What has McNeil Engineering been up to so far this year? Part II

Project HighlightsWelcome back to Part II in our blog series looking at what we’ve been up to this year. We recently came out with our spring 2022 newsletter and we wanted to highlight some of our proudest projects to illustrate the scope and scale of our work.

1. North Union Landscape Architecture

Our overall objective for the North Union apartments was to create a unique, urban environment for residents and the public that plays off the design of the building but also fits the area. The intersection of 900 East and 7220 South is very heavily trafficked and loud. However, it’s also a major crossing point for students from the nearby high school.

After visiting the site and analyzing the area, we wanted to create a design that allows us to buffer the plaza area and creates small, more intimate gathering spaces and seating areas to be enjoyed by residents and the public. With this in mind, we designed custom black powder-coated steel planters in distinctive shapes that will be planted with our water-wise plant palette.

We designed the complex’s roof deck to be functional for a variety of uses. Black steel planters and cast-in-place concert planters and seat walls, create private seating areas and social gathering spaces with BBQs and inviting spaces to hang out. Native plant material was used for low water usage and for a natural vibe that will be able to sustainable during the heat of summer.

Our design team worked with the developer and architect to include many amenities as possible in the project such as walking paths, interesting seating areas, a zen rooftop pool, and a dog park. Huge shoutout to Scott Schoonover, landscape architect manager on this project.

2. Post Malone Home

As more information is publicly released, we’re happy to share that we had the opportunity to work in-depth on Post Malone’s new home. It was an incredible project, read more below!

The original home was constructed in 1986. The existing construction was primarily of timber framing on a concrete foundation. The new owner wanted to convert the existing living space into a sound studio. The first task was to take out one elevation of the original seismic resisting exterior walls and extend the rear of the home by approximately 30 feet. The new exterior consisted of all glass with no walls so special seismic-resistant moment frames were used to resist the seismic forces. The original design of the structure’s interior had gravity resisting bearing walls. These walls were taken out and replaced with steel beams and steel posts.

The house was constructed on a hillside lot. On the uphill side of the lot, a new cast-in-place underground concrete basement area was designed with a concrete tunnel connecting the main existing house with the new basement. Several tall cantilever concrete walls were constructed on the site to extend the flat areas of the lot for the new construction of a pool house with a new pool. Also on the site is a two-story partially buried 12-car garage with a recreational deck as a roof. Being partially buried, the garage walls were as much as 2’-6” at the base.

McNeil Engineering performed the structural design for the approximately 3000 sq. ft pool house. Constructed of timber framing members and concrete walls, the structure was built on a mat slab foundation to help minimize differential settlement. The pool house has rooms for sleeping and entertaining, including a “man-cave,” which also stores the pool equipment. Some of the most interesting features of this structure are walls that rotate upward so as to give full, open-end access to the pool deck.

McNeil Engineering also performed the structural design for a two-story concrete garage. The rear wall of the garage retains the uphill soil and boulders to carve out a portion of the mountainside for storage and display of the client’s vehicles. A steel-framed second-story open rail mezzanine allows full views of the cars below (or at eye level) thanks to a multi-car lift in the garage. We have to give a shout-out to Matt Roblez, our structural engineer on the project!

We hope you have enjoyed this look back at some of our important and notable projects this year. We would like to end this series of blog posts with a note from our president:

As we approach the 40-year mark of being in business in Utah and the Intermountain Region, I know I speak for our entire team at McNeil Engineering when I say thank you! Reflecting on experiences over my 27 years at McNeil Engineering, it has been truly enriching. From a small team of engineers and a survey crew to the full-service firm that we have become today. We do not take that growth for granted and it wouldn’t be possible without our friends and colleagues. Please enjoy this Spring issue of our quarterly newsletter and know that we appreciate your business and your friendship. Here’s to many more years of working together to help make Utah great!

Mike Hoffman
President


What has McNeil Engineering been up to so far this year? Part I

McNeil Recent WorkWelcome to a look at some of our big jobs from the former part of 2022. We wanted to take a moment to highlight our recent work so you can get a better idea of our capabilities.

1. Larkin Cemetery

For more than 20 years our team has had a great relationship with the Larkin family and their incredible team at Larkin Mortuary. The scope of our work includes civil engineering projects, helping lay the foundation for their current headquarters as well as surveying their properties to prepare for future growth.

Led by Surveying Department Manager Mike Hoffman, our team has been involved in surveying and mapping both Larkin Cemetery locations using state-of-the-art technology to help them transition to a new cemetery management software system.

