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Katerra adds two GCs to its stable

UEB Builders and Fortune-Johnson General Contractors specialize in multifamily and mixed-used developments.

September 05, 2019 |

UEB Builders is constructing Union South Bay, a residential mixed-use complex in Carson, Calif., for which Katerra is providing materials and construction services. Katerra has acquired UEB and another GC, Fortune-Johnson General Contractors. Image: UEB Builders

Katerra, the Menlo Park. Calif.-based technology company that specializes in prefabricated construction services, is expanding that portfolio through its acquisition of UEB Builders and Fortune-Johnson General Contractors (F-J).

UEB is a GC that specializes in commercial and residential projects such as multifamily, student housing, mixed use, and institutional. UEB can now tap into Katerra’s sales network that includes 11 offices in the U.S. (three of which are in Arizona) and one in Guadalajara, Mexico.

“Katerra reflects what we both believe in,” says Michael Hurst, a Principal at UEB Builders. “A shared desire to find a better way to build for our partners and their communities.” Prior to this merger, UEB had worked with Katerra on a number of projects, including Union South Bay, a 357-unit midrise apartment development under-construction in Carson, Calif.

F-J, founded in 1991, focuses primarily on multifamily construction, but also engages a variety of building types including high-density mixed-use communities, garden-style apartments, senior living, and student housing.

F-J was awarded the 2018 Multi-Family Builder of the Year by the National Association of Home Builders.

Katerra did not disclose the terms of these acquisitions, nor provide specifics about how the businesses would be integrated into its operations, expect to note that through these partnerships, Katerra would gain further construction expertise that will allow the company to expand its geographical footprint across the United States. 

“Both companies share Katerra’s commitment to delivering increased value to customers by embracing technology and innovative methods,” says Michael Marks, CEO and co-founder of Katerra. 

And given that Katerra owns four architecture firms, it can now present itself to clients as a full-service provider of manufacturing, design, engineering, and construction.

Katerra is focused on speed-to-market construction through such tools as digital technology, offsite manufacturing, and fully integrated building teams. For example, a garden-style multifamily building might take 140 days to complete via conventional construction. In Las Vegas, Katerra initiated K90, an R&D project where it built a 24-unit garden apartment in 90 days, from framing to delivery, leaning heavily on modular and prefabrication for such repetitive areas as bathrooms.

To see a video about K90, click here.

UEB and F-J fall under the oversight of Paal Kibsgaard, who last month joined Katerra as its COO, a new position for the company. Kibsgaard had been chairman and CEO of Schlumberger Ltd., an oilfield services company. He has also served on Katerra’s board for three year.

Kibsgaard is now responsible for Katerra’s U.S. operations, including architecture, engineering, manufacturing, and construction. Kibsgaard is also responsible for international expansion, and the development of new construction technologies.


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