Bill Keslar founded Building Solutions in the depths of the 1980s real estate crisis. With decades of experience in real estate development and property management, Keslar saw that an increasing number of investors and real estate managers were faced with tough problems and needed business-minded technical leadership to solve them.
In 1990, millions of square feet of developed real estate were on the market. Smart buyers needed skilled technical advisors to help them avoid pitfalls of hidden physical defects and determine the true value of real estate assets. Investors and asset managers brought in Building Solutions to complete due diligence assessments designed to help them acquire property at a fair price with full understanding of capital improvement and repair needs.
Over the first few years in business, Building Solutions became a market leader in real estate due diligence across the southwestern United States. The team broke away from the traditional model of having a single, relatively inexperienced general inspector perform a property inspection - "a kid and a clipboard" - by establishing a team of experienced professional specialists collaborating under a project manager with experience as a developer and operator.
This model brought together several key elements:
• The highest level of technical knowledge
• In-depth investigation and reports designed to assist future operations, as well as support the transaction
• Practical recommendations and market-savvy assessment
• Responsiveness, to meet transaction timing demands
During the early 1990’s, Building Solutions also worked for portfolio managers and institutions seeking to stabilize and dispose of thousands of real estate assets. Working for the sellers, Building Solutions business assessments guided the disposition process for millions of square feet of distressed real estate.
During the boom years of the 1990’s through 2001, a significant share of the company’s activity has involved assistance on transactions for real estate investors. The company was also selected for major development projects and complex redevelopments, often for existing investor clients. Some involved correcting major flaws caused by predecessors and entailed extremely delicate situations, such as restarting projects with failed development partnerships, bankrupt contractors, or renegotiating difficult situations with municipal officials.
In 1995, Building Solutions was invited by a major real estate client serving on the board of the Episcopal School of Dallas to represent that school in negotiating an insurance claim for roofing damage sustained in a storm. One project led to another at ESD, and later many other similarly accredited schools in the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS) sought Building Solutions services.
In 1998, a prominent business officer, then serving at Greenhill School, hired Building Solutions for a campus assessment. With this project, the Building Solutions Facility Audit product was born. It has since become the 'gold standard' for independent school campus assessments in the Southwest and is now emerging as a market innovator in other regions, By 2005, Building Solutions served over half of the ISAS schools, and many in other accrediting organizations and regions.
Many schools consider the audit an essential financial planning tool that gives “facilities” a voice in the school's allocation of resources and a guide for establishing priorities and achieving constant improvement of campus operations. Today, many major facility audit clients now have Building Solutions update portions of the audit annually, as they strive for constant improvements in efficiency, energy conservation, and quality of school environment.
As relationships developed with school clients, they have naturally entrusted their major capital programs and new development to Building Solutions. As the school’s plant expert, Building Solutions has first hand knowledge of the school’s needs and the physical development issues that make them a natural project leader.
Today, Building Solutions continues to provide due diligence, facility audits and capital project leadership for new construction projects. The team has also gained significant traction in the new field of sustainability advising. In fact, Building Solutions is a leading consulting firm in the Southwest when it comes to advising owners and architects on LEED. In the first two years of the LEED for Schools program, they were involved in 10 buildings, including the first registered project in Texas. Today, they are supporting schools and commercial property owners in attaining improved energy efficiency, achieving Energy Star and LEED O+M certifications, and in developing sustainability strategies.