“We are confident this agreement with Xpera will strengthen the firm and position it as a regional leader in San Diego County,” Hickey said.
Bumgardner said he could understand Roel’s move to focus on its contracting business, since the worlds of contracting and consulting have their own separate challenges.
“It’s like juggling bowling balls and BBs — it’s two completely different businesses,” he said.
A 33-year industry veteran, Bumgardner started Xpera in 2009 after leaving the local construction consulting firm Gafcon, where he was a partner and worked in management roles for 16 years.
He called his company’s arrangement with Roel, which came together in the past two months and was finalized in early April, a “great fit” because Xpera had been looking for some time to broaden its offerings.
Bumgardner said changes in the industry have made it harder for smaller operators to function in the world of construction forensics. Much of the work is paid for by large insurance companies that may take many months to pay their experts.
Also, banks have been cutting off lines of credit for small consulting businesses, and changes in the way projects are insured have made it more desirable and cost-effective to hire a complete coordinated expert team for major cases.
The Xpera founder said diversifying services, with an eye toward the next wave of new construction, will help the company withstand cyclical changes in the construction industry in the long run.
“Lots of people figure out at the start of their business that this is what I’m going to do and only that, and then the market changes and they don’t know what to do,” he said. “We decided we’re going to make some adjustments now. That way when the market changes, we’ll be ready for it.”