Jacob Bros Construction
With a passion for construction, Jacob Bros provides its clients with a hands-on approach to general contracting. This may be something quite unique in today’s construction industry, but it is the only way Scott, Todd and Jason Jacob understand the construction business — providing value, quality execution, and the best service and solutions possible under the trademark of ethical business dealings. It is these values that helped them to build strong relationships in the industry, and gain a strong reputation across Western Canada.
The story of Jacob Bros Construction started in 2008 when the Jacob brothers realized that bringing together their varied fields of construction expertise – residential construction, public and commercial buildings construction, project management, and infrastructure construction – could create a unique company that could offer broader lines of service and compete across various construction niches rather than focusing on a single niche as most construction companies do.
“One day we started a discussion, and we realized that on the surface we had very different backgrounds and really we weren’t compatible in doing the same thing, but the ultimate realization was that every infrastructure project has a structural component to it, and every building project has a earthworks component to it, so in fact the diversification of the varied experience offers some synergies,” said Todd Jacob.
Scott, the eldest of the Jacob brothers, brought onboard expertise in municipal infrastructure, with experience working with the Ministry of Transportation, building highways, airports, bridges, marinas, etc. Todd, the middle brother, has the experience in building construction and experience in construction management and design process, focusing his career on building public buildings such as healthcare and commercial projects; Jason, the youngest brother, run his own construction company, providing construction contracting services to subdivision and infrastructure projects on Vancouver Island, and it was his company that became the backbone of Jacob Bros.
The strength behind the company is in the active involvement of the three brothers in the daily operation and project execution of the company projects. With the various inner synergies and ownership of a large fleet of modern equipment, Jacob Bros Construction performs much of the contract work, which allows for better control over the construction process, schedules, quality and cost of the work, while taking on full accountability for the projects.
“If you ask me about our competitors, I would have to think about that, because we have a lot of competitors, but there aren’t many companies that approximate us and that we always come up against in project bids. We have a competitive advantage in diversification.” — Todd Jacob, Principal
To remain competitive and to preserve its synergies, the company continually reinvests in its equipment, staying current and satisfying the ever-changing demands of the vast variety of projects. The equipment ownership and experience also gives the company the opportunity to rent its equipment (along with its experienced operators) to third party contractors, and also offer personnel and equipment for traffic control during projects.
The heart of the Jacob Bros business lies in strong industry business relationships that it has built over the years, and it is these relationships married with the company’s dedicated staff that drive Jacob Bros’ success today. “Our business philosophy is centred around relationships–relationships with our clients, consultants, subcontractors and our employees. We don’t pursue projects, we pursue relationships,” says Jacob.
“If you ask me about our competitors, I would have to think about that, because we have a lot of competitors, but there aren’t many companies that approximate us and that we always come up against in project bids. We have a competitive advantage in diversification.”
To foster relationships the company is an active member of an extensive list of associations such as BC Road-builders and Heavy Construction Association (with Scott Jacob the Chair since 2012), Independent Contractors and Business Owners Association where Scott Jacob takes a place as a member of the Board of Directors; besides these, Jacob Bros Construction is a member of the Canadian Construction Association (CCA), British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA), Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA), Canadian Veteran Association (CAV; with Scott Jacob as a member of the Board of Directors); Island Equipment Owners, Independent Power Producers BC, and Surrey Board of Trade.
The company values lie in pride of the work they do, and passion for winning not just projects, but also the hearts of its clients through effective communication, unshattered integrity and ethics that guide each and every company decision, as well as the culture of innovation that also runs deep with the Jacob Bros.
Jacob Bros would not reach their success of today if it wasn’t for entrepreneurship and prudent risk taking that helped them grow, and the management trio encourages and rewards this attitude of managed risk with its employees as well, empowering and growing new talent for the company and growing its future.
As soon as the brothers came together, the economy took a turn for the worse, facing a market where most of the new projects and new work dried up overnight. The downturn forced and immediate shift for Jacob Bros, turning from private construction projects towards public infrastructure. “We are certainly thankful to our diversification for that period, and diversification has become a strategic focus for us. Today, we are quite pleased that we were able to penetrate various parts of the market,” says Jacob.
With offices on Vancouver Island, Surrey and Edmonton, the company provides services right across Western Canada – B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and even Manitoba, and the company diversification and synergies dictate a very varied mix of construction projects.
When it comes to the infrastructure projects, the reality of this construction segment is such that the government is singularly focused on the bottom line, seeking to get the bottom dollar on each project. “The mandate of the government in regard to infrastructure always focuses on the lowest cost. That’s why we prefer working with private or semi-private owners where we can build a relationship and negotiate the best value, not the best price,” says Jacob.
“Granville St. runs through downtown Vancouver. It’s the heart of the Vancouver’s entertainment district, so with this location the project received big public exposure and it helped us develop a significant profile in the marketplace,” Todd Jacob, Principal
Although even the company prefers private projects, it was a mixed infrastructure project that become the most significant for Jacob Bros, because it brought the company name to the forefront of Vancouver construction. Jacob Bros took on the construction of redesigned ten block stretch of Granville Street in the heart of Vancouver. The repair and a redesign stretched from the north end of the Drake Street to Cordova Street, and the construction included new paving, lighting, street furniture, trees and civic space for events.
“Granville is an extremely busy street, and the project had many aspects to it, so it was very challenging from the logistics side, and of a daunting scope and complexity, but the challenge paid off with a beautiful result. Granville St. runs through downtown Vancouver. It’s the heart of the Vancouver’s entertainment district, so with this location the project received big public exposure and it helped us develop a significant profile in the marketplace,” says Jacob.
The company’s most recent private sector project is managing the construction of Crystal Blu, a new 20 storey high rise in downtown Vancouver. This development project includes 106 condo units on the top 12 floors of the building, 75 hotel and dormitory units on lower levels, and three storeys of commercial retail space.
The hands-on aspect is part of our trademark, it’s the reason why our clients like us, and it’s true to our passion — we are builders, not accountants. We seek ways to add value, not to increase the bottom line. Construction is what we like to do.” Todd Jacob, Principal
While the company faces stiff competition, there is also a continuous influx of new projects coming into the picture in the busy B.C. real estate market, so the company continues to thrive. In May, contractors across Canada took out building permits worth $7.3 billion, up 4.5 per cent from April, and the total value of building permits continued the upward trend for five consecutive months. Residential sector permit values increased by 4.2 per cent to $4.6 billion. This advance followed a 21.6 per cent gain in April and was the third consecutive monthly increase. In the non-residential sector, the value of building permits rose five per cent to $2.8 billion. In 2012, the City of Vancouver alone issued a total of 6,758 building permits valued at nearly $2.6 billion (excluding demolition).
And while the construction markets in Canada continue to grow steadily, Jacob Bros Construction does not intend to grow by leaps and bounds, rather to grow organically by suitable increments. This is due to their desire to continue with their hands-on approach, always remaining personally involved in each and every project.
“We are of an appropriate size to our aspirations. The three of us are very connected to our work, and we want to remain that way. The hands-on aspect is part of our trademark, it’s the reason why our clients like us, and it’s true to our passion — we are builders, not accountants. We seek ways to add value, not to increase the bottom line. Construction is what we like to do,” concluded Jacob.