Top tips for project managing a complex build

Project ManagementProper project management on big engineering jobs is critical to ensure the job gets done on time and on budget. We take project management very seriously here at McNeil Engineering. It is one thing to put an engineer’s mindset to work on a project, but it is entirely another to properly manage it to ensure adequate results.

Whatever field of engineering you work in, the reputation of your company rests largely on your ability to get things done – on time, and within budget. The proper specs must be met. Keeping projects to schedule – particularly with inevitable changes, additions and delays – becomes a project manager’s biggest challenge. And it’s one we excel at meeting.

Whether one is an experienced engineer or project manager looking for ways to properly deliver on a successful project, these are the best ways to properly project manage a big job. The best project managers are great at setting, managing and exceeding expectations. And that’s exactly what we do here at McNeil Engineering.

Ensure Project Specifications are Clear from the Start

This may seem like an obvious observation, but the biggest reason projects run into problems is because they were not laid out properly in the beginning. Pre-project planning is critical to ensuring success. Even small changes along the way can derail a project. Before the team even gets started, it’s important to ensure the objectives, scope, timeline, materials, budget, specs and reporting are all in order.

Project expectations must be initially established between a client and senior management before the project gets off the ground. Project managers must ensure their involvement in the early planning process. All parties must have a realistic understanding of the job, objectives and deliverables. This is all done in the very beginning.

Focusing on a Strong Project Management Team

It’s of vital importance that you create a team with the right skills and attitudes to get the job done. The project manager’s job is to ensure the team involved has the proper skills and talents to see the job through to the end. Everyone must have a clear understanding of their roles and how they contribute to the overall development of the project. Before civil or structural engineers even get involved, the team must be properly selected.

You also want to make sure your project managers are empowered to make decisions on the fly. They must be motivated and ready to handle unforeseen circumstances. Working with an engaged and motivated team is critical to ensuring the success of a project. In many cases, the project manager’s role is not to do things themselves, but to understand the best way of getting things done by motivating and instructing the team.

Establish Benchmarks and Project Milestones

Project managers must also be able to gauge where they are at on a project at all times. They must be able to establish client sign-offs at various stages throughout the project. This way, all stakeholders will be engaged in the project and delivery will be kept on track. There are several ways this can be done. One way is to set up calendar reminders for milestones. This ensures transparency around deadlines and keeps timelines and budgets in order.

It is also important that project managers are more proactive than reactive. This will create an atmosphere where any unforeseen issues can be dealt with quickly and without the chaos of unplanned reactions. And finally, don’t hesitate to celebrate when key milestones and benchmarks are met. This will keep your team motivated and engaged in the project.

See the Big Picture and Expect the Unexpected

Part of being proactive involves expecting the unexpected. And seeing the big picture helps project managers ensure they have the information they need to expect the unexpected. They should be able to simplify complex problems and break them down into more manageable and measurable projects. While making the wider plan seem less daunting, it also allows for a more effective means of tracking progress and measuring success.

It’s important to remember that projects rarely go exactly to plan. Contingency plans must be established so that the team does not hit the panic button the moment something does not go according to plan. The project manager should work out risk factors at various stages and set up a plan on how to minimize their impact should they crop up. One should never plan for failure, but changes that could create failure should be expected and planned for.

Here at McNeil Engineering, we understand how important it is to ensure a project is properly managed by an experienced and professional project manager. We never go into a job without keeping all the factors we’ve discussed in this article in mind. If you’re looking for a project manager you can count on for your project, contact us today.

How Utah will spend its share of infrastructure money

Infrastructure InvestmentOn November 15, 2021, Pre. Joe Biden signed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The $1 trillion infrastructure bill was designed to create jobs across the country by dispersing billions of dollars to state and local governments to fix crumbling bridges and roads and by expanding broadband internet access to millions of Americans.

Why was this bill needed? Well, for many reasons. Many would say we have needed a big investment in infrastructure for generations. It’s no great secret that the United States has been underinvesting in infrastructure for decades. Many of our nation’s roads and bridges are in dire need of repair. It’s important to also consider that the last major infrastructure initiatives in America happened about 100 years ago and about 50 years ago. That’s a long time to go without investment in our much-needed transportation infrastructure.

To make matters worse, a lot has changed in the past century or so. The investments of yesterday no longer address the needs of today. The world is moving to green energy, urban lifestyles and different population patterns. It was time that our government addressed these changes and the infrastructure bill was meant to change that. So, why are we talking about it today? Because we wanted to take a closer look at how the State of Utah will use its portion of these much-needed infrastructure funds. What can we expect to see as a result of the bill’s passage?

