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NorSouth Constructs Makes 2015 Inc. 5000 List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies

Savannah-based contractor ranks No. 2469 on the 34th Annual Inc. 5000 List with three-year revenue growth of 152%

ATLANTA—(September 28, 2015) Inc. magazine has ranked NorSouth Constructs No. 2469 on its 34th Annual Inc. 5000 list, an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. Started in 1982, this prestigious list has become the hallmark of independent, entrepreneurial success, establishing NorSouth Constructs as not only a force in the Southeast, but a national leader within the competitive and ever-changing multi-family, sustainable and conventional construction business landscape. “To achieve steady, increasing growth since 2011 in the multi-family construction sector is not easy, but it is also no accident,” said Director Colin Edelstein. “Unlike most general contractors in the Southeast, NorSouth Constructs has conducted 85% of its business as a third-party builder to surpass the industry standard in quality, execution and in costs. NorSouth is honored to be recognized as a 2015 Inc. 5000 company as a result of this unique business strategy, and we look forward to continued growth with this approach.” The most competitive crop in the list’s history, the 2015 Inc. 5000 is ranked according to percentage revenue growth when comparing 2011 to 2014. To qualify, companies must be founded and generate revenue by March 31, 2011. Since 2011, NorSouth Constructs has had a 152% increase in revenue and added 18 new positions within the company, placing the contractor in the top 50% percentile of all U.S. private companies mentioned. Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000. About Inc. Media:  Founded in 1979 and acquired in 2005 by Mansueto Ventures, Inc., Inc. Media is the only major brand dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies, with the aim to deliver real solutions for today’s innovative company builders. Winner of the National Magazine Award for General Excellence in both 2014 and 2012. Total monthly audience reach for the brand has grown significantly from 2,000,000 in 2010 to over 13,000,000 today. For more information, visit www.inc.com. About NorSouth Constructs  NorSouth Constructs is an award-winning construction firm with a reputation for building high-quality mixed-use, seniors and multi-family communities for developers and owners throughout the Southeast. Based in Savannah, Ga., NorSouth Constructs offers unique preconstruction services, based on a transparent “design to cost” process which helps owners and their design teams create high-quality properties built for a defined, predictable cost. The company’s slogan, ‘Your mission. Our vision,’ highlights its commitment to create long-term customer relationships, based on unparalleled service, reliability and transparency. www.nsconstructs.com 

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Add a scheduler to the mix

The cost that’s really a cost savings
 Mike

At NorSouth Constructs, we’ve had ample opportunity to see how other companies do business – and how we can do it better. Most companies task a Project Manager to work in coordination with the Superintendent to set and then drive a project’s schedule. It’s the PM who has ultimate accountability over keeping the project on time and within budget.

 Colin

But there’s an inherent moral hazard in letting the PM set and control the schedule.

When they do, they’ve got ample opportunity to obfuscate critical tasks. Not that they would, but they could. And that’s a risk you don’t want. And it’s a risk that we don’t want either, so we snuff it out by engaging a third-party scheduler.

The great thing about this consultant is that they hold the PM and superintendent to a reasonable schedule … and who doesn’t like keeping a job on schedule? Anyone? Bueller … Bueller? That’s what I thought.

It’s an extra layer, but that layer adds accountability for everyone.

 Mike

And it adds a fresh perspective, too. The third party can look ahead and see how the job will be affected based on the current state of the project. They’re on site every other week, so they’re current and make sure everyone else is as well.

Let’s say your framer is delayed. The scheduler – seeing the bigger project picture – knows the drywall is coming up next week after framing is completed. It’s the scheduler’s role to assess the impact and prompt the framer to get more staff on the job so the framers finish the framing faster. Say that five times fast.

 Colin

So, yep, the scheduler is a cost, but in the end it saves costs – for us and our customers. I don’t know another company that works with a third-party scheduler, but we’ve been doing it for years. How’d we start it?

 Mike

Other than it’s the best way to do business (and that’s our main driver at NSC), I can only speculate. “You must be finished by X date” is a requisite in our industry. The consequences for NOT finishing by X date are catastrophic … to everyone involved. A scheduler keeps us on target.