Through the use of drones and ultra-high-resolution cameras, our team was able to provide them with sophisticated imagery including a complete point cloud image of both locations. We sent both to Dan Cable and the team at EDA Land Planning, a firm acting as their go-to landscape architect overseeing our cemetery development.

This information allows their team to ensure accuracy and precision when taking inventory of their current land assets. Plus, it helps them plan for the future with confidence. We look forward to continuing to work with the team at Larkin Mortuary, it’s always a pleasure. Big thanks to Michael D. Hoffman for acting as survey manager on this important project!

2. Draper Innovation

No matter how many roofing or paving projects we manage, it’s never lost on our team how different each project is, and how important it is to keep a keen eye for small details to ensure that each project is successful and that their roofs and parking lots are built to last!

The Draper Innovation Center is no exception to that rule. Across a large lot, this multi-structure complex is an exciting new addition to the area that is nearing completion with one building finished and the other expected to be complete this summer.

As part of our responsibilities as the consultant and project manager our team reviewed plans and specifications for the owner and commented on what details needed to be revised and issues that could be avoided before construction started. We also reviewed material submittals and shop drawings to make sure they lined up with the plans and specifications and took our findings to preconstruction meetings for both buildings to review with the contractor while verifying his material submittals, shop drawings, and construction schedule. Throughout this process, our team worked closely with the general contractor to ensure that there were no conflicts with other trades.

For the duration of the project, our team observes the roofing production twice a week to make sure that the roof is being installed as per the plans and specifications and sends a report with photos to the owner. We also work with the roofing contractor on any field changes that need to be made. Once the project is finished our team will perform the final inspection with the manufacturer and send out a punch list to the roofing contractor with any final adjustments. As part of this process, we verify that owner receives the final warranty documentation. Big thanks to Carl Greene, consulting manager on the project.

3. North Union

In coordination with our very own Structural Engineering, Landscape Architecture, and Surveying departments, our Civil Engineering team had the pleasure of working on the exciting new North Union Apartments project! It really was a blast working in-house across so many departments and disciplines to bring this awesome complex to life which is now entering the final stages of construction.

The key responsibilities of our Civil Engineering team were fairly standard for this type of project as we coordinated with the architects to locate the building on-site and designed all new utility services.

The project was designed to meet city ordinances which are always changing, as well as the new state stormwater codes to recharge our aquifers during an increasingly difficult period of drought for our state! As part of the parking structure, surface improvements were designed to access two separate levels of parking to alleviate congestion at the parking garage entries which is an awesome and welcome change for future residents and helps avoid the traditional hang-up of trying to find somewhere to park at your apartment!

As we see the Draper area and really the entire Salt Lake Valley continues to grow, we’re excited to have a part in preparing the structures and laying the groundwork for future communities! Thank you to Robert Poirier, civil engineering manager on this project!

We hope you have enjoyed this look back at some of our big projects of the year (so far). Join us in our next blog post as we finish out our look at a couple more projects and feature an employee spotlight!


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!


Utah is a great place to do business

Utah BusinessMcNeil Engineering has been proudly serving the Utah area for more than 30 years. We call this state home for many reasons, but the fact is, we love the Beehive State. Whether Salt Lake City-based businesses have needed civil engineering, structural engineering, land surveying, or landscape architectural services, we have been right here to provide them at a high level.

We have had no shortage of business for simply one reason: Businesses are relocating to Utah. Companies are building new facilities here in very high numbers. In many cases, these companies aren’t sure who to trust. They are new to the state and may be unsure who can do the job for them. And who do many of these companies trust to ensure the job gets done correctly in the end? McNeil Engineering.

Utah is a Beautiful State for Businesses

Utah used to be one of those little secret states. But in the past decade, the secret is out. Utah is not just one long expanse of open land. Beyond Utah residents, people have come to appreciate the charms and otherworldly beauty of our great state. Even now, many areas in Utah are still isolated and mind-blowing. It is a landscape ripe for exploration.

Consider the snow-capped mountains of the north. You also have access to the red-rock desert landscapes of southern Utah, where vast swaths of land are protected national parks and monuments. Utah’s terrain is hugely varied. You can go from mountainous forests to vast canyon lands without much distance traveled.

Inspiring, peculiar, and utterly beautiful, Utah has a kind of rugged beauty and outdoor adventure charm that will seduce any nature lover. Skiers from around the world are drawn to the Wasatch Mountain Range and the first-class ski resorts. Utah is also home to ancient rock formations, Native American history, fascinating dinosaur fossils and formations and charming mountain towns.