Water is the Name of the Game in the West

First, let’s talk about water. It is already well known that the desert southwest is in the midst of a megadrought, and the infrastructure bill is designed to address this. The bill lays out over $8 billion for water infrastructure projects across the American West. The bill includes $1.15 billion for water and groundwater storage, conveyance projects like canals or pipelines and $3.2 billion for the replacement or rehabilitation of similar projects. An additional $1 billion has been earmarked for rural water projects.

An additional $1 billion has been earmarked to promote recycling projects designed to reuse stormwater runoff and wastewater treatment. Another $250 million is intended for desalination research and emerging projects. Dams in the region will also get $500 million to ensure they are properly maintained and in good working order for the foreseeable future.

The Colorado River Basin is also undergoing historic changes. Officials worry about the future of Lake Powell, as one example. Lake Mead, which is the country’s largest man-made lake, is shrinking rapidly. As such, $300 million will go toward bolstering the Colorado River Basin Drought Contingency Plan, which will set up programs to monitor reservoirs, implement conservation and storage projects, and prevent additional water cuts to both the upper and lower Colorado River basins.

How Infrastructure Spending Will Change Utah for the Better

Meanwhile, Utah officials are strategizing on how that $8 billion will help Utah. One example of where the money will go is The Central Utah Project Completion Act, which diverse water from the Colorado basin to the Wasatch Front. The project will get an additional $50 million, which will go towards upgrades to municipal water use, mitigation, hydroelectric power, fish and wildlife and broader conservation efforts.

The Western Area Power Administration will also receive $500 million for drought-related shortfalls. The WAPA is one of the four power marketing administrations within the U.S. Department of Energy. Another $300 million will go towards repairing waterway and watershed damage that results from natural disasters, which are an increasing occurrence these days.

Native tribes in Utah will also see funding, with $2.5 billion going towards the Indian Water Rights Settlement Completion Fund. The IWRSCF is designed to help fund much-needed water projects on tribal lands. Part of that $2.5 billion will bring running water to nearly half of Utah Navajo Nation residents who currently do not have proper running water.

Natural Disaster Mitigation and Land Management

Another big chunk of infrastructure money will go towards mitigating wildfire damage and encouraging better land management. From conducting prescribed burns to mechanical thinning, projects like these will see hundreds of millions of dollars funneled to their efforts.

Roadways and railways will also see big investments, with good reason. With more than 2,064 miles of roads in bad need of repair, billions will be funneled to road and highway improvements. These investments will directly benefit Utah residents and businesses as they seek to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, conduct business and drive commerce.

In the end, infrastructure spending creates and protects the framework for how we live where we live and it lasts for decades. So it’s long overdue to have a completely holistic rethink about those things and spend the money to put the basics in place. Here at McNeil Engineering, we’re excited to see these projects come to fruition and hope to be involved in some of these restoration projects. Stay tuned for developments in the near future.

Why engineering consultation is important for your project

Engineering ConsultationWe are all familiar with what engineering is, but what do engineering consultants do? Essentially, engineering consultation is the practice of planning and designing a client’s engineering needs. The consultation portion of the business is critical because the client or builder must achieve a proper balance based on what is practical for the project. What you want and what is achievable may be two different things.

A Primer on Engineering Consultation Services for Utah-based Companies

We focus on Utah-based companies because we are a Utah-based company, but we certainly do work outside of Utah and offer engineering consulting services to any business that needs them. But how do these services generally work?

As with any business partnership, the consultation generally begins with a sit-down conversation. The client and the firm will have an in-depth conversation about the specific needs of the project. Both will require a clear definition and understanding of what needs to be done in order to complete the project and provide the required services. If a client wants their project to stand out, to be a project of distinction and excellent character, it will be critical they form a strong working relationship with the engineers advising them.

Similarly, engineering companies must know and understand the wishes, needs and expectations of their client. They need to have a proper understanding of the goals, design ideas, budget, timeline and quality expectations. These are critical aspects of any large engineering or build project, and the company you partner with needs to have a strong understanding of these aspects.

There are also vital considerations to be made from the client to the engineering consultants. It is important that both adequately explore different opportunities, design ideas, budget constraints and so on. Clients need to ensure they have a full and proper understanding of timelines, details and any special features they want or need.

