Light Speed

Being based in the heart of innovation-oriented Silicon Valley, Level 10 honed its problem-solving abilities early on by working on projects for like-minded fast-track tech firms.

“Here, speed to market is everything,” Giles says. “Companies are in growth mode, and they need these facilities in a short period of time. So it’s essential to create a good design and schedule collaboration with the architect and owner.”

Such was the case with Menlo Park biotechnology firm CS Bio Co., which hired Level 10 for a headquarters renovation and expansion project that includes a three-story addition and an 11,700-sq-ft peptide manufacturing facility with 7,400 sq ft of clean room space.

“We were growing faster than expected, but Level 10 adjusted well to changes in design,” says Jason Chang, CS Bio’s vice president of operations. He credits Level 10 for keeping a firm handle on project costs as improving market conditions began pushing demand for trade services upward.

“Some of the subs wanted to change their bids or assign different people to the project,” Chang says. “Level 10 said no, insisting that the subs provide the personnel promised at the original bid price. They took ownership of the process.”

David Koury, vice president of real estate and site operations for digital storage developer HGST, admits to having reservations about Level 10’s explosive growth when searching for a contractor for two new buildings totaling 252,000 sq ft at its San Jose campus.

“As soon as we got to the interview, those concerns were put aside,” Koury says. “We saw they had recruited the right people we wanted to work with.”

Koury says he was impressed with Level 10’s adaptability when $10 million of underground utility relocation work was unexpectedly added to the project at the last minute to ensure that HGST’s microelectronics manufacturing center would remain operational after construction began.

“Level 10 immediately staffed up as if the relocations were part of the original scope of work,” Koury says. “They worked seven days a week and through holidays so that they could access the building site and start the foundations as soon as possible. It was high stakes for them and for us.”

Giles says Level 10 thrives on tackling projects with complex issues and difficult sites. For example, 181 Freemont features piles as deep as 264 ft, a 3-ft-thick mat slab and a five-level basement on a site surrounded by other large-scale construction projects, including the Transbay Transit Center. And, at Stanford University, tight schedule demands allowed just 12 weeks to renovate the 135,000-sq-ft, seven-wing Florence Moore Hall dormitory.