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Vancouver-based Nexii lands NY retail building contract

Fast-growing startup is building a series of retail rest stops along the New York State Thruway using an alternative to concrete – but it has hit legal headwinds in Ontario

Green construction company Nexii Building Solutions, based in Vancouver, has won a contract to manufacture 23 retail service buildings along the New York State Thruway using the company’s tilt-up concrete alternative panel system.

But the fast-growing private company has run into a licensing lawsuit in Ontario.

Nexii has completed 10 of the New York retail buildings so far. Each building is between 6,400 square feet and 14,800 square feet and made with Nexii panels using the company’s concrete alternative, Nexiite. The remaining retail centres will be completed by 2024.

“Nexii’s building solution requires fewer resources, produces near-zero on-site construction waste and significantly reduces end-to-end carbon emissions,” according to a company statement.

A preliminary life cycle assessment of Nexii’s panels compared to a equivalent concrete tilt-up design suggests a 36 per cent reduction in embodied carbon for Nexii’s envelope, the company claims.

Building panels for this project are manufactured at the Nexii plant in Hazleton, PA and rapidly assembled on-site.

The Hazleton plant, which opened earlier this year, is Nexii’s first manufacturing plant in the United States. The plant is currently producing more than 6,000 square feet of Nexiite panels each week, noted Stephen Sidwell, co-founder and CEO of Nexii.

Nexitte, a hard-surface proprietary material, “is our secret sauce,” said Gregor Robertson, the former mayor of Vancouver, who joined Nexii in 2018 as  executive vice-president of strategy and partnerships.

Robertson told Western Investor ”it basically replaces drywall on the inside and concrete or other siding on the outside of the building. Nexitte is fire and water resilient, like concrete, but it is lighter weight and has reduced carbon emissions.”

Buildings made with Nexiite use on average, one-third less energy overall, driven largely by a reduction in heating and cooling loads. Nexii’s building process also accelerates standard build times by up to 75 per cent and eliminates nearly all onsite construction waste, Robertson explained.

In B.C., Nexitte is best known for its use in the construction of fast-food restaurants, and for providing the building envelope for a 172-room Marriott hotel in Nanaimo in 2021.

The startup has expanded rapidly. Valued at $620 million last year, it raised more than $66 million through its first four rounds of funding. Nexii is building a new $50 million manufacturing plant on Vancouver Island and has plants in Squamish, B.C. and Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, as well as the Pennsylvania manufacturing facility. But an expansion into Ontario has resulted in a lawsuit.

On October 19, 2022, Symphony Advanced Building Technologies Inc.(SABT), which had signed up in 2019 to become Nexii’s first licensee for a manufacturing plant in Ontario, filed a lawsuit against Nexii. The civil action lawsuit alleges that Nexii engaged in extensive negotiations with SABT, and “once the agreement was signed, failed to provide SABT with a license agreement that incorporated the terms of the SABT/Nexiii agreement.”

Nexii denies the allegations.

“It is unfortunate that SABT pursued litigation,” the company said in an emailed statement to Western Investor. “ Nexii believes the claim has no merit and is confident in a just resolution. Nexii emphatically denies the allegations and will vigorously defend its case."

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

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