Envisioning a radically more efficient future for the building industry, Skender announced its expansion beyond construction, becoming a vertically integrated company including construction, design and building component manufacturing functions. The expansion includes significant investment in the launch of a new Chicago-based advanced manufacturing subsidiary and the acquisition of the boutique design firm Ingenious Architecture. Skender has also recruited two industry trailblazers: architect and thought leader Tim Swanson, and construction technology innovator Kevin Bredeson. As part of the transformation, Skender Construction has rebranded as Skender, reflecting the expansion beyond its core construction business.
“Fragmentation has crippled our industry far too long,” said Mark Skender, the company’s CEO. “Our new business model revolutionizes how the industry builds by demolishing the silos between design and construction, and introducing manufacturing. Combined with our Lean project delivery approach and culture of perpetual innovation, we can now fully realize the potential of vertical integration to significantly reduce risk, delays and waste while maximizing value, quality and positive experiences for our clients. It’s a uniquely stress-free building solution.”
Launching a new, start-up advanced manufacturing company, Skender will open a manufacturing facility on the southwest side of Chicago that will employ union labor to build modular building components. Relocating some or most of the onsite construction process to the manufacturing facility will centralize and stabilize labor, realize a standardized assembly line process for higher-quality building components and eliminate weather-related delays during much of the construction process. Among the many benefits are increased flexibility, shorter schedules, reduced costs and greater speed to revenue.
“We are asking new questions,” explains Justin Brown, Skender president and partner. “Why can’t we apply sophisticated design principles to modular manufacturing? How can we eliminate weather delays by bringing large parts of the process indoors? How can we significantly boost productivity without sacrificing quality? We are not just rolling out a new business model—we’re rethinking everything about building design and construction, from concept to completion and beyond.”
Both a CEO search and a rigorous facility selection process are currently underway; production is expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2018. More details will follow this initial launch announcement.
Leveraging technology to enhance architecture firm partnerships and maximize design efficiency, Skender is making multiple investments in people and technology. The company has made two key executive hires, including Kevin Bredeson aschief technology officer and Tim Swanson aschief design officer. Bredeson will use his recognized leadership in design and construction technologies to ensure Skender’s technology stack is constantly evolving, supporting forward movement toward maximum efficiency and optimal integration. His past technology leadership experience includes tenures at Suffolk Construction, Pepper Construction and Gilbane Building Company.
Swanson, a thought leader and regular speaker on the value of integrating design and construction, joins Skender from Cannon Design, where he led the Chicago office and the firm’s national City Design practice. Swanson will serve as leader of Skender’s new integrated design team.
To provide the design expertise required to fully integrate the building process, Skender has also acquired Ingenious Architecture, a team of 10 research-based, technology-savvy architects and designers. The new design team will work under Swanson’s leadership to offer Lean, integrated services such as design-build, design-assist and design-for-manufacturing to new and existing healthcare, hospitality and multifamily clients. To further bolster productivity and enhance client experiences, the team will collaborate with the new CTO to infuse operations-focused technologies, such as virtual design and construction and building information modeling, with emerging technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality and drone imaging. The team will continue to serve their existing Ingenious Architecture clients, primarily focused on the healthcare and corporate/commercial sectors, as well as collaborate across the firm’s projects.