. The warehouse space is also pillar-free with clear span truss construction.”

“One of the more interesting aspects of this project was placing the character of the building design on a very challenging site,” remarked Chris Tilton, president and co-founder of Dewitt Tilton Group. “But we were able to come up with a design that fits well in the space and provides for convenient in and out truck traffic. We are honored that Preciball selected us for this project.”

The business is scheduled to move from its current location on King George Blvd. in Savannah to the new facility in late summer.

MORE INFORMATION ON PRECIBALL USA
Preciball is the world leader in the manufacture and supply of industrial balls. Established in Belgium in 1923, the company has provided tailored solutions to a wide variety of industries for nearly 100 years. This long-standing commitment to excellence and dedication to customers has earned customer appreciation for the company’s advanced expertise and a thorough understanding of hundreds of very specific applications and processes in industries around the globe. Preciball USA, located in Savannah, Ga., is Preciball’s North American distribution center for the U.S., Canada and Mexico. For more information about Preciball USA, call 912-988-5900 or email preciballusa@saluc.com

MORE INFORMATION ON DEWITT TILTON GROUP
The Dewitt Tilton Group, a premier construction firm located in Savannah, Ga., specializes in commercial construction. The principals, Andrew Dewitt and Chris Tilton, have over 50 years of combined experience in the local construction industry. The firm manages every aspect of a commercial project from pre-construction to the final walk through. Known for using only highly reputable contractors, the Dewitt Tilton Group brings to the table design, engineering and construction capabilities that guarantee a smooth construction process for each client. The firm is located at 2807-A Roger Lacey Avenue, Savannah, GA 31404. For more information or to contact the Dewitt Tilton Group, please call 912.777.3404 or visit www.dewittttiltongroup.com

CONTACT
Don Peak
Preciball USA Inc
760 King George Boulevard, Suite G
Savannah, GA 31419
912.988.5900
preciballusa@saluc.com

MEDIA CONTACT
Marjorie Young
Carriage Trade PR
912.844.9990
marjorie@carriagetradepr.com

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Dewitt Tilton Group, a Commercial Construction Company, Opens in Savannah

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(SAVANNAH, GA) Andrew Dewitt and Chris Tilton are pleased to announce the opening of the Dewitt Tilton Group in Savannah, Ga. The commercial construction firm, located at 2807-A Roger Lacey Avenue, Savannah, Ga 31404, manages every aspect of a project, from pre-construction to the final walk through.

With over 50 years of combined experience in the Coastal Georgia building industry, Dewitt and Tilton use only highly reputable, local contractors. Their hands-on approach also guarantees a much smoother construction process, generating savings on materials and labor, and delivering a quality product backed by proven builders.

“Each project requires individual attention to a client’s needs, budget and timeline,” said Tilton. “We intend to provide the highest level of service and the most cost effective solutions each and every time.”

Dewitt and Tilton are both Savannah natives and alumni of Benedictine Military School.

After high school, Dewitt received his BBA in Real Estate from the University of Georgia. He is also President of Dewitt, Cook & Associates, a full-service appraisal firm actively engaged in real estate valuation and consulting assignments. Dewitt is a certified appraiser in Ga. and S.C. and currently is a member of the Savannah Board of Realtors.

Tilton, a Georgia and South Carolina licensed commercial contractor, graduated with honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology, receiving a BS degree in the field of Building Construction. After many years of experience with large construction firms outside the area, Tilton is pleased to return to Savannah with his family.

Dewitt said, “We are honored to be working and supporting the commercial industry and the Savannah community, which has been extremely generous to us over the years.”

For more information on the Dewitt Tilton Group, call 912.777.3404 or visit www.dewitttiltongroup.com

MORE INFORMATION ON DEWITT TILTON GROUP
The Dewitt Tilton Group, a premier construction firm located in Savannah, Ga., specializes in commercial construction. The principals, Andrew Dewitt and Chris Tilton, have over 50 years of combined experience in the local construction industry. The firm manages every aspect of a commercial project from pre-construction to the final walk through. Known for using only highly reputable contractors, the Dewitt Tilton Group brings to the table design, engineering and construction capabilities which guarantees a smooth construction process for each client. The firm is located at 2807-A Roger Lacey Avenue, Savannah, GA 31404. For more information or to contact the Dewitt Tilton Group, please call 912.777.3404 or visit www.dewitttiltongroup.com

CONTACT
Kim Thomas
Dewitt Tilton Group
912-777-3404
kim@dewitttiltongroup.com

MEDIA CONTACT
Marjorie Young
Carriage Trade PR
912.844.9990
marjorie@carriagetradepr.com