Other areas in Utah that include magnificent rock formations can be found at Arches and Canyonlands National Park. Expect to see soaring red rock formations at the cliffs of Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon. The sunset-colored rocks in these national parks give Utah a unique and ethereal feel.

Utah is a Great Place to do Business

Why is Utah such a great place to do business? Well, we have a very friendly business climate. While Utah was originally dependent on farming and mining a century ago or more. As the land prospered, so did the people who lived and worked on it. Fast forward to 2022, and you’ll find that Utah has one of the most highly educated states in the country. Businesses come here because they know we live in a highly competitive environment for workers. Businesses that come from out of state know this.

In various measures, Utah outperforms other, similarly-sized states. And without a doubt, Utah outperforms other larger states. Indeed, many people have relocated from states like California to Utah, where the business climate is far more favorable. Utah, for instance, boasts one of the highest growths in non-farm payrolls and top-five GDP growth out of all 50 states over the past five years.

Utah cities also individually perform well. Not all the action is contained in Salt Lake City. Three Utah areas consistently perform well in the area of employment and revenue growth. The Provo-Orem and Salt Lake City areas rank highly. But the area around St. George is also growing and shows great potential.

From aerospace to IT and big software companies, some of the Beehive State’s leading industries are no longer built on land, but instead, rely on the brainpower and possibilities that exist in the digital realm. Utah has a business-friendly legislature that makes it well-known Utah is open for business. Combine that with a favorable property tax environment, and beautiful lands and Utah is simply the place to be for businesses!

How McNeil Engineering Supports Utah Businesses

Whether you’re starting a business in Utah or bringing one over, you might be building or occupying a building. Perhaps you would like to make structural or landscape architectural changes to ensure your building suits your company’s voice and design aesthetic. That’s where McNeil Engineering comes in.

Businesses in and out of Utah rely on McNeil Engineering to provide professional, experienced, and top-notch services that include civil engineering, structural engineering, landscape architecture, and consulting. Our vast portfolio of work demonstrates our commitment to getting the job done right.

Do you have civil or structural engineering needs? Do you want to revamp your landscape and create something more beautiful or suitable for the environment your business is in? Consider hiring McNeil Engineering. We do business with entities all over (and out of) the state. We have the experience built from time in business to ensure your project gets done correctly and on time. Visit our website to learn more: https://mcneilengineering.com


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 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.


McNeil’s different types of engineers

Engineer TypesAs our name, McNeil Engineering, suggests, we specialize in engineering and are proud to have a well-rounded staff of specialized engineers for all different types of projects. That being said, we realize that people in need of an engineer’s professional assistance for a project might not immediately understand what kind of engineer the best fit for the job would be!

Of course, any potential client of McNeil can always contact us for more information on what kinds of engineering services we offer. However, we also thought it might be useful to potential clients to understand a little bit more about a few types of engineering we have staff specializing in, what the differences are between them, and what type of projects each type may accompany best!

Of course, there is quite a bit of overlap between these specializations, but there are key differences that mean more than you might think! So, without further ado, read on for 3 different examples of special engineering that McNeal is proud to offer.

1. Civil Engineering

Let’s begin with civil engineering, because it is probably the most well-known and commonly used term out of this list! This is because “civil engineering” is often used as an umbrella term for any commercial engineering project that has to do with infrastructure. This is not entirely accurate, though it is based in truth. Civil engineers have their own specialized place in projects. So, what is that place, and what does a civil engineer do? Civil engineers have the incredibly important and sometimes daunting task of evaluating a construction project or plan in terms of how effective it will be in relation to the area surrounding it.

Civil engineering often has to do with transportation. For example, imagine a small coffee shop in a big city quickly gains popularity and has the means to open a new location. A civil engineer’s touch on the plan can make that coffee shop’s second location a step towards a booming franchise. In this scenario, it would be a civil engineer’s job to do research to optimize the location of the new shop by, say, a high commute traffic area where people might like to stop for a coffee before work? Also, a civil engineer would make sure that the location is optimized or everything important to a coffee shop, like Wi-Fi, water, and electrical reliability. This coffee shop example is just a small example to show what kinds of jobs civil engineers are responsible for. Often, they are tasked with much more pressing tasks like new roads, airports, housing and apartment complexes and much, much more.

