Case Studies

Build Group Inc.

Experiencing Rapid Growth, Despite the Economy
  • Written by: Build Group Inc.
  • Produced by: Build Group Inc.
  • Estimated reading time: 3 mins

Build Group Inc. (Build Group) is one of the fastest growing companies in Northern California’s Bay Area. Build Group saw a 2,678-percent growth in revenue between 2009 and 2011, demonstrating the company’s success. The construction firm works with a diverse clientele to provide general construction services, ranging from new buildings and renovations to solar panel carport structures.

In what was deemed the worst time to start a construction business in 2007, Eric Horn and Ross Edwards co-founded Build Group. Both Edwards and Horn have over 25 years of experience in the construction industry. The duo’s reputation and passion for rolling up their sleeves led Build Group to success through the recession. Today Edwards and Horn run the company with the help of Bob Hopper, Scott Brauninger, Nathan Rundel and John Santori, principals of Build Group, all of whom possess extensive years of experience in the field.

Build Group started off with humble jobs, which helped build the company a well-respected reputation. One of the company’s first projects was a cable car kiosk for the city of San Francisco, which still sits on the corners of Powell and Market streets. Build Group’s willingness to take on a job of any size helped it through those early days.

“It taught us to be frugal,” says Horn. “Being innovative and creative with a difficult economy really set us apart.”

Shortly after Build Group’s humble beginnings, the company established itself in a corner of the solar market. Build Group has designed solar carport structures for various parts of the country to withstand everything from pour soil conditions to hurricane-strength winds. The company patented a flexible solar tee structure, Solumbria, which principals note as a turning point for Build Group.

Innovation to Diversification

Build Group maintains a large pool of clients in a variety of industries, and the team is always setting sights on new projects. One goal for 2012 was to erect the company’s first tower crane. As expected, Build Group accomplished that goal with an eight-story condominium project in the heart of San Francisco.

The company, now a mid-sized general contractor, has a portfolio featuring a number of large-scale projects within the Bay Area region, ranging from tenant improvement to ground-up commercial residential. Build Group’s recent projects include 240 Third Street, a three-story, mixed-use building in China; a 6,800-square-foot signature restaurant in Westfield Center; Sutter Street Parking Garage, a six-story above-grade, one level below-grade parking structure in San Francisco; and 299,000 square feet of elevated structure for Lancaster School District’s solar panel system.

Principals cite that another recent project the team at Build Group takes pride in is the new Nespresso build-out in San Francisco’s Union Square. Build Group is also about to start the second phase of a solar canopy project for the Veterans Affairs West Los Angeles Medical Center. The team says the overall project will be the largest solar canopy project for the VA worldwide, providing an estimated 7.4 megawatts of energy through carports around the hospital.

Hands-on Approach

With such rapid growth from 2009 to 2011, the company is focusing on how to continue growth, but maintain a small-company feel. All principals with Build Group are highly involved in daily activities, keeping a hand in hiring, staffing and the day-to-day operations of projects.

Each principal at Build Group prefers to be involved in new projects from the very beginning stages. Principals attribute the ability to start working with clients in the early stages as the key to achieving the outcome clients are looking for. Build Group’s hands-on approach also helps with determining price points and a schedule for each project. A number of the company’s competing firms are too large and don’t have the one-on-one capability Build Group is able to provide.

Horn says the company is proud to have grown revenue by over 2,500 percent in a two-year span. He hopes growth continues, but maybe not at such a rapid rate. “The best way to grow organically is to follow a client into a market,” he says. “Expansion is always expensive, but if you make sure the market is there and make sure the clients are good it’s worth it.” Having taken one risk in launching during a bad economic time, Build Group Inc. will continue to follow a diverse clientele base into the future.

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Spring 2018



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