Having a scheduler in the mix is one way we keep things moving and take the guesswork out of answering the owner’s question, “How’s the job going?” We answer that question by delivering a nice report that tells and shows owners and subs how the project is going. It’s an honest, practical look at what’s happening and what’s coming up.


Want to learn more? Get in touch with Mike and Colin by leaving your comments below. Thanks for following along as they take on industry issues together!

NorSouth Constructs Named One of the Countries Largest General Contractors

Savannah-based contractor makes No. 20 spot on National Multifamily Housing Council 2015 List of Nation’s Top 25 Largest General Contractors ATLANTA—(April 22, 2015) This month, NorSouth Constructs earned national recognition by making the National Multifamily Housing Council’s 2015 NMHC 50 list, the annual ranking of the nation’s largest apartment owners, managers, contractors and developers. With 1,025 apartment units started for third parties in 2014, NorSouth Constructs was named one of largest general contractors in the country, earning the company the Top 20 spot. NorSouth Constructs builds a diverse portfolio of multifamily communities, ranging from senior living apartments and affordable, high-quality homes for low-income families to sustainable and conventional building projects. NorSouth’s projects expand in areas outside of Georgia, including Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida and Texas. Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 4.40.28 PM“By shifting NorSouth Constructs from the historic developer-builder model to conducting 85% of business as a third-party builder, we have experienced tremendous, but methodical and intentional, growth.” said Director Colin Edelstein. “It is an honor to be named the nation’s 20th Largest General Contractor, as this ranking validates NorSouth’s unique business strategy and our ability to break the boundaries of what today’s general contractor consists of.” The listing comes on the heels of a new study from the NMHC and National Apartment Association (NAA), which revealed the industry’s tremendous economic impact. Apartments and their residents contribute $1.3 trillion annually to the economy and support 12.3 million jobs nationwide. NMHC partners with Kingsley Associates, a leading real estate research and consulting firm, for the NMHC 50’s research and analysis. Full rankings and detailed analyses are available online at www.nmhc.org/NMHC50. About the National Multifamily Housing Council  Based in Washington, D.C., the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) is the leadership of the trillion-dollar apartment industry. We bring together the prominent apartment owners, managers and developers who help create thriving communities by providing apartment homes for today’s 37 million Americans. NMHC provides a forum for insight, advocacy and action that enables both members and the communities they help build to thrive. For more information, contact NMHC at 202/974-2300, e-mail the Council at info@nmhc.org, or visit NMHC’s web site at www.nmhc.org. About NorSouth Constructs  NorSouth Constructs is an award-winning construction firm with a reputation for building high-quality mixed-use, seniors and multi-family communities for developers and owners throughout the Southeast. Based in Savannah, Ga., NorSouth Constructs offers unique preconstruction services, based on a transparent “design to cost” process which helps owners and their design teams create high-quality properties built for a defined, predictable cost. The company’s slogan, ‘Your mission. Our vision,’ highlights its commitment to create long-term customer relationships, based on unparalleled service, reliability and transparency. www.nsconstructs.com

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NorSouth Constructs Awarded 2014 EarthCraft Award