2. Structural Engineering

Structural engineering does have a lot of overlap with civil engineering when it comes to what kinds of projects they can work on, however a structural engineer has an equally important but very different focus. While a civil engineer’s job is to optimize and plan a project like a building, for example, the structural engineer’s job is to make sure that building stays standing. Civil engineers are mostly involved in the planning stages of a project. Structural engineers are absolutely involved in the planning of projects because they are experts in planning a project to be structurally sound before construction even starts. Structural engineers are often sent plans for projects after they are mostly finished to be evaluated for potential structural issues. One of a structural engineer’s most important jobs, however, is to be present at a construction site to make sure that the construction is going to plan structurally to, again, make sure that once that building or structure goes up, it stays up.

3. BIM engineers

AT McNeil we are proud to employ skilled and trained BIM engineers. We truly believe that BIM is revolutionizing the infrastructure and engineering industries and we are so excited to have the latest in BIM technology. For the uninformed, BIM stands for “business information modeling” which is, basically, the process of digitally planning a project in full before beginning construction. This involves much more than just written planning. BIM engineers are experts in BIM software and can fully digitally model projects before ground is even broken. These #D models and plans can then be evaluation by either or preferably both the aforementioned types of engineers to make sure that a project is ready to begin construction. This process minimizes any mistakes made during the construction process. At McNeil we specialize in BIM because we want your project to go as smoothly as possible!

If you are part of a company or organization that is planning a project that could benefit from this kind of assistance, or if you are looking to learn more about our services, please contact us here:

McNeil Engineering Direct Contacts | Our Team of Engineers in SLC Utah

We hope now you understand a little better the differences between the types of engineers we employ!


Nature’s engineering feat

Nature’s engineering featAt McNeil Engineering we employ civil engineers who happily take on any kind of infrastructure construction idea or challenge they can. However, we might argue that bridges are a civil engineer’s bread and butter. Bridges are impressive feats of engineering, it takes an incredible amount of knowledge, research, and math to create a bridge between two landmasses that can not only hold itself up, but can maintain constant daily travel by cars, people, and any weather condition imaginable.

So many of the world’s most popular and breathtaking travel destinations are bridges, like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco or the Tower Bridge in London, England. In Utah, we have famous bridges like the Hite Crossing Bridge, a beautiful steel structure peaking over the Colorado River that cuts through miles of rocky red desert that feels like another world.

However, like all wonderful structures humans have created, the earth created her version first. Built without hard hats or penciled equations, Utah is home to some of the most beautiful and impressive natural bridges in the world. Each period of time throughout humanity is marked with its prominent architectural style (modern, gothic), but the natural bridge represents architecture that transcends both time and humanity and serves as a wonderful example of structural engineering, and an elegant first-hand reference to modern engineers as to how a structure can truly stand the test of time. Natural bridges are one of the best ways to observe not only what makes a bridge sturdy but also how natural environmental occurrences can effect and erode a bridge!

So why are we at McNeil Engineering bringing you this information on natural bridges, other than the fact that they are very cool? The natural bridges at this incredible monument stand as a symbol for how the engineers on our team can learn from nature and use that learned information to expand infrastructure in a way that is beautiful, respectful to nature, and structurally sound.

Our three most famous natural bridges in Utah are all contained within the Natural Bridges National Monument in San Juan County. This national park includes the 13th largest natural bridge in the world, the Sipapu, which spans 255 feet. This information was actually discovered by laser scanning, which is a form of land surveying that uses laser beams to collect accurate measurements and information for landscapes and landmasses. At McNeil, we employ people who specialize in laser scanning so that we assist clients in surveying land and structures accurately. Also, we think laser scanning is a massive leap forward in learning more from the structure of nature.

We’ve talked a lot about how engineers can learn from nature, and how it can be an essential practice for all types of engineers. However, that definitely doesn’t mean we think structural, or landscape engineering experts should just copy nature’s homework. No, one of the amazing things about learning from nature is that we can see things we might want to do differently. Firstly, natural bridges are created by water flow over thousands of years, and if we want to get from one landmass to another, we don’t have time to wait that long, we instead have to build our own.

While we can learn so much from the height and angles of natural bridges and how certain leverage can make a large amount of rock seem to defy gravity, we can also see where the bridge has natural eroded that will eventually succumb to that gravitational pull, and we’ll unfortunately no longer have it anymore. Obviously, if hundreds or thousands of people are depending on a bridge for transportation in order to work or see their families, we can sit back and say, “oh won’t that be a bummer when it erodes and collapses.” Modern engineers can study the areas where these natural bridges erode and their materials to then create a bridge using all of nature’s wonderful inspiration that we can depend on forever.