What are the Specific Functions of Civil or Structural Engineering Consultants

No matter the type of engineering being discussed, there are specific functions engineering consultants must consider as they work with their clients. It is incumbent on them to carefully study project reports. They need to properly understand cost estimates and the financial viability of a project. Civil engineering consultants in Utah and beyond must closely interact with the client and obtain a full understanding of their requirements and needs. They should be able to adequately analyze and identify problems that may arise in the project.

Depending on their findings, engineering consultants should not be afraid to advise their clients on repair, alteration or maintenance requirements of the existing project and plan. And they shouldn’t be afraid to clearly and tactfully explain if some of the client’s requirements fall outside of either budget or timeline. They need to create design process flows and plans based on client requirements that fall within budget and timeline and stick to it.

In the end, engineering consultants play a very important role in making sure their clients achieve their core objectives and do so within the parameters both have set. In the end, it is the firm’s job to meet the client’s expectations and implement the project according to what was agreed upon.

Understanding the Benefits of a Local Engineering Consultant

Using a Utah-based engineering firm for your Utah-based project is important for several reasons. First, local engineers will have an in-depth knowledge of local building codes, which could save you time and money when it comes to future inspections. Local engineers and licensed professionals from a local company provide a level of local competency and legitimacy for your project. Local firms also have access to data that might be useful for the completion of your project.

You must also consider costs. Hiring a local firm generally costs less because they come with a wealth of experience and know-how related to your local area. They won’t have to travel or bring equipment from afar when they operate in your local area. It’s not a bad idea to plan ahead and include a local engineer in your engagement process early on.

We also want to take a moment to talk about the risks associated with not using an engineering consultant. Without a civil or structural engineer guiding your project, you’ll be flying blind. Build mistakes will cost you a lot more down the road than if they are addressed with a consultant before the build even begins. Nothing is guaranteed, of course, but hiring an engineering consultant mitigates a substantial amount of risk.

Finally, consider fee structures and rate breakdowns. From a job cost standpoint, a fixed fee is preferable to an hourly rate, but it all depends on the job. At McNeil Engineering, we provide consulting services to fit just about any civil or structural engineering job. We invite you to stop by and learn more about how our top-notch roofing, paving, civil, structural and BIM consultants can ensure your job completes on time, on budget and without a hitch.

The construction process from start to finish

Construction ProcessThe building construction process from start to finish involves a lot of effort and investment. Consider that Utah is growing at a huge rate. At 1.64%, Utah currently enjoys the 4th highest growth rate in the country. As such, there are a lot of people coming to Utah and a lot of buildings are being built. But what exactly does “buildings being built” mean? Obviously, putting up a structure requires a lot of time and hard work, but what kind of hard work? Also, consider that constructing residential and commercial structures are both entirely different things.

Careful planning must go into each aspect of building a structure. The planning has to start by asking: What is the structure’s purpose, utility and demand? Once those questions are answered, the construction process enters its first critical phase: the planning phase.

1. Planning

Planning might very well be one of the most important steps in building construction. The first step in construction planning involves acquiring a plot of land. Search for a location that is best suited for the building. Be careful selecting land which has all the desired facilities nearby but is riddled with land issues, whether it be zoning, soil or other problems you don’t want to suddenly have to deal with.

Consider a proper data collection regime as you plan your structure. Whether you do your own research online or hire someone, it is important that you have all the relevant information regarding the land you are about to purchase.

2. Get Technical Help

Hiring the right people to help you with construction is going to be an important part of the process. After selecting your land, you need to hire an architect to help with the building designs. Hiring an architect will also usually involve hiring an engineering firm to help you with the details. Whether it be structural engineering, civil engineering, land surveying or more, you need to hire true professionals like those here at McNeil Engineering.

It is usually after your work with the architect that you will hire a structural engineer. The structural engineer will handle the details from reinforcements to how deep your foundation will be to the size and type of gravel used, the width of your pillars and so on. Your structural engineer will play a critical role in ensuring your building doesn’t someday end up like this one.

3. Estimate and Budget

Consider the amount of material and money that goes into building a structure of any type. With the costs of materials going up by the day, how you budget and pay for your structure will be critically important. Many builders will work with a building estimator to figure out the material quantity required and where they can give or take on quality.

Once the building estimator has prepared an abstract sheet that shows the cost of construction, it will be time to line up the financial resources required for the project. If the financial resources aren’t there, the builder will need to seek pre-approval for loans in advance. The last thing you want is to find yourself in a cash crunch on your project.