Leading Southeast contractor recognized for sustainable partnership in the multi-phase redevelopment of Decatur Housing Authority’s Allen Wilson Community ATLANTA—(November 19, 2014) Southeast green building certification program EarthCraft announced its 2014 award winners in a ceremony hosted by Southface Energy Institute and the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association on October 29th in Atlanta, Ga. In addition to celebrating EarthCraft’s 15-year-strong commitment of advancing sustainable and high-quality building projects and homes in the Southeast, more than 100 green building professionals were acknowledged at the event for the most innovative green projects of the year. Of the six categories of winners recognized, Decatur Housing Authority and partners NorSouth Constructs and Catamount Constructors, Inc. were awarded the 2014 EarthCraft Communities Project of the Year for the redevelopment of the Allen Wilson Terrace Public Housing Community in Decatur, Ga. “NorSouth is pleased to champion sustainable building practices throughout the Decatur, Ga. community, a city rich in history and thriving with many schools, businesses and health facilities,” said NorSouth Constructs Director Colin Edelstein. NorSouth served as the general contractor for two of three phases of the project. The new and improved Allen Wilson community was designed with groundbreaking, environmental features including Huber Zip weather-resistant wall barriers, low-flow plumbing fixtures and electricity-conserving geo-thermal heat pump systems to heat and cool common areas, as well as low-VOC paints, carpets and formaldehyde-free kitchen and bath cabinetry. The three-phase development broke ground in 2011 and was completed in January 2014. The Oliver House, an affordable senior apartment built during Phase II of the multi-phase redevelopment was named the 2012 EarthCraft Multifamily Project of the Year, through which NorSouth and the DHA were also recognized for their leadership and excellence in green building design and construction. “NorSouth places an emphasis on creating long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships that will improve the quality of living in the Southeast and the multi-family industry as a whole,” Edelstein added. “I would like to thank the DHA for allowing NorSouth the opportunity to provide affordable and high-quality sustainable homes for the senior and low-income families of Decatur.” About the Decatur Housing Authority The Decatur Housing Authority has served the needs of the residents of the City of Decatur since its creation in 1938. In addition to its role in developing, owning and managing public housing, DHA has been involved in developing a number of non-subsidized for-sale single family, condominium and townhouse properties in Decatur. Portions of each of these developments were available as Workforce and Lifecycle Housing that provide affordable homeownership for working households. Throughout its 70-year history, DHA has made a significant impact on the economic growth and well-being of this small city. Just 4.18 square miles in size, Decatur, Georgia is today a thriving small city, thanks in part to the work of the Authority. www.decaturhousing.org About NorSouth Constructs NorSouth Constructs is an award-winning construction firm with a reputation for building high-quality mixed-use, seniors and multi-family communities for developers and owners throughout the Southeast. Based in Savannah, Ga., NorSouth Constructs offers unique preconstruction services, based on a transparent “design to cost” process which helps owners and their design teams create high-quality properties built for a defined, predictable cost. The company’s slogan, ‘Your mission. Our vision,’ highlights its commitment to create long-term customer relationships, based on unparalleled service, reliability and transparency. www.nsconstructs.com

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 Mike

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type

 Colin

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout. The point of using Lorem Ipsum is

 Mike

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type

 Colin

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout. The point of using Lorem Ipsum is

 Mike

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type

 Colin

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout. The point of using Lorem Ipsum is

 Mike

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type

 Colin

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout. The point of using Lorem Ipsum is

Ratcheting down the risk factor

Ratcheting down the risk factor

Mitigating construction risk in a risky business
 Mike

Risk is a part of the job. Heavy equipment. Cumbersome materials. And let’s not forget the human factor. So how do you control risk? Stick to the Three C’s of Risk Mitigation: 1. Consistency 2. Coordination 3. Completeness. The third point, Completeness, is like it sounds. Your plans must be complete, thought out, and solid.

 Colin

I would classify construction risk into two categories: controllable and uncontrollable. When it comes to the uncontrollable, you can only do so much to affect factors like weather and the like. And a lot of the mitigation for uncontrollable risk is common sense, like rolling up the car windows when you borrow your business partner’s car. Isn’t that right, Mike?

 Mike

I said I was sorry – let it go. But Colin’s right. In construction, you control what you can, even the uncontrollable aspects like weather. Get the outside walls up before focusing on the inside so you seal the outside then work on the inside, leaving weather-related risk outdoors. Controllable risks are something else entirely because the ball is in your possession: if you fumble it, you’ve only got yourself to blame. So how do you control risk? You plan on it with The Three C’s of Risk Mitigation. I’ll let the fourth C explain these.

 Colin

To ensure consistency, ask if the plans are in accordance with the ultimate development vision or ideal. If the Developer thinks he’s getting stainless steel appliances, make sure he’s getting stainless steel appliances. Completeness is not rocket science–Leave something to chance and you leave yourself open to risk.

