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Falkbuilt: designs for a changing world

By September 2023 edition of Business in Calgary, and Business in Edmonton 5 September 2023 5 min read

Falkbuilt is an innovator in interior construction, using technology to create efficient, sustainable, high performing and acoustically sound designs for commercial, office and healthcare spaces. The key is Digital Component Construction (DCC), which takes traditional construction practices and marries them with technology to design, create, ship and install with greater efficiency, accuracy and far less job site waste. DDC is empowered by Echo, a cloud-based technology that allows Falkbuilt to deliver products and services with exacting precision.

Mogens Smed, CEO, launched Falkbuilt in 2019.

“The reason we started this business is because of one word – technology,” says Smed. “Not just the technology we use to drive our solutions, but the technology that allowed us to take our business from $0 to $100 million in three years while doing installations in Antarctica, Germany, India, Chile and across North America.”

Smed continues, “Just 10 years ago AI, big data and even the cloud were not like they are today. The timing for Falkbuilt is really good; the innovations in the digital sphere allowed us to build a business very quickly and reliably. We have more than 20,000 pieces on the factory floor and we know exactly where each one is and what it does. That is unlike anything we could have done in the past.”

He further describes how technology has changed the construction industry, saying, “Falkbuilt is in the pre-fab business and pre-fab has been around since the early 1900s. However, until recently, pre-fab has not been scalable because of the cost of freight and the weight of the products. Now, instead of factory built and assembled on site, we use a digital component that is aligned with industry standards. The cloud allows us to create a seamless connection from design to final install. We are proud to be among the first to digitize conventional construction.”

Falkbuilt is proud to have recently completed a $2 million project for Mattamy Homes, one of Canada’s largest multi-family builders. Smed is also thrilled about the 11-floor project for Equitable Bank in Toronto.

Falkbuilt office space mock up

Digitizing interior construction

As much as Falkbuilt relies on technology to drive its success, it also relies on its people.

“The biggest reason for our success is the team of people and the culture we have here,” says Smed. “That is a fact that trumps technology. Work culture is everything.”

For Smed, it’s not just about stopping and enjoying the growth of the business. He wants to influence the entire industry, be ready for the future of construction and use that future to change the world.

“We need to be ready for the inevitable tsunami of business. We need to prep now for the growth that is coming and be extremely agile and in tune with the needs of our environment. This doesn’t feel like work to me – we are part of an idea. There have got to be ways to build better, more affordable homes. Calgary can’t accommodate all the people coming in and young adults can’t afford to buy a home. People want to be here but there is nowhere for them to live. Falkbuilt is part of, and driving, meaningful change.”

Change from within the company is evident, but far less obvious is Smed’s humble generosity. He is quietly helping to build the communities in which Falkbuilt operates. Just some of the causes and organizations Smed and Falkbuilt support include music, the arts and nature conservation.

Smed is adamant about supporting RESET Society of Calgary (formerly Servants Anonymous), which provides long-term housing, recovery and training programs for women and their children escaping human trafficking and sexual exploitation; Robin Hood Association’s Aspen Village, which provides 24/7 supports to seniors and adults who have disabilities and high or medically complex needs including end-of-life care and The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s marine wildlife efforts. Smed is perhaps most proud of being the first CEO in Calgary to sit on the board of directors for the Aids Calgary Awareness Association in the late 1980s. As AIDS started to spread in Calgary and homophobia, prejudice and discomfort about HIV grew, Smed was determined to lend his support and help reduce the stigma around AIDS. Most recently, he sat as a member of the Board of Directors for Sauschan Development Corporation, the economic arm of the Takla Nation in BC.

Mogens Smed, CEO, launched Falkbuilt in 2019

Mogens Smed, CEO of Falkbuilt

Although the company is just three years old, Falkbuilt has been recognized and awarded numerous times for its innovative work. The company is especially proud of its first big win, the 2019 ASID Design Impact Award at the Healthcare Design Expo + Conference in New Orleans. The award came on the heels of Falkbuilt’s record-fast installation at the tradeshow, going from crate to clean up in eight hours by assembling a full medical exam and dialysis room including ceiling track, electrical and glass telescoping doors.

Dreams of this size need support, and for Falkbuilt, that support came from ATB.

“They have been absolutely delightful,” Smed says of partnering with ATB. He pauses to laugh, “There is definitely a bias! This is the first local bank I have dealt with since 1982! My previous businesses had to rely on American banks or the big banks of the past. That has always been a very tenuous relationship because they are not in touch with their clients. ATB, on the other hand, looked at how we run the business, its potential and our belief in doing what we say we are going to do. They have been different from any other bank – in a good way. ATB has done a wonderful job of staying in touch and growing with us.”

Smed concludes, “The future of this industry is not up to us. It’s for the rest of the world to catch on to what we are doing. This should be the way to build and we are proving that you can manufacture in Calgary and compete around the world with the help of technology. There is nothing complicated about it. In fact, it becomes easier and easier.”

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From the September 2023 edition of Business in Calgary, and Business in Edmonton. Shared with permission.

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