4. Municipal, Licensing and Permitting Agreements

Obviously, you will need proper zoning permissions and permits to complete the job. Once the project is ready to be executed, then it will be time to get permission from any state or local authorities that govern the location of your land. Generally, these are the documents you will need as you take your construction application to the appropriate authorities:

  • Land Survey
  • Soil Test
  • Land Documents
  • Architecture
  • Structural Report
  • Architect Certificate

These may not be the only documents or permits you will be required to show once you are ready to execute construction. It might not be a bad idea to have a lawyer or accountant handy to double-check your due diligence.

5. Find Your Builder

Your fifth and final step before construction actually begins will be to approach your builder or contractor. Choose your builder carefully as your choice will be a major factor in securing building construction quality and quantity in a timely manner. In the contract document, all work-related details must be clearly stated.

Your contract document should cover the property layout as well as details regarding payment methods, timelines and final costs. Finally, the condition of the contract should be checked over by a licensed attorney to make sure a final deal can be signed.

Are you considering a commercial project but are not sure who to turn to? Here at McNeil Engineering, we are happy to point you in the right direction. We are experts at all things engineering, but we can also help put you in touch with the people you need to talk to in order to get your project off the ground. Ready to get started? Contact us today or send us an email at We’ll be waiting to help you get started!

A comprehensive look at what we do at McNeil Engineering

McNeil Engineering BusinessHere at McNeil Engineering, we’re proud to have more than 30 years of experience doing what we do. But what exactly is it that we do? Sure, we are engineers, but we also offer a wide array of services to clients of many different types and sizes. From large companies to municipalities, we’re a trusted partner in Utah and beyond.

In short, we provide comprehensive design services including civil engineering, structural engineering, land surveying, high-definition scanning (HDS), landscape architecture and consulting services to the private and public sectors. Today, we’re going to dig deeper into each of those services to properly explain exactly what it is we do and how we do it. Let’s start with our bread and butter: civil engineering.

1. Civil Engineering

Civil engineering represents the design and construction of public works projects. These could include dams, bridges, roadways, tunnels, and other large infrastructure projects. Civil engineering is one of the oldest branches of engineering. Civil engineers were there back when the Roman Coliseum was created, even if they weren’t called that at the time.

Civil engineers are involved in every process of making permanent settlements livable. Whether it be for waste disposal, irrigation ditches, clean water, or otherwise — civil engineers have a hand in all of it. Civil engineers have been involved in some of the greatest projects of the modern era, from the Panama Canal to Hoover Dam.

2. Structural Engineering

Structural engineering is related to civil engineering in that it is a specialty that deals in various aspects of structure building and demolition. Structural engineers focus on:

  • Research
  • Planning
  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Construction
  • Inspection
  • Evaluation
  • Monitoring
  • Maintenance

Structural engineers also evaluate the various technical, environmental, and aesthetic aspects of the projects they work on. Structural engineers are responsible for ensuring whatever is being constructed doesn’t collapse or sustain damage in the event of a natural disaster. They specialize in evaluating structural loads, materials, components, and connections involved in a structure. In the end, it’s their job to properly plan the construction sequence the rest of the team carries out. They also prepare plans and drawings to ensure specifications are up to code.

3. Land Surveying

Do you ever notice people on the road looking through those strange tripod-type devices. We’ll give you a hint— those aren’t telescopes. These individuals are land surveyors. A land surveyor’s job is to determine the terrestrial and three-dimensional positions of points and distances and the angles between them. This process is mainly used to establish maps and boundaries for a construction project.

Land surveyors use physics, mathematics, engineering, and local laws to establish boundaries on a construction project. They also use various types of equipment to do their job, much like the aforementioned tripod-like device. These types of equipment include robotic total stations, prisms, GPS receivers, radios, 3D scanners, and other types of surveying software used on handheld tablets and computers. Land surveying is a critical aspect of any development process as a construction project is being planned.

5. High-Definition Scanning

High-definition surveying or HDS laser scanning is a method of mapping positional data on a job site. Laser scanning represents one of the most efficient and accurate ways to survey a project. Not only does it provide a lot more data than older survey methods, but it requires a lot less manpower to complete.

The HDS laser scanning process uses a rotating laser to measure millions of points around a job site. Advanced software and — in some cases — machine learning, is used to produce a highly accurate 3D representation of the conditions and measurements of a project site. The HDS operator will place the laser at a series of locations around the site and then let the device do its job. Laser scanning also provides accurate positional data regarding existing topography and structures.

6. Landscape Architecture

As we have discussed before, landscaping and landscape architecture are two totally different things. Landscape architecture is essentially the science and art of design, planning, management and stewardship of land or a particular project. Successful landscape architecture utilizes scientific knowledge, environmental know-how, and a concern for resource conservation.

