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April 24, 2014

Survey: BNBuilders

Photo courtesy of BNBuilders [enlarge]
BNBuilders built new headquarters space for the Infectious Disease Research Institute in South Lake Union.

Specialty: Construction manager/general contractor with an expertise providing pre-construction services and construction services under alternate delivery models, including GC/CM, design-build and integrated project delivery

Management: Brad Bastian, president

Founded: 2000

Headquarters: Seattle

2013 revenues: $220 million

Projected 2014 revenues: $350 million

Current projects: Fairfax Hospital expansion, city of Seattle’s new Fire Station 32, Washington State University’s Northside Residence Hall (second phase)

Q: Which two recent projects best symbolize your work?

A: Our key market sectors are life science, healthcare, higher education, public sector GC/CM and design-build, Native American, mixed-use (including low-income housing) and commercial corporate ground-up and tenant improvements. Right now, we are completing a complex life-science manufacturing facility for an international pharmaceutical manufacturer in Bothell, a new behavioral health facility for Fairfax Hospital in Kirkland and a new residence hall for Washington State University in Pullman.

Q: Do either of these projects represent a new direction for BNB?

A: The WSU Northside project represents a distinct expansion of our work for higher education. Typically, our work for clients like the UW, WSU, UC Davis, Stanford and Montana State University was complex laboratory and classroom facilities, both ground-up and renovations. The Northside Residence Hall project has helped develop our expertise in the construction of student housing that includes both renovations and ground-up work along with dining halls and commercial kitchens. BNB has experience with student housing projects at UCSD, CSU Long Beach, Washington State University and Montana State University. We are hoping to continue to develop this expertise.

Q: Are you seeing signs that the economy has fully rebounded?

A: Since 2008, there has been a lot of pent-up demand across the board. Universities put a hold on projects, hospitals placed moratoriums on new buildings and, with the exception of apartments, commercial development nearly dried up completely. We are now seeing the floodgates open and a lot of these projects finally become reality.

Q: Which sectors of your business are doing well and which are not?

A: All facets of our business are performing well. Our offices in Seattle and the Bay Area have seen the most dramatic increases in revenue. Our San Diego and Spokane offices have seen increases, just not as dramatically. This is to be expected as these markets are usually 12 to 18 months behind Seattle and the Bay Area.

Q: What are the biggest challenges you face in 2014 and 2015?

A: With the market returning to pre-recession levels, the key challenge we all will face is hiring the best talent out there. Construction is such a relationship-based and high-service industry, having the right people on your project teams is the critical defining factor to success. We continue to make huge investments into our workplace — training, competitive pay, benefits and an enjoyable workplace environment. By doing this, we are meeting this challenge up and down the West Coast.

Q: Are there any interesting trends in TI projects?

A: With a lot of the larger tenant improvements that are hitting the street, we are seeing more and more owners abandon the traditional design-bid-build approach and go with the negotiated process where the contractor gets involved with the project early in the design phase. Owners are placing value on the team members and particular qualifications and skills that a contractor brings to the table as opposed to basing their hiring decision on who came in with the cheapest initial price.

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