In February, a drive-through Starbucks was opened in Abbotsford, British Columbia, showed up in six days. The energy-efficient building (pictured above) was constructed by the Canadian construction technology company Nexii.
Five months later, Nexii announced that it had acquired Vancouver-based Omicron – one of Canada’s largest design and construction companies. Now the contractor is expanding its base by building factories in Canada and the eastern United States
As Modular continues to make waves for increasingly commercial project types, Construction Dive spoke to Gregor Robertson, Executive Vice President of Strategy and Partnerships at Nexii to learn more about the company and its history.
CONSTRUCTION DIVE: Tell us about the Nexii system.
GREGOR ROBERTSON: Nexii products are precision engineered and quickly assembled on site, which requires fewer resources, reduces CO2 emissions from buildings, produces far less waste and shortens construction times compared to current construction methods. When we worked with Starbucks to build their new British Columbia café, we reduced the store’s carbon footprint by around 30% and completed the on-site airtight shell assembly in just six days.
Nexii’s proprietary material, Nexiite, used in our construction panels has properties comparable to concrete but does not contain Portland cement or lime, which significantly reduces CO2 emissions from Nexii buildings. Nexii panels ensure a highly insulated, airtight building envelope, which significantly improves the energy efficiency of a building and thus significantly reduces the climate impact from ongoing building operations.
Thanks to the combination of clean manufacturing, flat pack transport and on-site assembly, Nexii has almost zero construction waste. We continue to invest in research and development to completely avoid waste from our processes.
The construction industry is confronted with a shortage of manpower and materials. How does the modular structure help?
The increased demand combined with low productivity and challenges in recruiting skilled workers is exacerbated by the need for sustainable building solutions that are resistant to climate change.
We are able to deploy smaller construction teams on site and control every aspect of our supply chain, which means that the shortage of skilled workers and materials does not affect Nexii as badly as conventional construction projects.
Where are your factories and planned factories in the US?
We announced eight manufacturing facilities across North America – five in Canada: Moose Jaw, Squamish, Alberta, Toronto, Vancouver Island, and three in the United States: Hazleton, Pennsylvania; Pittsburgh; and Louisville, Kentucky.
We have many other assets in development with potential licensees in key US markets. Our ambitious growth plans were recently supported by several high profile partnerships – These include naming Honeywell and Trane as exclusive construction technology providers, working with JLL to identify additional Nexii certified manufacturers across North America, and recently acquiring Omicron Canada, an award-winning design, development and engineering company.
Which clients and clients do you work with?
As we continue to expand, we work with a number of key partners on our projects. So far we have some well-known partners like PEG Companies with whom we are working to supply the outer building envelope for the Marriott Hotel on Vancouver Island.
We have a number of projects in the works that will demonstrate the versatility of Nexiite and Nexii Building Solutions, and some examples of our ongoing work include Starbucks, Marriott Hotels, Drive-Through and Dine-in Restaurants – including Popeyes and A&W restaurants – and a retail bank. In addition, our new Nexii plant in Pittsburgh will be built entirely with Nexii products based on the Nexii system.