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.

The case for native plants

Landscape architectsMaybe you’ve lived here your whole life or recently relocated. Either way, there’s no disputing the fact that Utah’s overall landscape is breathtaking. But it doesn’t come without a lot of hard work from landscape architects, homeowners and property managers. Hot, dry summers and wet, freezing winters in the Intermountain West can present a challenge to keep plants alive and well.

However, it’s not impossible to create outdoor spaces in this climate. It helps to have a baseline understanding of native plants and how they can be used to create a healthy and vibrant environment that’s also pleasing to the eye. Here are ten reasons to employ this approach in your home or commercial landscape design.

1. You will save money on fertilizer and pesticides. Native plants usually do not require fertilizer. That’s because many varieties thrive in poor soil, and applying fertilizer could chemically burn them or affect their physical structure. Plus, these chemicals are associated with higher rates of cancer and other risks.
2. Native plants keep you cool. There’s an art and a science to landscape design with respect to mitigating high temperatures. Placing trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, and ground cover in certain locations can cool the urban environment and even reduce energy bills by 40 percent. One study found that shading can reduce the surface temperature on walls and roofs by 45 degrees. This reduces the heat transmitted into buildings and other structures in the vicinity.
3. You will help reduce the risk of flooding. The deep root systems of many native plants bolster the soil’s ability to store water. Native plants can significantly reduce water runoff and, by extension, flooding.
4. You will help clean the air. All plants, by design, remove carbon dioxide from the air and store the carbon. And again, their deep root systems are a distinguishing factor. Their structures allow them to store more carbon than non-native species. Carbon dioxide is a major contributor to global greenhouse warming, so installing native plants helps you become part of the solution.
5. You will help create a better environment for pollinators. Bees may be small, but they play a huge role in our ecosystem and food systems. Some experts say one of every three bites of food we eat depends on them. Wow! These bugs pollinate everything from apples to almonds. If bees and other pollinators are at risk, entire species suffer, and we humans bear the cost, too. That’s why native plants can be a positive force in helping these insects survive and thrive. The best choices are ones that benefit a diversity of pollinators, are regionally appropriate, and are highly adaptable to a range of growing conditions.
6. You will help create a better environment for birds and butterflies. By supporting caterpillars and the like, native plants provide a critical protein source for backyard birds and their offspring.
7. You will help protect and improve the soils. Once again, their deep roots are advantageous and can help in the soil quality department. Their roots structure helps stabilize the soil and prevent erosion.
8. You will save money by reducing the need to mow. Certain types of flora require less frequent mowing than traditional grasses. In fact, these grasses should not be mowed during hot, droughty summer conditions.
9. You will create a unique one-of-a-kind landscape. Not only are native plants functional, but they also create an aesthetic landscape. No cookie-cutter design here. Your yard will be the envy of the neighborhood, and it will serve a larger purpose. Win-win!
10. You will conserve water, which also saves you money. Native plants are hardy in that they don’t create as much water as alternatives. It’s best to plant them in an area irrigated separately from the lawn and use drip irrigation to minimize evaporation.

Once you incorporate native plants into your landscape, you can relish the fact that you’ve created an outdoor space that’s functional, beautiful, simple to maintain, water-wise, and a boon to the planet. What’s not to love about that?

Maybe you’re sold on the power of native plants but not sure where to begin. No worries — that’s where we come into the picture. Landscape architecture is a means to that end, it’s one of our specialties. Our team of experts has decades of experience in the public and private realms, providing clients with design and technical direction from concept to construction phase services. We work on a broad range of projects including civic, planned communities, university campuses, residential and commercial/retail developments. From small roof gardens to large-scale planning and design we work responsively with our clients, project team and contractors to develop relationships that create sustainable sensitive design solutions. So, if you can dream it, we can design it! Contact us at (801) 225-7700 to learn more about what we can do for you.

Tips for choosing the ideal roof type for your dream home

Roofing ConsultingTake a moment to consider this question. How would you want your dream home to look? Tall ceilings? A large kitchen? Open floor plan? Exquisite rooms? Landscaped front yard? Plenty of natural light? What else would you want?

But you know what? None of this will matter if your home doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing from the exterior. And there’s no way your building would look appealing without the ideal roof type.

The roof defines the overall look and style of a home. Given the many designs and shapes of roofs in the market, how do you select one that’s the perfect fit for your home? Let’s delve into some of the factors to consider.

By first, let’s look at the types of roofs.

Types of Roofs

Gable roof

These are classic pitched roofs with two sloping sides that originate from the center. For easy reference, they are the roof type most people pen down when asked to draw a house.

Gambrel roof

A gambrel roof is usually a symmetrical two-sided roof with two slopes on each side. The upper slope is positioned at a shallow angle, while the lower slope is steep.

Flat roof

As the name suggests, a flat roof is usually flat! However, most flat roofs are built to have a slope of up to 10 degrees to allow for better drainage.

Skillion roofs

This a distinctive roof consisting of only one isolated unvarying surface, as opposed to standard roofs that have two sloping sides which meet in a ridge at the center of the building.

