- Written by: Erica Berry
- Produced by: Kyle Gahm
- Estimated reading time: 5 mins
NuDesign Builders (NuDesign) was formed in 2007 with a goal to provide fresh and innovative ideas to clients throughout Central Florida. Emerging with its experienced team of builders and trusted partnerships, the company has created a client-centered business model that focuses on the design-build of residential and commercial property.
The company was originally founded by two partners; however, they soon developed different visions. Therefore, in late 2009, Brad Fess, current president and CEO, bought out his partner and assumed full ownership of NuDesign.
With Brad solo at the helm, he was able to implement changes he had long seen necessary to continue to grow and attract the jobs that he envisioned for the company. Brad’s changes paid off in break-neck growth for the next three years.
In August 2009, Brad took over the business in order to move forward with his vision to design-build solid homes and commercial buildings for people at a fair price, make a fair profit and grow a business. His ambition paid off, as from late 2009 to 2012, NuDesign growth skyrocketed – increasing business by 600 percent.
“We made a few changes in order to reach our new goals,” says Brad. “We went after different types of jobs and focused on the design-build side of the company versus just construction. Customers are happy we are a one-stop shop where everything is taken care of, from conception to finished project.”
In addition to its new focus on design-build, the company has re-vamped its branding strategy; unifying its brand and building brand awareness through print materials, signage and a new website. Creating a unified brand has allowed both team members and clients to better understand the company’s vision and the services it provides.
In 2014, the company grew 70 percent and is on track for another 40 percent boost in business in 2015- pushing the company over the $4 million mark. The company was recognized by Orlando Business Journal as one of the 50 Fastest Growing Privately Owned Companies in Central Florida in 2013 and Brad was also included on the publications 40 Under 40 list in 2012.
Full-service design and management
As a design-build company, the NuDesign team has a special understanding of the design process—more so than those who work solely in the construction field—which provides clients the confidence to put greater trust in the company’s skills. With architecture in-house, projects flow fluidly and quickly, and the team is able to work directly with clients from conception of the idea to the finish project.
Staying at the forefront of technology, NuDesign implemented a cloud-based, fully integrated construction management program that links customers, subcontractors and field staff together in one spot for all communications, information and selections. Incorporating technology in the field has allowed the company to be very transparent with its clients and run jobs with open book accounting.
Under a tight time and monetary budget, NuDesign completed a design-build office building for Intelity, a technology company that provides tech related guest services to high-end hotels. Completed in 2014, the final project consisted of 6,500 square feet of space, including a reception area, open office areas accommodating 35 total staff members, seven private offices, two conference rooms, a café and a staff lounge.
“The office was required to be designed and constructed within a four month window,” explains Brad. “With such a quick turn-around, it was a challenge to stay on budget without sacrificing high style or design. We worked closely with the architect to choose materials that didn’t compromise design intent, but still made a big difference on getting the price down. The client trusted us to deliver and we did – on time and under budget.”
Included in the high-tech office design was a 150 foot long wall of reclaim lumber, TVs networked to the company’s various locations all over the world and a 64 iPad display acting as one giant screen that could also break into four screens or individual screens.
The Intelity project won the ABC Eagle Award Southeast Region and the project is also a contender in the ABC’s National Excellence in Construction awards, which recognize outstanding construction projects across the nation. Winners will be announced in March 2015.
NuDesign also completed re-design of a 16,000-square-foot health club, Kinetix Fitness, near Tampa. What began as an old strip mall, consisting of several stores, was soon internally demolished, as NuDesign cut openings into the walls, gutted the interior and re-constructed the building from the ground up. The final project included interior brick work, polished concrete floors, a kid’s gym area, a spinning studio, a large group fitness room, locker rooms, a 120 piece cardio deck and a weight area.
When it comes to residential projects, the company targets the upper middle class, with the average residential customer seeking a $200,000 to $400,000 renovation—and most paying cash. NuDesign also completes custom homes in the $750,000 to $2 million range.
In November 2013, NuDesign was presented with a unique and unexpected opportunity to design-build a $950,000 high-end home on designated land conservation. Originally a spec home, which the company planned to sell once it was complete, was introduced to a client looking for a home in the area via NuDesign’s realtor. Before the company had broken ground on the project, it was under contract with the new home owner and design-build plans were in the works.
NuDesign worked directly with the homeowner to provide the timeless design and a clean traditional style she wanted. The final project, which measures 4,000 square feet, included a large living space with 10-foot ceilings, five bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms, a large travertine deck and an outdoor pool.
To keep the energy costs down in a home of this size, NuDesign focused on using the most energy efficient materials available, and also were mindful of small design changes that made a big impact on energy costs. The company included spray foam insulation in the walls, tankless water heaters, high efficiency PGT windows, natural gas and large overhangs to shade glass on the back of the home. The company’s diligence paid off; as the average energy bill for the home is $300, including pool costs.
Plans for expansion
During the recession of 2009, as other businesses were losing business, NuDesign was in a prime position to recruit the best industry craftsmen and build a solid team—leading to a 600 percent growth over three years. However, despite new hires, the continuous rapid growth has left it with the challenge of finding people to outfit on-coming projects.
“Everything we do is custom, so there is no repeatable cycle,” explains Brad. “There is a steep learning curve on every job and not just anyone can pick that up. Finding the right people and providing an infrastructure for them to operate within takes time. We are working on building the team up now because I think 2015 is going to be crazy.”
NuDesign Builders currently employs seven people, and Brad would like to grow the company while still holding tight his vision of providing quality service at a fair price. Brad and the NuDesign Builders team are focused on being more selective with projects and differentiating itself even more moving forward.
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