Taking Commercial Construction to the Next LEVEL

LEVEL Construction

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LEVEL Construction is a one-stop shop commercial construction company founded in April of 2005 by a team of architects, business managers and operations experts. From the very beginning, the company leadership intended to offer a full suite of commercial construction services at competitive pricing.
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In order to keep costs down while maintaining the highest possible level of quality, LEVEL Construction focused on structuring the operation to work with very lean teams and very lean processes. LEVEL opened two locations simultaneously in Houston, Texas and Chicago, Illinois, and continues to work in those markets to this day.

Having locations in Houston and Chicago enables the company to work in two highly profitable markets. Combining these two offices, LEVEL has a full-time staff of just over 60 people, and an additional 20 contract and part-time project-specific staff members. The company has seen consistent growth and significant success in both markets, and as a result has won numerous coveted awards. Twice, in 2014 and 2015, LEVEL has been awarded the Houston Business Journal’s “Fast 100” award given to the top 100 fastest growing companies in Texas. The company has also been named one of Crain’s Magazine’s fastest 50 growing companies twice, and one of Inc 5000’s fastest growing companies in America. These accolades are a testament to LEVEL’s reputation and to the quality of work it performs for clients.

At LEVEL Construction, the leadership understands the value of having a close team, and that quality work arises organically from groups of people who enjoy working together. In order to encourage a culture of collaboration, the company frequently takes employees on after-work outings. “When it’s work time, everyone’s geared to perform and we’re really focused on what needs to get done,” says Saim Salahuddin, Vice President of Business Development at LEVEL. “And as we successfully complete projects we like to have fun and celebrate our staff who work hard for our clients every day.”

This focus on a culture of positivity and connectedness has enabled LEVEL to build a workforce who are engaged, invested, and truly committed to the work they do. LEVEL can rely on its team members because its team members have learned that they can rely on the company. “Everybody is a part of the team; everyone has ownership skin in the game. Our focus is on working as a team rather than on individual accomplishments,” says Salahuddin. Building relationships internally makes for a closer, more connected workforce, which results in high productivity and the highest possible quality.

LEVEL’s company motto is ‘100 percent commitment to customer satisfaction’. This philosophy is held throughout every aspect of the business, extending from the quality of the work to the company’s ability to deliver on the client’s timeline at a competitive price. Helping the client achieve their goals by taking the time to understand them and working hard to meet and exceed their expectations has enabled LEVEL to build a reputation for reliability. “We really try to be an asset and a resource for our clients,” says Salahuddin. “Rather than it being a transactional relationship, we like to grow with their success. If we do a good job for them they’ll be happy to use us again and again.” Creating long-lasting business relationships is the priority on every job at LEVEL.

One of the key ways in which LEVEL sets itself apart from the competition is through the implementation of a suite of leading edge software tools to design and manage construction projects. During the pre-construction phase of complex projects the company builds detailed 3D models and graphic renderings of the building. This is a very useful approach as it allows LEVEL to take a detailed look at the project before construction even begins, giving them the data necessary to make early decisions that will reduce costs and minimize potential costs in the long run. This enables the company to design a game plan in unprecedented detail before breaking ground, and provide a better service at a lower cost for the client.

Beyond the pre-construction phase, the company uses an advanced construction management system called Procore to manage every aspect of the project from initial bidding to managing documents, tracking material, scheduling, accounting, and more throughout the life of the build. Procore is a piece of software designed by industry professionals to enable an unprecedented level of collaboration and efficiency through the use of standardized procedures. This eases interactions between architects, design and construction teams, and administrative and management personnel. Every project is logged and thoroughly reported on in order to ensure satisfaction and total peace of mind for the client.

Indeed, LEVEL has focused a great deal of effort on structuring itself and training its team to take innovative, tech-forward approaches to construction. Operating in this way gives the company a major market advantage over more traditional firms that do not have the ability to plan at the same level of detail. The more planning that goes into a project, the more it can be engineered to bring the best possible value to the client.

Working at the cutting edge and embracing these new high-tech procedures can be expensive; costly software is required and training employees to use it is not cheap, but LEVEL sees the value in these investments. The company is committed to growing with whatever technological innovations arise. Process engineering is a big part of the business model, and the company is constantly evolving and bettering its construction management processes. Setting itself apart in this way has enabled LEVEL to become a standout company in the Chicago and Houston markets as a result.

To be sure, LEVEL Construction is proud to be among the most respected retail, hospitality and healthcare construction firms in the regions in which it operates. Recently, the company completed the Holiday Inn in Evanston, Illinois. The project was completed early and maximized the client’s cost savings. On another recent project, the Community Bank of Oak Park, Illinois, LEVEL worked with the client to build a very unique and modern space quite unlike any other bank in the region. In Houston, the company just completed the Avalon assisted living facility, the most high-end facility for the most prestigious assisted living provider in the area. The company is about to complete the Sumomaya restaurant in Houston, a very modern space for a very upscale, trendy Asian restaurant.

These are just some examples of recent projects that LEVEL has worked on and they reflect the capacity for the company to exceed client expectations at every opportunity. They also are a testament to the company’s reputation for quality work; having been selected to work on these ambitious spaces requires a level of trust that LEVEL has earned over years of dedicated service. This reputation has landed level some very prominent clients including Burger King, KFC, Popeye’s, Dunkin Donuts, Papa John’s, Baskin Robbins, YMCA, BP Gas Stations, Hilton, Hyatt Hotels, Marriott, and more. Some of the biggest companies in the world have trusted LEVEL to work on their projects.

LEVEL Construction is unique among its many competitors. In an industry full of traditional companies, LEVEL is lean, committed to the cutting edge of technological innovation, and constantly engineering its own processes in order to become more efficient, more productive and, as a result, pass cost savings on to customers without sacrificing quality. The LEVEL Construction team is a mix of industry veterans who have worked 40 years in construction and young innovators that bring new ideas and creativity to projects. The company’s ultimate goal is to deliver successful projects to clients on time and on budget, and its portfolio is a shining résumé that reflects the firm’s capacity to do this consistently.

90 percent of LEVEL’s current customers are repeat customers, something that is uncommon among construction firms and reflects LEVEL’s reputation for quality work. “It says a lot for the kind of service and dedication we provide,” says Salahuddin. “We run our business by putting our integrity and our customers first. That’s our secret to being able to grow successfully every year.”

More than Money

Attracting and retaining the best and brightest employees is a catch-22 of the construction industry. The best and brightest want to work for companies with stellar reputations, but companies achieve outstanding reputations only when they can attract and retain the best and brightest. We asked some of the successful companies we have interviewed what they are doing to recruit and retain. Here is what we found out.

October 17, 2018, 11:06 AM EDT