Landscape architecture covers projects both large and small. But it’s also used in the design and management of public spaces. Landscape architects play a specific role in designing the landscape around a particular project. They play a complementary role to the landscape contractor and others involved in project installation.

7. Consulting Services

Are you a large company, contractor, or construction firm planning a big project? We have been proudly serving the Salt Lake City area and beyond for many decades. We are available to consult on your construction project and provide comprehensive advice and planning in all the services listed above. Learn more about the projects we have completed in the past and then give us a call. Let’s work together!

A wide range of engineering services

Engineering ServicesHere at McNeil Engineering, we provide comprehensive design services that include civil engineering, structural engineering, land surveying, high-definition scanning (HDS), landscape architecture and consulting services to the private and public sectors. We also offer consulting services for cities, urban designers, urban planners, and others in the Utah construction market. With so much on offer, we figured now would be a good time to go into greater detail regarding our services and what they entail.

Civil Engineering in Utah and other states

Let’s start with the core of what we do. We are civil engineers first and foremost. But what exactly is it that civil engineers do? Well, in short, civil engineers work closely with others in the construction industry, from architects to contractors, to ensure construction projects progress as they should. Many of their tasks include site surveying ground condition tests, inventory, and materials and equipment maintenance and support. Civil engineers are also responsible for coming up with solutions that take the weather and other geologic factors into account.

Structural Engineering for Long-Lasting Projects

Structural engineering of the type we do fits specifically into the wheelhouse of civil engineering. Structural engineering in this context focuses mainly on the framework of a structure. Engineers design the structures to ensure they can withstand whatever stresses or pressures they may encounter in their environment. The key for structural engineers on projects like ours is to ensure that the buildings and structures we work on remain safe, reliable, and secure at all times.

Land Surveying Where You Need It

Another big part of what we do is land surveying. It’s a critical part of any construction project. There are different types of land surveying, but civil engineers utilize this technique in specific ways. Surveying in civil engineering represents the collection and analysis of specific data regarding the land under survey. Specific measurements of the horizontal and vertical lengths between points will also be recorded. Details will be documented regarding specific aspects of the land, such as size, shape, formation, and soil. Quality and accurate land surveys can set the foundation for a successful project.

Landscape Architecture for Beautiful Grounds

Another important aspect of what we do includes landscape architecture. Put simply, landscape architecture is described as designing specific outdoor spaces that integrate well within an overall project. In our case, we design large landscape architecture projects, such as those for green spaces, a town square, municipal playground, and so much more. Keep in mind there are significant differences between landscape architecture and landscape design. Landscape architects have a degree and they generally work on larger public works projects, whereas a landscape designer often works on residential and smaller-scale projects. Landscape architects are experts in their field.

Consultation Services for Companies Who Need an Expert

We also provide a wide range of consulting services to companies that require a committed and knowledgeable professional to help them with their engineering needs. These are often companies that do not have the in-house expertise they need to get the job done successfully. Our consulting civil engineers advise our clients on the design, development, and construction of projects of all shapes and sizes. We pride ourselves on offering consulting services that ensure safe, efficient, and fully resourced project completion. When you need a consultant you can count on McNeil Engineering.

Other Services We Offer

Now that you’ve learned more about the human aspect of our resources, take a few minutes to learn about some of the other services we offer. We provide a wide range of engineering, surveying, and consulting services. But these services would not be nearly as effective were not for our technologies. We use the latest technologies suitable for engineering projects.

One such example is laser scanning. 3D laser scanning has become an industry norm. Advancements in hardware, software, and workflows have made laser scanning a viable option for projects of all sizes. Laser scanning allows our surveyors to collect tremendous amounts of precise data at high speeds. We use the most advanced, high-definition laser scanners, total stations, and modeling and point cloud software to provide comprehensive, record surveys, 3D CAD models and detailed 2D isometric drawings.

We also have extensive expertise in BIM 3D modeling. Building Information Modeling (BIM) is essentially a technological solution that allows engineers to view a digital representation of a building as well as specific characteristics of its functionality. BIM is a model-based process that provides insight to help you plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure.

And guess what? That’s not all. If you need consulting services for roofing, paving, and even construction administration, we have the people and experience you need to ensure the job gets done right the first time, every time. We invite you to take a moment to peruse the various projects we have completed in Utah and around the country. Let’s work together!

What is the difference between urban planning and urban design?

Urban PlanningHere at McNeil Engineering, we are proud of all of our projects that focus on urban planning and design. We often work with state municipalities on projects and developers working on designs that must be approved by cities or counties. We create concepts involving pedestrian, car, and public transportation needs. These mockups and designs are created to help get things approved quickly by a city. That’s what we’re good at.

