Sustainable Construction Solutions
Macallan Construction is a company specializing in sustainable construction projects, and its experience in the field has made it one of the fastest-growing companies in the Southeastern United States.
Headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, Macallan is a full-service general contractor that works on a variety of commercial projects in the region, as well as in Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, Ohio, Iowa, and Florida. We spoke with Company Principal Wes Reynolds, who explained what has made Macallan Construction so successful in its field and how the team has set itself apart from the competition.
“All companies say they provide better services,” says Reynolds. “Yet we have retained all of our clients. We like complicated projects and like to help owners that have products they’re excited about getting to the street.”
To ensure a client’s construction process flows smoothly and efficiently, Macallan provides clients with a single dedicated team of individuals from start to finish. Macallan’s business model ensures that its principal partners are involved in all aspects of each project. This philosophy has allowed the company to maintain a large, loyal group of repeat customers and demonstrates its commitment to providing clients with an experience that exceeds their expectations.
To ensure this level of service, Macallan’s employees are trained in many different aspects of design and construction. “Whatever situation, our employees are training for OSHA, lift trainings, toolbox, and hands-on training,” Reynolds explains.
Mr. Reynolds started the company in 2004 along with his business partner, Bryan Wall. Initially starting with a small line of credit, the company has built up and steadily grown ever since. Like many construction companies, Macallan experienced some belt-tightening during the Great Recession of 2008, but the company has managed to rebound, with revenue of $14 million in 2014 and a team of 26 employees. “We’re not back to what we were at our peak, but we are steadily growing again due to our strong and diverse opportunities in construction and development.”
The economic downturn, in fact, gave the company the opportunity to diversify and expand its portfolio and become involved in sustainable design and construction. “That’s where the market was going,” Reynolds says. “There was an incentive for individuals to employ those types of systems to make buildings more efficient and green, provide some savings – while there may be more initial long-term capital involved in its construction, they get more payback with energy savings. Secondly, sustainable building is a niche we could potentially grow into; it adds another level of specialization that we could offer to companies.”
Reynolds says the economic downturn also gave the company a chance to prove the team could retain its principles and live up to its mission. “It’s easy to skimp and take shortcuts when the economy goes bad and things go sour, but maintaining principles and staying within values is not worth compromising,” he shares.
Macallan serves a diverse range of clients in a number of areas. The team’s extensive and diverse portfolio includes building medical facilities (including clean rooms), computer laboratories, financial institutions, schools, religious institutions, residential developments, retail stores, fire stations, hotels, historic preservations, and high-rise projects. The company also offers a number of services for its clients such as demographic and land use analysis, project programming, design / development and consulting, preconstruction services, estimating, project scheduling, construction, inspection, and LEED consulting. Macallan gives clients the option to select a turnkey package with all of those services or the option to handle the construction on a given project.
In recent years, Macallan Construction’s expansion into sustainable building has also given the company an opportunity to work on a number of unique projects throughout North Carolina. The Wilson Community College Student Center in Wilson, NC, for example, was built by Macallan in 2008 and is the only building in North Carolina to achieve gold level LEED status granted by the United States Green Building Council. The new student center design earned recognition for its energy efficiency and environmentally friendly construction, and resulted in a nearly 40 percent realized energy savings due to the many energy efficient design features incorporated into the center. Some highlights include a geothermal source heat pump, energy-efficient windows and insulation, and lighting controls to automate the lights to dim when natural light is available.
The geothermal heat pump system uses the temperature of the earth to reject and/or draw heat. These systems are much more efficient than conventional air-source heat pumps that reject heat to the hot air during the summer months and draw heat from the cold air during the winter months. In addition, due to the limited site area, a direct exchange system was utilized in lieu of a typical water-based geothermal system. In the direct exchange system, the refrigerant loops are placed in direct contact with the earth. This leads to a more efficient system and a significant reduction in the amount of space required on the site. “Our hot water systems, when we’re doing geothermal-related work, use heat from heat pumps to generate rather than using solar power to heat hot water,” Reynolds explains.
The company is also involved in a number of projects involving stormwater runoff. “There are requirements in municipalities requiring that stormwater… must be slow and clean before it leaves a site,” explains Reynolds. “Many organizations and companies are seeing the value in that and reducing stormwater runoff, so we’re working on projects that allow us to design stormwater systems that capture the water and use the recycled water for irrigation systems. This will help reduce the price people and municipalities pay for water.”
For example, in the City of Raleigh, the city enacted regulations in the watershed for a reservoir that requires stormwater runoff control for new developments, additions, and expansions to existing development to ensure that the nutrient processing functions of receiving waters are not compromised and that water supplies, aquatic life, and recreational uses of the Falls Lake and Swift Creek reservoirs are protected from the potential impacts of development. Macallan has definite plans to participate in projects that will reflect these requirements.
Macallan Construction was also involved in the construction of a car wash that was poised to become one of the only LEED-certified car washes in the world; the water used at the facility was going to be recycled, cleaned and re-used. However, the company involved with the car wash went bankrupt, so the certification was never awarded. “The systems would have made it LEED-certified and would have been a model for other car washes under construction,” Reynolds shares.
Another notable project was the construction of the Raleigh Salt Barn in 2008. The salt storage facility was built to serve the northern portion of Raleigh including Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Interstate 40 and the 540 Outer Loop, to enhance the city’s ability to respond to major storms. The second Salt Barn was completed by Macallan Construction in record time to help ensure that the city was well-prepared to face the challenges of winter weather in the area; tons of salt are stored at the facility for application to city road systems. The Salt Barn put the City of Raleigh in a much better position to respond quickly to ice storms, particularly in the fast-growing northern part of town, ensuring the public would still be able to drive to and from their destinations safely.
Reynolds credits the people who work with the company as a key reason behind its success and growth over its decade-long history. “Our employees are highly trained and we feel that being objective and honest gets us down to a good solid core of people,” he says. “We believe in working hard and being diligent, honest, persistent, and patient. We are professionally and personally principled and we do the best we can, no matter what the situation is, acknowledge mistakes and make it right. Our clients appreciate that.”
And no doubt, Macallan Construction has a number of plans for the future to take advantage of evolving demands in the marketplace. “We want to continue to grow at a solid, steady pace by growing intelligently and maintaining the principles we have and executing them well,” Reynolds states. “We’re not concerned with growing too quickly, but with growing by keeping up with the clients we have and generating new ones that are good quality clients.”