Finally, natural bridges are a great symbol of the work we do at McNeil Engineering because of our commitment to landscape architecture. In case you’re unaware, landscape architects focus on both development of man-made structures and the protection of natural structures. It can be incredibly difficult to do any sort of construction, landscaping, or infrastructure growth project knowing the damaging environmental impact your project could make.

We truly believe that, at this point, maintaining what natural environmental structures we have left are essential, but we also know that growth is a natural part of humanity. So, at McNeil Engineering we specialize in building information modeling, laser scanning, and landscape architecture to be able to digitally plan building projects before ground is even broken so that we can plan to preserve as much of nature’s inherent structure as possible. We employ engineers who are prepared to tackle all kinds of projects armed with this mindset. And yes, that of course, includes bridges.


A brief history of land surveying tools

land surveying toolsSurveying has been an essential service to mankind for all of recorded human history. Before one can start any project, buy a plot of land, or even see a plot of land on a map, it must first be surveyed. Because of this, land surveying is believed to be one of the oldest and most important professions in the world. At McNeil, we’re proud to employ the latest in land surveying technology, specializing in 3D laser scanning, which uses a laser to collect tremendous amounts of accurate, dependable data in a short period of time.

This technology has revolutionized the surveying business and is rapidly becoming the standard practice in surveying, making it a viable and cost-effective choice for more and more projects every day. However, as previously mentioned, land surveying is one of the oldest professions in the world, meaning we didn’t always have lasers to collect our data for us. To be able to appreciate the speed and dependability of laser scanning technology, we thought we’d take you through a very brief history of a couple of other tools used historically in land surveying that led the technology to develop to its current level.

1. The Diopter

Far, far before lasers, early Greeks were using a land surveying tool called the diopter. This one is nearly as old as geometry itself, and one of geometry’s first uses was the precise division of land. Dating back to the 1st century C.E., the diopter is a classical tool used to measure angles and altitudes. The diopter was constructed rather simply for how we picture surveying tools today, a disk and a pivot are fixed to a stand and can be adjusted with a screw and a cogwheel to move freely or stay still.

Then, depending on what the device was being used for, it was fitted with either a sighting device or a water level. If the diopter was being used to measure an angle, say to divide the land up accurately, the user would fit a sighting device onto the diopter then adjust the screw so that the disk could move freely. The user would then pick points in the distance to represent the angular separation that needed to be measured (this could be a structure or a tree or a rock, anything they could find.) Then, the user would aim the sighting device at each point, readjust the device so that it remains still again and measure the angle stated on the device! The water level was fitted to determine altitudes, and basically, the user would look at the line of the water, to determine whether objects in the distance were at the same land level as that which the user was standing. The diopter was an incredibly important invention to surveying because it was the first surveying tool that didn’t require the surveyor to physically walk from point to point to measure them, and also didn’t require any extra equipment like chains or ropes.

2. Gunter’s Chain

Speaking of chains, they are one of the most important tools in the history of surveying, so it’s important that we mention them, Gunter’s chain especially. Gunter’s chain was a mathematical tool of measurement invented in 1620 by Edmund Gunter. Gunter’s chain consisted of 100 chain links that were 200 millimeters long, resulting in the full chain being 20.1 millimeters or 66 feet. This tool was incredibly important because it was easily understood by both Americans and English people. There was a way to divide or multiply Gunter’s chain to calculate most pre-existing units of land measurement, for example, ten square Gunter’s chains are equal to an acre of land. This was incredibly helpful because it means that it was the only tool really required to measure land. The physical use of Gunter’s chain was incredibly simple, aside from it being a bit physically taxing. To use it, one simply pins one end of the chain into the ground they want to start measuring and then walks to where they want to stop measuring and places another pin. pins can be placed anywhere along Gunter’s chain and distance can be calculated from there.

We think the history of land surveying is incredibly interesting and we’re so glad to offer our clients simple, fast, and accurate surveying possible at this time in history. We’ve only discussed land surveying, but it’s incredibly important to note that laser scanning can perform surveying of all kinds. Laser scanning surveys an area and everything in it. We use 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. This makes laser scanning an incredibly important tool not just for land surveying, but also for building information modeling.

At McNeil, we’re so excited to continue to grow as surveying technology continues to grow. If you’re interested in our surveying, laser scanning, or building information modeling services, please visit our website.


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.