A Closer Look at the Differences Between Urban Planning and Design

Still, there are big differences between urban planning and urban design. It is important for companies like us to understand these differences. This is how we deliver excellent service to our engineering clients. Let’s first examine the basic definitions.

  • Urban Design: The design and creation of certain city features, from green spaces to infrastructure, public transportation, landscape architecture, and community-use facilities.
  • Urban Planning: The planning of a city or municipality and the use of its structures, as well as policies, procedures, zoning, neighborhood planning, infrastructure, and overall standards and building codes.

Urban design is used to focus solely on designing individual city features. This could be a transportation system, city park, or wastewater treatment facility. Urban design is for those who want to do creative work. People who want to work on quality of life, population resilience, and sustainability will find a rewarding career as urban designers. Today’s urban planners often work within neighborhoods to create designs that benefit and inspire the community

Urban planners are more strategists. They need to evaluate factors that may not necessarily be in their control. From the technical endpoint to political considerations, urban planners need to have a real “big picture” view of what a neighborhood needs. One area where both urban designers and urban planners overlap is in the area of sustainability, long term resilience, and individual quality of life for residential and commercial land tenants

Core Skills Required for Urban Designers and Planners in Salt Lake City

Core skills necessary to work as an urban planner or designer are similar but also have distinct differences. Both designers and planners work on projects with similar outcomes, but their roles are quite different. Urban planners require great communication and negotiation skills. Urban designers need to have strong technical skills, but they also must be good communicators so that they can fully understand the end user’s experience.

Urban planners are generally passionate about the cities they live in. In general, planners will have a high degree of passion for what works and what doesn’t in their city. Urban planners have a good idea of what needs to be improved and what doesn’t. This could pertain to everything from green spaces to bike paths or affordable housing. But the passion displayed by urban planers goes beyond the urban landscape they reside in. Just like other residents of their town or city, they want to share in the growth and well-being of their neighborhood and enjoy utilizing their skills to meet that end.

Urban planners also generally have a strong sense of connectedness. They share a strong sense of collective values with those they live and work around. But even more, they take a look at the broader community as a whole. Urban planners generally want to live in a society that offers sustainable development, plenty of public transport options, and a stable housing market for buyers and sellers.

Urban designers, by contrast, are more technical in nature. You will find designers to be an interesting mix of individuals who are both people-centric and technologically-inclined. Excellent urban designers are very good at meeting the technical outcomes and requirements in a plans, while also also responding to the shifting needs of the contractors and neighborhood-dwellers.

Which Career is Right for You?

If you love improving society and making a positive impact on individual lives, then urban planning is for you. Urban planners also require skills obtained in many other professions, from teachers to project managers and environmental scientists. Urban planners are great communicators, effectively use evidence to support their arguments, are self-reflective and have great analytical skills.

Conversely, if you are passionate about upgrading the user experience and building on your technical skills, urban design is or you. Urban designers are very good at thinking organically and utilizing architectural and environmental design skills. They are driven by a strong set of core values, can imagine and visualize a plan, and are adept at translating abstract data into a vision.

Here at McNeil Engineering, we work with urban planners and designers day-in and day-out to ensure their jobs are completed quickly and by the numbers. Want to learn more about job opportunities here at McNeil? Simply follow this link, and thanks for reading!

What is the condition of your building’s roof?

McNeil RoofingIs the roof protecting your commercial building safe, in good condition and able to keep out the elements? Or does it need to be repaired or replaced?

At McNeil Engineering, we have answers to those important questions. We have a full-service roofing consulting team that specializes in Existing Roof Condition Analysis, New Roof System Designs and Construction Oversight, Design and Construction Oversight for Replacement of Existing Roof Systems, Roof Overbuild Design, Project Scoping and Opinion of Probable Costs and Humidity/Condensation Analysis. We can provide an objective third-party review of this critical aspect of your building’s structure and safety. We also can provide information and recommendations for the maintenance of your entire roofing system.

With spring officially here, it’s time to start making sure your commercial building is ready for the summer months ahead. A roofing consulting inspection can provide you with key insights that can help you avoid future damage, maintain a safe building and save money on maintenance and repair costs down the line. It’s especially important in areas of the country with four seasons.

