Katerra acquires Denver-based contractor Bristlecone
- Offsite design-build company Katerra announced yesterday it has absorbed Denver-area general contractor Bristlecone Construction Corp., which will now fall under the name Katerra.
- Katerra officials said the addition of Bristlecone will give the company added construction expertise, particularly in the areas of structural concrete and framing, which will increase the company's ability to execute on its projects and will provide a base to grow capacity.
- The company said that the former Bristlecone will now be able to enhance the value of its deliverables by using Katerra's technologies and supply chains. “The expertise and fresh thinking about construction approaches brought by [CEO] Zach Smith and the Bristlecone leadership team will play a key role in realizing our vision to transform the building industry in the United States,” said Michael Marks, Katerra's chairman and co-founder.
Bristlecone will likely add to Katerra's construction quality credibility, which was questioned in an August report from The Information. The $3 billion company, which prides itself on its innovative and technology-based approach to building, has allegedly experienced some obstacles on the production end of its business, due partly to a "lack of construction experience." So, one of the Bristlecone team's first objectives might be to revamp the building end of Katerra's process so that practical, time-tested construction methods and processes can be integrated with Katerra's offsite production model.
Other reported growing pains were problems in the factory having to do with delivery delays and the automated manufacturing of certain building components like window systems.
Bristlecone will also be able to tap into its own supply of employees and subcontractors in a time when skilled labor is difficult to attract and retain. This should go a long way in solving one of Katerra's other supposed issues — a lack of skilled workers.
Prior to the Bristlecone merger, Katerra made news with its mergers and acquisitions on the design end of the construction process.
In June, Katerra announced a merger with India-based manufacturing technology company KEF Infra, and the company said the newly formed business had already attracted more than $3.5 billion in bookings.
Prior to that, Katerra completed two acquisitions in two weeks. Those transactions saw the company enter into agreements with Portland, Oregon-based Michael Green Architecture and Lord Aeck Sargent in Atlanta. This left Katerra with 31 U.S. state architecture licenses, in addition to credentials in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. As a result of these two deals alone, Katerra's staff size doubled.
Follow Kim Slowey on Twitter