Butterfly roof

Also known as a V roof, a butterfly roof is characterized by an inversion of a standard roof form, with the two roof surfaces sloping down from the opposite edges to a valley in the middle of the roof.

Types of Roof Materials

Some of the most common materials used for building roofs include:

  • Asphalt shingles
  • Clay/concrete tiles
  • Metal
  • Slate
  • Wood shakes
  • Synthetic tiles

Factors to Consider When Choosing Roof Design


The primary purpose of a roof is to protect your home from water, snow, wind, and other weather elements. And as you know, weather conditions vary vastly from location to location. That’s why you need a roof that’s perfectly suited for handling the range of weather conditions in your region.

For instance, a gable roof is ideal for regions with a lot of snow or water so the water can run off faster.

What’s more, you have to decide if you want your roof design to match the prevalent style in your neighborhood or if you want to be the oddball. But remember, it’s all about what you want.

Consider your house structure

Your roof design must complement the building. For instance, if you’re planning to change the roof of an old farmhouse, a modern flat roof might look kind of odd. Instead, a gable or gambrel roof might be better suited.

Determine other functional purposes you what to achieve with your roof

As an example, if you want a great deal of extra living space, mansard roofs are idle. This space can be used as a full attic or living quarters (commonly called a garret).

Another example. Flat roofs are usually used in commercial roof designs because they provide adequate space to place HVACs on the roof. Flat roofs are also conducive to installing PV solar panels for a more energy-efficient home.

Define your budget

It doesn’t matter how grandiose of a plan you have; if you cannot afford it one way or the other, then you cannot make it a reality. That’s why it’s important to define your budget. That way, you set a constraint for what’s possible and what’s not.

To give you a bit of perspective, the national average roof cost is between $5,100 to $10,000, but costs can easily climb to over $30,000 depending on what you want to accomplish.

Check the building codes

The purpose of building codes is to provide minimum standards to safeguard life, health, property, and public welfare by controlling and regulating the design, construction, and maintenance of buildings and structures within a district/region.

That’s why you need to check if there are rules when it comes to the type of roof design and materials that are permissible in your region.

Get Several Quotes

Installing a new roof requires sound technical expertise, so it might not be ideal as a DIY project. But before you work with any roofing company, ensure you get quotes from several companies so you can compare costs and timelines. But more importantly, assess their previous works as well as overall customer satisfaction with former clients. That way, you get to work with the best.

Contact us here today for more information. We look forward to working with you on your next roofing project.

What you should know before remodeling your home

Mountain States Log HomesYour home is an important part of your life. Far from being “just a building,” your home represents a happy place where you can live, laugh, learn, and share with those you love. However, with time, the building itself begins to get out of shape.

Renovation offers an exciting opportunity to give new life to your house. This may be through doing something as simple as reinforcing a weakened foundation or something as complex as adding a new room to accommodate your growing family.

To achieve the best results when remodeling your home, there are certain things you need to put in place. In this post, we explore some of them.

  • Set a Realistic Budget

Every remodeling project comes with a budget constraint. Defining how much you’re willing to spend will help you know the extent of renovation that can take place. The last thing you want is to start a massive remodeling project only to get stuck midway due to finances. But that’s not all.

You also need to understand the complexity of the project you want to undergo and the projected timeline. Have an engineering contractor look over your plan so they can factor in unforeseen circumstances that may complicate the project cost and timeline. This ensures your final cost and time estimates are realistic.

Finally, you need to consider the financing options you have. Do you want to pay for it out-of-pocket or through a home equity loan or home refinancing?

  • Define What You Want to Do

Renovation is a huge umbrella that covers a wide range of activities. It may involve improving a broken, damaged, or outdated structure. Alternatively, it may involve making a new addition to a home.

Defining the scope of the project lets you know exactly how much it will cost and how long the project will take. What’s more, it defines the impact of the project you’re about to undertake and how it will affect the overall structural integrity of the building.

For instance, if you want to combine two rooms, you will have to break the wall separating them. Depending on whether the wall is a significant load-carrying member, you may have to replace it with a structural arch or bream so as not to compromise your home’s structural integrity.

  • Know Who You’re Hiring

While you might have a fanciful idea of what you want to accomplish with your renovation, only the experts can bring it to life. And as you would expect, the quality of the outcome is dependent on the skill level of the contractor you hire. That’s why you have to work only with the best.

Depending on what you want to do, you might require an architect to draw up a plan. For instance, you want an architect any time you’re changing the exterior of the building or making significant alterations to the floor plan of the house.

Most people settle for a general contractor, but you can also opt for individual contractors for the job. What’s important is that you find the right team to complete the renovation project.

Before you bring any civil engineering contractor on board – or any other professional for that matter – make sure you look into their license, certificate of insurance, lien history, certification, bond number, and financial standing.

But most importantly, you must hire one that understands your vision and is best aligned in helping you accomplish it. That’s why it’s helpful to have preliminary discussions or interviews before work begins officially. Also, make sure they will be forthright about all regulatory matters associated with your project: from building codes to inspections to permits to zoning.