Winter weather is hard on your roof

Cold winters — and the accompanying ice, snow and freezing temperatures — can be especially hard on roofs, both at home and at your business. Here’s how winter weather does its damage:

Snow. Wet snow is heavy and can put a significant amount of pressure and stress on your commercial building’s roof. If your roof isn’t in good condition, snow can cause a multitude of damage to the exterior and interior of your building. Wet snow that accumulates over doorways and windows can also cause the mortar or drywall to crack.

Wind. Winter winds are hard on shingles and other roofing materials. They can cause your roofing to erode, exposing insulation and allowing water and ice to seep into the cracks and into your building. If you have tall trees near your commercial building, wind can damage them, causing significant damage to nearby buildings. That’s why it’s such a great idea to regularly trim back trees near any types of buildings.

Ice. Ice is particularly problematic for roofs. When water gets into cracks and crevices in roofing, it may then re-freeze. When the water reaches its freezing point, it expands. That significant growth has the power to damage roofs, shatter pipes, harm HVAC equipment, weaken support beams, and even damage walls. However, damage can occur over time and this process often takes a period of months or years. That’s why it’s so important to have your commercial building’s roof and attic area inspected by a certified roofing consultant regularly.

The benefits of roofing consulting services from McNeil Engineering

Since 1984, McNeil Engineering has provided roof consulting services to a wide range of State and Local Municipalities, Property Management organizations, Hospitals, Religious Organizations, and School Districts. We’ve provided consulting, design, repair, and maintenance needs. We help educate our clients on preventive measures that can protect and fortify commercial roofs and buildings. Roofing consulting can help your business:

  • Protect employees
  • Catch problems early on
  • Understand which areas of your building need work
  • Lower your energy costs
  • Lower your emissions
  • Improve office air quality
  • And more.

Roofing consulting can help prepare your building for summer… and next winter

Taking action now to have your roof evaluated can help make sure your roof is in good condition, or if necessary, it can be repaired or replaced in a timely manner. Roofing consulting services are a common-sense way to improve not only safety and better manage future costs but to boost energy efficiency and your bottom line. The roofing consulting team at McNeil Engineering can help you do this via an existing roof condition analysis.

We’ll send one of our qualified, and knowledgeable roofing professionals out to your place of business. Using cutting-edge tools and technology, they will inspect the integrity of your roof from all aspects, making a thorough list of any and all issues that they find. Next, they will meet with you and explain their findings in detail. Once your meeting is over, you will have a number of common sense, applicable recommendations and instructions for adequately maintaining your commercial roofing system.

Schedule your roofing consulting appointment today

The sooner you have your commercial roof inspected this spring, the better. Your roof may be in great shape and need no repairs. If it does need some work, we’ll help guide you through the process of repairing or replacing it and maintaining it for the seasons and years ahead.

At McNeil Engineering, we provide comprehensive design services, including civil engineering, structural engineering, land surveying, high-definition scanning (HDS), landscape architecture and consulting to both the private and public sectors. We’re committed to being the premier engineering and surveying firm in the Salt Lake City area.

What is BIM?

BIMMost of what an engineer does is done in the mind, or on good old pencil and paper. When an engineer plans a structure, they must envision the structure in their mind and plan a two-dimensional version on paper.

Or, if an engineer is surveying a structure, they must look at the structure and use their mind’s eye, but also be able to decode it on a plan. Obviously, this way of doing things has worked for the most part, fantastically, for many years. The problem is there hasn’t been a lot of innovation in engineering, until now. What happens when brilliant minds are given advanced technology to work with instead of legacy tools. We’ll give you a hint… magic happens!

The technology we’re referring to is BIM, or business information modeling. This process is, in short, the process of creating 3D digital renderings of really, anything you want. BIM has been an absolute game-changer in the field of engineering. An engineer can use BIM to make models of pre-existing structures that need to be changed or added to, landscapes, and even projects that are still only in the planning stages. BIM helps engineers take their ideas from their brain straight to three dimensions before construction even starts. This saves everyone involved an immense amount of stress, time, and money. At McNeil Engineering we are so proud to offer the latest technology in BIM for our engineers, which can help them to be better for our clients! If this seems interesting, here are three ways that BIM has upgraded modern engineering.

1. Planning

Like we mentioned, it can be incredibly difficult to take a plan for a structure, or an idea of a structure’s function and bring it from your brain to real life. BIM is an outlet to plan a project in three dimensions and get all the kinks worked out before ground is even broken. It helps projects can come to life as efficiently as possible. If an engineer designs a 15-story staircase without an elevator, that’s a problem. When planning with BIM, an engineer is much more likely to notice problems like that in the planning stage and be able to fix the problem with a little replanning and a few clicks, rather than having to knock down newly built walls in order to add a last-minute elevator!

