KAI Design & Build has doubled its staff of mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) engineers through its recent acquisition of the engineering group at United Excel Design, PC (UED).

Based in St. Louis, MO, UED provides a complete package of architectural and engineering services and is part of an integrated group of design-build companies including United Excel Construction (UEC) which performs construction and Mill Creek (MC) which specializes in the outfitting of furniture, fixtures and equipment, equipment planning, transition planning and move management. The integrated group of companies specializes in healthcare planning, design and procurement for the government through design-build projects.

"This acquisition is significant to KAI for three reasons. One, it gives us the additional expertise and portfolio to compete for significant government/military projects nationwide that are specifically geared toward medical facility repairs, renovations and new construction," said KAI President Michael B. Kennedy.  "Secondly, the acquisition is a benefit to our current clients who will gain from the knowledge and experience that our expanded MEP Engineering Group brings to the table.  And lastly, the acquisition now makes KAI Design & Build one of the region’s largest hospital engineering firms."

The acquisition will actually benefit both businesses, said Kennedy. KAI will provide MEP engineering to UED, while UED’s Architectural group has the potential of teaming up with KAI on private sector work. The acquisition also allows for additional collaborations and opportunities for all companies involved in the design-build process, said Kennedy.

“KAI will continue to work with UED, and now that we are collaborating together, it's a win-win for both companies," said Kennedy.  "We can become much stronger working together than we were trying to do everything alone.”

Founded in 1980 as an architectural design firm, KAI added MEP services in 1990 to give clients a full package of in-house disciplines for their projects. The group has worked on a variety of different building types in support of KAI's architects, as consultants to outside architectural firms, and as the prime contractor to owners for ground-up, replacement, repair and ongoing operational maintenance projects.

UED's engineering design portfolio includes projects at: General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital in Missouri; Keller Army Community Hospital at West Point in New York; David Grant Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base in California; 87th MDG Dental Clinic at McGuire Air Force Base in Maryland; 99th Medical Group Medical Center at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada and McWethy Troop Medical Clinic at Ft. Sam Houston in Texas.

Leo Zerjav, AIA, Principal at United Excel Design, says the acquisition will pave the way for private sector work for his business.

"Each firm was able to provide what the other was looking for and gives both firms increased abilities to provide high-quality projects that meet clients’ design goals," said Zerjav. "UED wanted to expand and diversify our services to the private market. Our engineering group needed additional staff and leadership. We started looking for partners to help with our increasing workloads and diverse direction. KAI Design & Build at the same time was looking for additional engineers and diversification into government and healthcare markets."