 Mike

Thanks Colin. I’ll tackle coordination. You’ve got a lot of moving parts on every job. Coordination is making them all work together as seamlessly as possible. Are the design trades and professionals coordinated with each other? For example, do the civil engineer’s plans jive with the architect’s view of where the building is going? It can be troublesome to sort out at times, but coordinating all the parts makes for a less risky whole.

 Colin

You’re right, Mike – risky wholes are no good. What is good are the benefits of mitigating risk: keeping projects on time, within budget, and completed safely. Stick to The Three C’s of Risk Mitigation and stick it to construction risk.

Want to learn more? Get in touch with Mike and Colin by leaving your comments below. Thanks for following along as they take on industry issues together!
No more, no less, just right

No more, no less, just right

Cutting out the cost-savings agreement
 Mike

The buck starts somewhere. When it gets to NorSouth Constructs, we handle it a little differently than our competitors, like the fact that we typically don’t do cost-savings agreements. It may sound weird, but that’s how we operate. And it works out for our clients, which is most important.

 Colin

From the get-go, we’re clear about our economic expectations on a deal. Our clients agree to our fee and it’s delineated in the schedule of values. Frankly that’s all we’re going for – no more, no less. It’s common in our industry for companies to enter into a cost-savings agreement. Some people need that, but not us.

 Mike

Some clients don’t get why we do business this way and wonder why we don’t build a cost-savings clause into our contracts. I recall one time, we were talking through contract terms with a client. I was asked what I wanted to do for the cost-savings clause and said, “It’s all your money, we’re not having it.” And he was a little dumbstruck by the thought of it.

 Colin

Just before I felt the need to check his pulse, I followed up with what Mike said by telling him that we would like our fee, and that’s that. It was then that he told us that he thought we’d work harder if we had an incentive. In the end, we did enter in a cost-savings agreement. But that said, the portion of buyout we were entitled to ended up going back to the owner to use for upgrades.

 Mike

Yeah, he couldn’t believe that either! We take pride in our jobs and don’t need anymore financial reinforcement than the fee we get when the job is done, and done well. The satisfaction of doing well is good enough of a motivator for NorSouth Constructs.

 Colin

That philosophy starts at the top with our leaders Bill Johnston and David Dixon, and it carries strongly throughout the whole organization. It’s like I often tell my kids, “Just do good, and if you don’t, then do better next time .”

  Want to learn more? Get in touch with Mike and Colin by leaving your comments below. Thanks for following along as they take on industry issues together!
It’s all about value

It’s all about value

Offering the industry a little something different
 Colin

Someone once said, “Money isn’t everything but it ranks right up there with oxygen.” That’s certainly true in our industry, at least as far as many companies are concerned. I’d like to argue that there’s something more important than cost when choosing a partner to build your development: value.

 Mike

I agree completely. NorSouth Constructs may or may not be the lowest price when you’re out shopping around and taking bids. But one thing is for sure: we’re absolutely convinced of and committed to making sure it is the right price. Too many businesses in our industry are interested in only showing developers a low number in order to get business. These are the things that we consider when placing our bid and sizing up a job. What that means is less trouble in the long run, and that translates into more value.

 Colin

We have to offer more than price. It’s in our pre-construction plan, which we don’t charge for. NorSouth gets involved when a development is just a concept – and that means working with architects, designers, engineers, etc. When done this way, we create a complete and consistent plan, which is nine times out of ten how you get to a no-change order arrangement.

 Mike

Plus, you have to realize that we’re using the same subtractors that our competitors use, so essentially, we’re talking about the same price point. What makes us different are the things you can’t necessarily stick with a price tag: people, culture, and processes. At the end of the day, that’s what drives our value and makes us the best choice.

Want to learn more? Get in touch with Mike and Colin by leaving your comments below. Thanks for following along as they take on industry issues together!