2. Execution

BIM ensures a project is executed properly. When a commercial construction project happens, it takes a whole team of people to bring the idea to fruition, and it is inevitable that somewhere along the line of communication there will be a misunderstanding of some form or another.

Let’s say a dentist has contracted a new office to be built and e-mails how he would like it to look like structurally. This hypothetical dentist plans to be the only dentist in this building and only plans to hire a small staff. He pictures a luxurious lobby and several rooms for dental surgery. However, somewhere along the way, the plans get changed and suddenly there are way more rooms than the dentist envisioned. Engineers using BIM plan the building digitally before ordering any building materials, so the dentist would have many more chances to see a 3D digital representation of his building before construction begins.

3. Communication

One of the most difficult jobs of a construction worker, an architect and an engineer is understanding a client’s vision for their building. On the other side, it can be incredibly difficult for most people who aren’t construction workers, architects or engineers to understand what their building will look like or feel like just from seeing the plan on paper. BIM improves communication. How? Because everyone involved gets to see and agree upon a three-dimensional visual representation of a building in all of its aspects.

Here at McNeil Engineering, we are BIM experts. For more information on what BIM is, visit our website here.

McNeil Engineering builds long-lasting client relationships

Client RelationshipsAt McNeil Engineering, we’re always in search of new projects, but we also like to make sure that our clients know that we are available to them after the completion of their first project. We like to build lasting relationships with the people and companies that hire us for any of our services, including structural engineering, civil engineering, landscape architecture, building information modeling, laser scanning, and roofing consultation.

A firm foundation of trust

A wonderful example of a landscaping architecture client we have a close relationship with is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We have been the prime consultant on new church constructions for the LDS Church all over the western United States. We built their trust by creating award-winning drought-tolerant designs for their churches in desert areas so that their members can see their home churches as comfortable and safe places to be. Because of this, they now continue to trust us to work on new designs for them, and we hope to continue to fulfill their engineering and consulting needs for a long time.

Helping craft first impressions

Another example of a long-term client is Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. We started our relationship with them by being contracted to help redesign the entrance to the Student Services Center, which is the first part of WSU that potential students encounter We created an open, welcoming design that gave students a glimpse of how comfortable and homey WSU could be, and the success that they could have there. Since then, we have been working with WSU throughout the years to redesign most of their campus to present themselves to students visibly as the wonderful university they are.

A partner you can trust

If you’re an architect or a developer, or if you own a business, we at MeNeil want to build a close professional relationship with you, because we believe that is the best way that we can help you make your structural and architectural plans come alive and have your building (or whatever structure we’re helping you with) help to present the intended message. We want to take whatever you have in mind and use our expertise to help make it safe, structurally sound, environmentally friendly, and beautiful.

At McNeil Engineering we also specialize in building information modeling, which means that we have the best technology to be able to help you plan and visualize your project before it is constructed. This helps to minimize having to make expensive corrections once construction has started. Building Information Modeling is one of the reasons we like to keep clients long-term because once you work on a project assisted by BIM, we think you’ll want to keep using it.

Getting to know each other

Of course, another reason we like to make ourselves available as long-term partners to our clients is that the longer we work with a client or corporation, the better we can understand them. The more projects we assist you with, the better we understand your goals, mission, and preferred aesthetic. And, as we get to know you better, you get to know us better as well, and we hope that makes you feel at ease and comfortable trusting us to help with your projects. Building professional relationships is important to us because we know how difficult it can be to get into the groove of working with someone new, especially when you’re passionate about the project at hand. Architects, we know your designs are like your children, and you would probably rather leave your child with a babysitter you know than a random one you found on Facebook!

Bringing your vision to life

Basically, if you’re in need of landscape architecture or civil and structural engineers for a project, we would like you to know that we’ll do our very best to help you bring your vision to life, whether you plan to only have us help with one project, or you plan to work with us indefinitely. However, we hope we can show you that if you have long-term design goals, we can absolutely be a long-term asset to each of them.

Ultimately, at McNeil Engineering, our clients are our top priority, and we want to be able to do the best work for them we possibly can. We want to be an asset in creating beautiful spaces and growing infrastructure in a way that is aesthetically pleasing, safe, structurally sound long-term, and respectful to the natural landscape. If that resonates with you, that already gives us a head-start on understanding each other, and we can only grow together from here.

If you’re interested in viewing some of the designs we’ve created for long-term clients, please feel free to check out the Landscape Architecture Projects page on our website here. We welcome your questions and inquiries.