Case Studies

NOVO Construction Inc.

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  • Written by: NOVO Construction Inc.
  • Produced by: NOVO Construction Inc.
  • Estimated reading time: 4 mins

NOVO Construction Inc. (NOVO) started out 11 years ago with just a small group of founders and friends, and has since grown to become the eighth largest contracting company in the San Francisco Bay area, employing over 100. The company began with a lean core of construction professionals at the helm, and now maintains two offices – a central headquarters in San Francisco and a branch in Menlo Park – in order to handle projects throughout the San Francisco Bay area and Silicon Valley.

Size hasn’t impacted the company’s commitment to personalized service, however. NOVO excels in providing cost-effective and value-added solutions for every client, because the company’s principals remain involved throughout to assure comprehensive quality. Recently, the company instituted an incentive system based on client feedback that rewards employees for building client relationships, which are of paramount importance to NOVO. After all, the company’s motto is “We would rather do 100 projects for one client than 1 project for 100 clients.”

Since NOVO’s founding in 2000, the company has grown to specialize in the construction of corporate interiors, data centers and life science facilities. NOVO takes great pride in the well-honed attributes of its supervisors, whose abilities result in extremely high client retention and allow NOVO to generate $200 million in annual revenue. “We really play to our strengths,” says Arne Ericson, NOVO vice president and co-founder. “We are all about the team and bringing different approaches to our projects.”

Ericson met the other founders of NOVO while studying construction management at California State University, Chico. “At the time, we had all been working in the area for various competing construction firms and eventually decided it would be best to start our own company,” says Ericson, who has almost two decades of experience in the construction industry that he personally brings to the table in order to assemble the most well-rounded group to tackle jobs that require innovation and efficiency.

Building on that combined education in construction management, NOVO focuses primarily on the project management end of the industry using dynamic, digitally aided design and communication methods, and only on occasion will self-perform any of the actual construction. The company’s comprehensive pre-construction services include accurate budget analysis, due-diligence surveying, site selection, project scheduling and life cycle costing.

Putting out a job’s actual construction components to bid and being able to select the best balance of specialized skills and competitive pricing helps to give NOVO an additional advantage. “We don’t do drywall or demolition,” explains Ericson. “We take care of general condition work like temporary protection and clean up, but it is a core belief of ours that it is more efficient to allow the subcontractors to take care of what they do best, which enables us to offer the client a better price.”

A High-profile Portfolio

NOVO’s bread and butter these days is primarily corporate projects for many of its area’s Fortune 500 companies and technological leaders. “We are really honored and lucky to work with the people we do,” says Ericson. “We have an amazing group of regular clients, no doubt about it.

“We do a lot of work for Cisco,” Ericson continues. “And we recently were approached by them for a corporate build-out for one of their recent acquisitions.” The company in question is Pure Digital Technologies Inc, the makers of the Flip video camera and one of the fastest growing companies in the country. In this case, NOVO was hired to oversee a tenant improvement of the client’s offices to better accommodate an ever-growing staff.

The company also recently finished a tenant build-out for Latham & Watkins, an international law firm with over 2,000 employees in 30 offices. The client was in the process of expanding its operations into Northern California and was in need of a new office space that could be grown into. “Basically we did an eight-floor restack,” says Ericson. The space’s design was handled by Gensler, and NOVO was challenged not just to reconfigure the existing floors to suit the client’s needs, but to provide the client with an equally aesthetically pleasing and functionally impressive space that could appropriately accommodate the high-profile clientele.

Finding Room to Grow

NOVO also has extensive expertise in incorporating aspects of a project that lead to LEED certification, and the firm employs 21 LEED Accredited Professionals to help enhance a project’s mechanical and electrical efficiency. NOVO utilizes these considerable skills for core clients including Cisco, Apple, Oracle, VMware, Linkedin, Ericsson, AOL and Logitech, as well as a host of Life Science companies including Genentech, BioMarin, BioNOVO, Thoratec, Abbott Labs and Abaxis. Additionally, NOVO has applied its capabilities for several banking institutions and law firms, both local and national, and several venture capital firms.

Thanks to innovative projects and a stellar reputation, NOVO has been relatively unscathed by the economic turndown. Still, Ericson still sees a lot of volatility in the market place, stating, “It’s an incredibly tough and competitive market right now. And news and information moves so incredibly fast these days that we have seen some really violent swings in the market over the past few years. I’d like to say that I see things getting better, but I still see some underlying fundamentals that are very scary, because there are simply too many companies trying to make it work.”

Despite these laments for the industry as a whole, Ericson remains confident about NOVO’s future growth, explaining, “I think we’re in a really solid position for the next wave of recovery. We have some really great relationships with our clients, and it is a major priority of ours to hold onto our employees.” Continuing its focus on not just the quality of surfaces but also on the quality of service, NOVO Construction Inc. will successfully build more of its trademark rock-solid relationships.

Published on: March 9, 2013


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