While 85 percent of its work comes from repeat business, KBS has ramped up its focus on business development to attract new clients.
KBS combines its more than four decades of market and industry knowledge with pre-construction services to grow its market share in Richmond, Va. While 85 percent of its work comes from repeat business, the company has ramped up its focus on business development to continually attract new clients.
Vice President Michael Lynch works in the company’s pre-construction services and business development department. He says KBS offers comprehensive pre-construction planning with true costs based on historical data and current market conditions. “In the last five years, it was an organic move towards putting extra emphasis on pre-construction services. We hired additional staff and promoted people from within to business development positions,” Lynch says. “We are going out and meeting new clients while serving the clients we have.”
Chairman and CEO Bill Paulette and Vice Chairman Dennis Lynch founded the company in 1975 with the goal of providing quality, comprehensive construction services with the flexibility to meet clients’ specific needs. Both remain involved in the company’s operations today.
In addition to pre-construction services, KBS specializes in construction management, general contracting, design/build, sustainable construction and virtual construction using building information modeling. Michael Lynch attributes KBS’s success to its longevity in the industry, the relationships it builds and by treating clients in the right way.
About 80 percent of KBS’s work today is multifamily projects while the other 20 percent is commercial and institutional.
“We do a variety of work to try to stay diverse,” Michael Lynch says. “We built our first multifamily development 30 years ago, so we know the industry very well.”
KBS says the residential market in Richmond is busier than normal. In fact, the company has 30 ongoing projects and 10 to 15 projects that will be starting over the next year that are all within 100 miles of Richmond.
“Richmond is in a sweet spot where it’s not too big that the costs have been blown out of proportion, but not too small where people want to build,” Lynch says. “It is one of the preferred places to move as there has been a boom in breweries and restaurants. Our restaurant scene some say is in the top 10 in the country.
“People are being drawn to Richmond and it’s definitely a hot market right now.”
Delivering Market Expertise
KBS is overseeing the construction of Riverview Apartments, a $38 million multifamily development in Richmond that consists of 238 units within 320,000 gross square feet. Alabama-based LIV Development purchased 15 contiguous parcels totaling 7.3 acres in May 2019 and brought KBS aboard early in the project to leverage the organization’s pre-construction services.
“I was brought in early through word of mouth,” Lynch says. “Two years ago, the realtor called me and said he had a client looking to build apartments here and put a contract on some land. He asked if I would mind talking to them. The owner, LIV Development, called me and asked some questions about what we do and if we were interested in the project. We absolutely were.”
KBS spent the next year with LIV Development massaging the plans and delivering on its market expertise by helping it understand the popular building materials and methods in Richmond. For example, the exterior facade of Riverview Apartments is a mixture of fiber cement panels and brick. “Brick is more expensive, so doing half fiber cement and half brick is very popular in Richmond as a siding material,” Lynch notes.
Riverview Apartments will also include a 2,000-square-foot club room, as well as a pool, grilling area and dog park. The site features walking trails to the James River, Virginia’s longest river that runs through the city. “It is a stone’s throw from the river and will have beautiful views,” Lynch notes.
KBS began construction on Riverview Apartments six months ago and had about 30 percent of the project completed as of mid-April. The company called on its trusted subcontractors, some of which it has been working with for more than a decade, to perform work on the development.
“We couldn’t get anything built if it wasn’t for them, so you need good relationships with your subcontractors and you have to treat them well,” Lynch says. “Those long-term relationships benefit us because our subs will come back to us and perform work on our projects. We can trust hem to maintain quality. Because we have a long history together, they know what we expect and what’s important to us.”
To ensure everyone is on the same page during construction, KBS continuously looks for innovative technology to implement. The company uses Microsoft Teams to allow for the collaboration of people, content and tools to increase efficiency. KBS also recently implemented Buildup, a punch list application that allows photos to be taken and items to be identified and shared with the subcontractors for more efficient turnover and completion.
KBS expects to deliver the first of three buildings in the Riverview Apartments development in the fall. It plans to complete the next building 30 days later and will roll into 2021 for final completion.