Level 5 Inc. Takes on Northern California
The company, with its senior staff combining more than 200 years of industry experience, has seen a 300 percent growth, and forecast that it will maintain that growth through the coming year as well.
Level 5 specializes in interior and exterior metal framing assemblies, including drywall, insulation, firestopping, lath and plaster.
Gordon Perry, senior estimator and senior project manager and new father, says the most interesting part of the company is “building something that will be around for many years to come.”
The company is an active member of the Wall and Ceiling Alliance in Northern California.
By filling a market niche in Northern California, Level 5 prides its diverse staff on being experts at design build systems, structural load bearing, mixed use, exterior, unique applications and tenant improvement, which has been embraced by the industry.
With market conditions in the Bay Area being considered “hot,” Level 5 has been able to have enough work for most of the local contractors to get their share.
“The greatest challenge is maintaining a level of excellence during our phenomenal growth,” says Perry.
With 150 employees, the company’s long-term goal is sustainability for its customers, employees and all of the stakeholders. The ultimate goal is doing great work for their customers and being a great spot for its employees to work.
Taking steps in preparing for the bad days now is one of the things to admire about this company.
“If you wait for the hard times, it’s too late. We’re preparing for the lean days now,” says Perry.
The Harry Winston Project
Level 5 Inc. won’t turn down a challenge, and the Harry Winston project was just that.
The Harry Winston owners chose a 112-year-old historic building that survived the Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906.
The building tasked Level 5 with not only the metal stud, drywall and Level 5 taping finish, but also included the historic Scagnoli finish on its 22-foot interior columns, glass fiber reinforced gypsum and glass fiber reinforced concrete cover trims used throughout this ornate three-story interior masterpiece. It was a large job that also included scaffolding, lath and plaster, t-bar ceilings, fiber-reinforced plastic, lockers, raised flooring, fireproofing, bathroom accessories and challenging security designs.
Our steel stud industry’s flexibility was challenged,” says Perry. “We used every size and gauge available with plans created to satisfy the design challenge. We worked multiple steps above three-story staircases on ceilings that had 112-year-old concrete with radiuses as tight as 10 inches. With weekly design meetings, we were able to meet the architect’s strict requirements.”
Gruen and Associates Architecture was the architect on the project in conjunction with Build Group Inc. of San Francisco, who both worked with the building owner.
The suppliers and sub-tier partners were equally challenged and helped get the project complete. Those suppliers and partners were Evergreen Historic, O’Donnell Plastering, SF Interiors, GC Products, Custom Scaffold and FBM was the primary metal stud/drywall distributor.
The primary manufacturers on the project were PABCO for the drywall materials and CEMCO for the metal framing materials.
Much of the project was completed with traditional drywall and framing materials. The framing materials varied greatly for the variety of conditions.
“GC Products, who formed and supplied many of the molded shapes and products, was a major manufacturer in pulling off the desired look,” says Perry. “Although many of the products on the site were not too out of the ordinary, it was the installation and more than 100-year-old structure which really forced us to work some magic to make everything work.”
The design team stated to all the subcontractors at the first preconstruction meeting, “We want you to understand, you are building a Lamborghini here and anything less won’t be accepted.”
“That was a pretty intimidating statement at the time, but with all the materials and efforts we were able to deliver a beautiful project,” says Perry.
The company desires and appreciates its ability to take on complex projects with unclear paths.
“We are good at guiding our area of a project to the starting line, through the stretch, and into the finish line,” says Perry.
As a company that isn’t afraid to take on anything, they pride themselves on the quality, service and just being good people to work with.
“We intend on actively chasing many of these great projects for our clients [in the future],” says Perry.