San Diego Business Journal

Construction Consulting Firm Builds Foundation

LAW: Solana Beach Company Acquires Assets From Roel By Lou Hirsh Monday, April 16, 2012

Xpera Group, a Solana Beach-based construction consulting firm, has doubled its size by acquiring certain assets of San Diego’s Roel Consulting Services Inc.

Financial terms were not disclosed. But Ted Bumgardner, founder and president of the three-year-old Xpera, said the acquisition grew his team to more than 60 employees and contract consultants, adding about 150 active work assignments in forensic and pre-construction consulting.

Xpera has opened a second office in Rancho Bernardo to house the transitioning team coming over from Roel, and is considering setting up a third office in the San Francisco Bay area, possibly this year, to handle rising statewide demand for its litigation and insurance-related consulting services.

For much of its brief history, Xpera said it has thrived in the world of construction forensics, where seasoned experts testify in court cases stemming from construction-defect and related lawsuits. Much of its work is done on behalf of defendants — most of whom are residential builders, though some cases involve commercial projects — and it is sometimes hired by plaintiff’s attorneys.

In addition to attorneys, Xpera’s witness services team serves insurance companies, property owners, contractors and others needing professional technical expertise.

“The people who do this kind of consulting tend to be the most experienced and senior in this industry, and they are heavily credentialed,” Bumgardner said. “Their credibility in a court case is very important.”

Diversifying Its Workload

With the acquisition now complete, Bumgardner said his firm will next look to gradually diversify its workload and increase its presence in pre-construction consulting and planning, advising the builders of projects as the economy recovers.

“Construction litigation has been somewhat of a counter-recessionary business due to the typical time it takes between when something is built and when it is litigated, and we are still litigating the boom,” Bumgardner said, referring to the 2004-2006 period when California and the nation saw an explosion in new single-family housing developments.

“We foresee construction litigation slowing down as we move into litigating the bust,” he added.

The Roel consulting operation was formerly part of Roel Construction Inc., which last year was acquired by Boston-based Suffolk Construction Co. Inc. and is now known as Suffolk-Roel.

The local Roel office is now focused primarily on general contracting services, and it will remain a consulting client of Xpera.

A Good Fit

“Roel Consulting Services and Xpera have had a strong working relationship for years and our teams have always had a tremendous amount of respect for each other, so this agreement was a natural fit for everyone involved,” said Wayne Hickey, president and general manager of Suffolk-Roel, in a statement.

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