Uncover Built Inc.’s journey from residential projects to creative hospitality designs 

Built Inc Ltd, a subsidiary of the Built Hospitality Design Group, is a fully operational design-build firm based in California. Renowned for its unique process, the company translates concepts into beautifully designed spaces. Specializing in interior and brand design, Built Inc handles every aspect of the projects it works on, from the very first steps of the designing stage to the construction. Built Inc’s extensive portfolio of projects has evolved substantially since the company’s establishment in 1995. “At the time, we focused mainly on residential projects. It wasn’t until 2005 that we transitioned into hospitality by building our first nightclub for a client. This project opened the door to many more nightclub projects and shortly after, we began working on restaurants and hotels,” begins John Sofio, President.

Well equipped
While working on residential projects was gratifying, John explains why the shift to hospitality work was beneficial to Built Inc. “We realized that our clients in the hospitality sector were more professional and business-oriented than our residential clients who had a more emotional approach to the project as it involved their own homes. Thus, we were afforded a lot more creativity by working within the hospitality sector. There were certain things we could do in a nightclub or restaurant, which we couldn’t do in someone’s home. In other words, projects for residential clients had to align with their personal taste, whereas in hospitality spaces, we had more freedom to experiment and be fanciful. Besides, this type of work also focuses on schedule, which is a big advantage as it helps drive the project forward at a faster pace. So, instead of working on a client’s home for a year, we can complete a restaurant in a matter of months and get in and out of projects faster, enabling us to undertake more projects per year,” he says.

As a design-build firm, Built Inc. oversees every aspect of the project, which entails many steps and phases. “Typically, we handle the entire project from the initial concept and inception. Half of the time, this also includes the branding, while the rest of the time the client will come up with their own brand name. Next, we proceed to space planning and initial budgeting for the project, which then leads to the creation of interior design sets and architectural plans. Following that, we coordinate all the consultants’ work, such as the structural engineer and the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing team, and we execute the expediting of the permit. Once this is done, we can start working on the project based on the budget established during the initial phase. Throughout the project, our role is that of a general contractor. Additionally, we take responsibility for providing and installing all the furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FFE) as we have our own shops that produce these items.

“We have expanded our full-service package to cater to projects outside of California. Previously, we would handle the design work and the delivery and installation of FFE. The client would then need to hire a local general contractor. However, they won’t need to do so anymore as we now offer the complete service in cities like Miami, Dallas, Philadelphia, and New York,” adds John.

This full-service package is arguably a unique selling point for Built Inc. “Unlike most of our competitors, we are a true design build firm. What we found is that while our competition states that they are a design and construction firm, the reality is that they are either designers with a separate construction partner or they are contractors with an in-house designer. On the other hand, Built Inc. is totally in charge of the project. We handle both the design and construction, continuously refining the design throughout the construction process to make the project better as we go along. Therefore, I think this full control of the project sets us apart from other designers and contractors. Our passion for design is what drives us to get the most out of the project based on the budget. Meanwhile, other general contractors often try to get the most money out of the project and complete it as inexpensively as possible,” he affirms.

Continued growth
Whilst Built Inc expands into Philadelphia, Miami, and Dallas, it continues to uphold its popular business model in these regions. “In Philadelphia, we currently have several exciting projects in progress where we’ll be the general contractor as well as the designer. These include restaurants, a nightclub, and a wellness center. We also have an upcoming project in New York, and we’re preparing to work as the general contractor on a restaurant in Dallas through a collaboration with our West Hollywood-based client Delilah,” John ends.

Looking to the future, Built Inc is set on continuing its growth trajectory by expanding its global footprint to places like Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia. Nonetheless, the company remains dedicated to strengthening its position in the US by adhering to its successful business model.