Analysis: Strong Demand Drives Top 25 GCs to New Heights

As published in MULTIFAMILY EXECUTIVE, April 14, 2014. Written by Lindsay Machak. Strong demand enabled many well-established general contractors (GCs) to have their pick of the litter last year, affording several among the MFE Top 25 GCs the luxury of expanding their reach. NorSouth Constructs, for example, found its footing ­by walking down a different path. Colin Edelstein, NorSouth’s director, says the company is branching out from its historical focus as an owner–developer, and just recently began taking on third-party projects. Edelstein joined the Savannah, Ga.–based company in 2011 to do just that: Help grow the firm’s presence in the development marketplace. “The goal then was to take this company with a tremendous track record and history and legacy and introduce them to the world as a legit option for third-party construction,” he says. And the tack paid off big, as the company earned the 18th spot on this year’s list ­after missing our rankings last year. NorSouth shifted from doing occasional third-party work for friends to conducting about 85 percent of its business as a third-party builder, Edelstein says. In 2013, the firm built 1,110 third-party units, half of which could be classified as affordable housing. The change in focus allowed the company to get reacquainted with Tennessee and Charlotte, N.C., two regions where NorSouth had been absent for nearly a decade. “We’ve been in lots of markets over time,” Edelstein says. “But considering that we’re kind of under this business model and new regime, we’re able to have opportunities that wouldn’t have necessarily been there before.” And as NorSouth Constructs works to build a name for itself as a general contractor, the team is choosing its projects carefully. “We’re not scared to turn down business,” ­Edelstein says. “We don’t want to be the biggest construction company in the world, and we’re not chasing deals for transactions and revenue—we’re building business around developing relationships and around those folks who will be the best.” Mixed-use, Solid Results Clark Builders Group also ventured into unknown territory last year, which helped the Arlington, Va.–based company secure the No. 2 spot on the Top GCs list. The company reported 3,771 starts in 2013, which included the world’s first-ever mixed-use urban Walmart location, says Keith Anderson, Clark’s president. The project, 77 H Street NW, is located in Washington, D.C., and features four floors of apartments in addition to the Walmart. The property opened in ­December of last year. Anderson says that being able to complete the project early and in a tight, tough, urban space is continuing to help Clark prove its worth in the industry. “When I think about this job … anytime we’re talking about our [experience and what] we’re able to do as a company … it answers a lot of questions,” Anderson says. “From a schedule standpoint, a complexity standpoint, dealing with a mega-size retailer—it’s definitely a project that speaks to our capabilities.” The company expects to complete another mixed-use Walmart location in the D.C. area this year. Selective Focus Meanwhile, Grapevine, Texas–based Rampart ­Con?struction opened a new office in the Atlanta area last year, marking its desire to expand in the Southeast region. Rampart broke ground on 2,200 units in 2013, and, although that was about 2,200 less than the previous year, the company stayed more than busy, focusing on existing relationships to land at No. 6 on the list. Taking on projects primarily for repeat clients is the company’s focus, according to Johnny Yates, Rampart’s vice president. “We’re not the type of contractor beating the bushes to find a deal and bid on everything that’s coming along,” he says. “We focus on repeat clients and relationships—not only with developers and owners, but also with architects, engineers, and subcontractors. Our culture is our philosophy.” The firm’s new Atlanta-area office will serve as a hub as the firm breaks ground in new markets, such as Chattanooga, Tenn. Yates also hopes to expand Rampart’s presence in Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia, Alabama, and Tennessee. “There are a lot of areas easily commuted to from [Atlanta] that are strong secondary markets,” Yates says. Still, Jacksonville, Fla.–based Summit Contracting Group reclaimed the top spot this year, after being bumped by Rampart last year. Summit had a big 2013, growing its pipeline 36 percent to 4,681 units, a more than 1,200-unit improvement over 2012.

NorSouth Constructs Named Top General Contractor

NorSouth Constructs has been named one of the top 25 General Contractors in the nation, according to MULTIFAMILY EXECUTIVE. Each year, MULTIFAMILY EXECUTIVE honors the industry’s best and brightest with its prestigious MFE Awards competition. This year, NorSouth Constructs was named the 19th best on MFE’s 2014 Top 25 General Contractors List. To view the full list, click here.
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