SG Blocks Seeks to Reinvent the Construction Industry
Design and build firm SG Blocks seeks to reinvent the construction industry. The construction company, founded in 2007 and headquartered in Brooklyn, has an unconventional business model that repurposes steel shipping containers as a building material. Chairman and CEO Paul Galvin is clear about the company’s objective. “Traditional construction, we believe, their days are numbered,” he said. SG Blocks has brought innovation to the construction industry in several ways.
Delivering Safer Buildings
Safe is what the S in the company’s name stands for. SG Blocks delivers on its name with steel buildings that are less vulnerable to severe weather than those made of wood or brick. Since these steel structures exceed the standards required by building codes in the United States, they are desirable in areas that prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes. SG Blocks is providing their prefabricated structures to Puerto Rico as the island seeks to rebuild after the devastation from Hurricanes Maria and Irma.
Providing Green Construction
The other letter in the firm’s name is for green. Buildings by SG Blocks are a green choice because they repurpose what had been a one-time use product, maritime shipping containers. According to Galvin, SG Blocks uses “about five percent of the carbon footprint to repurpose a container than it would take to scrap that container and do something else with it.” Since it is estimated that there are about 20 million maritime shipping containers in the world, the environmental impact of repurposing them could be significant.
Giving Greater Value to the Customer
SG Blocks has improved construction practices in three ways that benefit the consumer. First, the company’s construction is up to 50 percent faster than traditional. It takes about 90 days for SG Blocks to deliver a home to a customer. In addition, these shipping container buildings are about ten percent cheaper than a conventional structure. Finally, at the time of the original construction, the walls can be prepped for future expansion. This minimizes both cost and inconvenience for the customer who can expand the home with minimal disruption rather than move.
Expanding Opportunities for Underserved Populations
Another goal of SG Blocks is to help underserved populations achieve the American dream. As part of that initiative, the construction company has two unique partnerships. One seeks to expand home ownership in the Hispanic community. This year SG Blocks teamed up with Capital Plus, an organization that assists members of the Hispanic community in becoming first-time homeowners. The other collaboration seeks to increase business opportunities in communities of color. In that partnership, SG Blocks serves as the sole product supplier for Sequential Modular Partners, a minority-owned firm.