E&S Construction Engineers is recognized for its innovative and challenging projects throughout the United States. In 2019, Construction in Focus profiled the company’s successful balance of culture, engineering, and architecture in an award-winning redevelopment project in Honolulu that required the incorporation of revered heritage trees.
Since then, E&S has celebrated its 40th anniversary and has been hard at work on a number of new, noteworthy projects. We sat back down with Principal Kevin Braughton and he filled us in on the exciting details.
The Hanover, Maryland-based firm has been in business since 1982, when the original partners, Erwin Everett and Robert Stearns, founded the company, lending their initials to the name. “At that time in ‘82, we were just a small regional consulting firm,” says Braughton. The humble startup grew steadily and, in 1992, the company reincorporated as E&S Construction Engineers Incorporated and began offering a larger range of services.
The next major milestone came in 2002, when new partners William Kingsland and Allen Poist assumed day-to-day firm operations. Braughton joined the partnership in 2015 and, in May of last year, E&S achieved its 40-year benchmark.
This history culminates in the opening of a brand new, state-of-the-art office in February of this year, after operating out of the same location for nearly four decades. The relocation was timed perfectly. “We moved in as a recognition of our 40th anniversary,” Braughton says. And the relocation isn’t just a surface-level change; the new space is a “completely different concept in the way we do business.”
Staying in business for 40 years isn’t easy. Braughton credits the team’s conscientiousness as a key factor in the company’s ongoing success. “We’re a white glove, high-touch consulting firm who really takes care and custody of our customers’ projects as if they were our own. We like to spend our clients’ money like it’s ours. And through that approach and being service-oriented and really nurturing our clients, it’s just led to a lot of repeat business. In fact, much of our business is through existing customers, some of which we’ve been doing business with for 40 years,” he says.
E&S delivers a comprehensive range of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) design and construction management services, from project conception all the way through to commissioning. These high-quality services cover multiple markets, including retail, entertainment, restaurant, mixed-use, indoor agriculture, industrial, assisted living, multifamily, hospitality, education, and more. Several recent projects and benchmarks showcase the team’s expertise.
In April 2021, for example, E&S was awarded a Master Service Agreement to provide MEP design services for all Mid-Atlantic Starbucks projects.
E&S also designed the $45 million renovation for Baltimore, Maryland’s iconic Lexington Market. Over 200 years old, this historic site is the oldest continuously operated market in the United States. The project included the planting of more than 500 trees and plants along the public plaza adjoining the market.
Owned and operated by the Whitman Family Development, Bal Harbour Shops is South Florida’s premier high-end luxury shopping center. E&S designed, and is currently building, a $550 million expansion and renovation, which will add approximately 250,000 square feet of gross leasable area (GLA). Restrictions on the project site add an extra challenge.
“There’s not a lot of real estate for supporting activities,” Braughton explains. “So there are a lot of logistical challenges in managing contractor flow, material and delivery flow, the sequence in which things are constructed and demolished. The phasing of the project is [such that] we had to build a new parking garage in order to demolish the existing parking garage and build the expansion within the footprint of the old deck that’s being demoed. That’s the arrangement on-site and how they’re achieving the additional square footage.” The project is scheduled for completion in November 2025.
Currently, the company is working on two indoor agricultural facilities. One of them—a 180,000-square-foot state-of-the-art indoor cultivation and processing center—will utilize LED lighting technologies and leachate reclamation. “Essentially, that’s runoff,” says Braughton. “When the plants are irrigated and the irrigation runs through the soil medium, it’s collected and it goes down a series of drains. We catch all of that in a storage tank, and then we treat it, and then we’re able to reuse it for irrigation again.”
Leachate reclamation is often underutilized, making its incorporation particularly significant. “It is unusual in that not many people employ this approach because it’s cost-prohibitive in the initial infrastructure,” Braughton says. “But over the course of operating the facility, it saves the client a tremendous amount of money and utility cost.”
Covering eleven acres, the second indoor agricultural facility features cultivation, processing, and retail elements. Noteworthy aspects here include condensate reclamation and liquid-cooled LED lighting technology.
No matter what the project, the E&S team strives to take the most environmentally friendly approach. The company employs LEED-certified engineers who can provide clients with cost-effective green building solutions that meet the project’s objectives and budget. This is particularly important when clients face tough budgeting choices. “Our work in wanting to contribute to a greener planet lies in finding cost-effective solutions in which our clients can keep some of those green initiatives in the project,” Braughton explains.
To this end, the company’s LEED & Energy Efficiency Services include LEED Design, LEED peer review, ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) energy audits and studies, Energy Conservation Measures (ECM) analysis and recommendations, conditions assessments, energy incentive calculations and applications for utility rebate programs, energy modeling, heating and cooling load calculations, equipment replacement and upgrades, comparative mechanical system studies, and building automation.
With this breadth of tools at the team’s disposal, the company’s commitment to the planet is expressed in a variety of ways, depending on the project. “From an MEP—mechanical, electrical, and plumbing perspective—we do it by finding ways to reduce utility cost: primarily water and electricity.” Take the Mall of San Juan project in Puerto Rico, for instance. “We designed a rainwater reclamation system where we would capture rainwater, store it in a below-ground cistern and treat it, and then make use of it in a number of ways—use it for makeup water for our cooling towers, we could use it for irrigation, et cetera.”
The two indoor agricultural facilities currently underway are two other prime examples of the company’s commitment to preserving natural resources. Leachate reclamation and condensate reclamation are both planet-friendly, water-saving techniques.
After 40 years in business, it could be tempting for the firm to slow down and rest on its laurels. But company leaders are having none of that. Instead, the team will “continue to execute on our strategic growth plan,” Braughton says. “That includes breaking into markets that we’re not currently in over the next five years. That’s always a part of our business development model and is in our overall strategic growth plan.”
From a small, regional consulting firm to a national powerhouse of market-leading design and construction management services, E&S has proven its ability to take things to the next level. Construction in Focus, and the industry at large, will be keeping a close eye on the next developments as they unfold.