You can find good engineering contractors through online services. Just make sure you research the company properly before working with them. Word-of-mouth recommendations from neighbors, friends, and family are also great ways to find reputable professionals.

  • Execute Your Plans

The professional uses their experience to draw up a final plan. Depending on the complexity of the project, the plan might need to be submitted to the authorities for approval. Once it is approved, execution can commence.

Expert engineering contractors usually take an iterative approach to project management. This enables them to make minor changes to the plan (if the need arises) without major cost implications.

If you’ve followed all the previous steps to the letter, this is the stage where you relax and let the experts do their thing.


An old English proverb says that “There’s no place like home.” So, it only makes sense to give your home proper care and attention – especially as it begins to age. Renovations provide a great way to accomplish that. By planning accordingly and working with the right professionals, you can transform your home into your “dream home.”

We look forward to helping with your next project. Contact us today for more information.

7 Things You Must Know About Land Surveying

ALTA Land SurveyingYou’ve probably seen a land surveyor on a property peeking through a strange-looking device (theodolite) that’s rested on a tripod. If you’re like the average Joe, only one thought crossed through your mind, “What exactly is this person doing under this scorching sun?”.

A land surveyor makes use of special equipment to conduct measurements and evaluations of sites for private, public and government properties. These measurements involve determining the terrestrial or 3-dimensional positions of points and distances, as well as the angles between them.

Their evaluation helps to establish points on maps that are used to determine boundaries for ownership, location and more. Here are 7 things you must know about land surveying:

#1 Land Surveying is More Useful Than You Think.

When most people think of land surveying, they instinctively link it with some type of remodeling. However, there are several other instances where land surveying might be required. Some of which include:

  • Purchasing a new home.

While the construction process doesn’t require a survey, mortgage lenders mostly do. This is to ensure that the property is within its legal boundaries, eliminating the risk of potential encroachment problems in the future.

  • Settling a dispute

Neighbors sometimes disagree over encroaching property fixtures (like a fence or building). A land survey can help establish the facts. It also has a legal holding in court.

  • Home Addition

Before adding a storage shed or a new room, it’s important to make sure that it does not exceed your property lines to avoid legal troubles. A land survey can help with that.

#2 Although You’re Paying, You Don’t Dictate the Process.

The only job of a land surveyor is to determine the fact as dictated by history, science and math. Whether you want to build an extra foot as an addition to your home is none of their business. So, do not expect them to produce a survey in your favor.

After they determine the precise measurement of your property, they send it to the county recorder’s office. This means your survey becomes a public record.

Surveyors are held liable for mistakes in the surveys they produce and could be sued for them. That’s why they’re only concerned about getting their job done accurately.

#3 It’s Not an Easy Job

Land surveying is more than staying under the sun while looking through a theodolite — which by the way, isn’t your ideal working condition. Land surveyors also manage the historical and legal implications of their work.

If you’re wondering why land surveying is expensive, the amount of work they do makes it worth it. That’s why you also have to be certain that you need a land survey before you spend hundreds of dollars to get it done.

#4 There are Different Kinds of Land Surveyors

Land surveying is a broad profession with different specializations. Here are some of the processes of the most common types of land surveyors;

  • Construction/ Engineering

Often used by civil engineers, these types of surveyors study the changes in property lines. They also determine the precise location of buildings, roads, and other fixtures.

  • Geodetic

Geodetic surveyors employ satellite and aerial imaging to measure large areas on earth.

  • Boundary or land

Their primary duty is to determine the location of property lines with pinpoint accuracy. If you’re planning to purchase a property and you want to determine how far it extends or you want to build an addition to your property, this is the kind of surveyor you require.

#5 There are Different Types of Land Surveying

Just as there are different kinds of surveyors, there are also different kinds of surveying. The type you’ll go for is dependent on what your needs are. Some types include:

  • ALTA (American Land Title Association) Survey

It is carried when purchasing a home or property as it is required by a title company before issuing title insurance. Some mortgage lenders may also require one before providing loans.

  • Boundary Survey

It’s used to determine the boundary of a property. It is also used to resolve legal disputes, easements, and other land-related issues.

  • Location Survey

It is used to determine the precise location of property fixtures.

Other types include subdivision surveys, site-planning surveys, construction surveys, and topographic surveys.

#6 Your Phone GPS Can’t Do the Job

We get it, you’re using a GPS enabled device, and you’re a huge fan of DIY. Well, land surveying is not a task you can accomplish with the DIY approach.

Your smartphone’s GPS is accurate to about 15 feet. Contrast that with land surveying professional-grade GPS systems that are precise to the centimeter (Well, that’s why they cost thousands of dollars).

Using your phone to determine property lines will set you up for legal troubles in the future. That’s why you have to bear in mind that anything you get from it is only a “rough check.”

#7 A Land Survey is Good For a Decade

Once you complete your survey, it’s considered valid for the next 10 years. But why 10? According to the law, this is the duration in which the surveyor will be considered liable for the survey.

Have questions? Contact us here today.