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.


Iconic green spaces to inspire your next project

Green SpaceGreen spaces have tons of positive effects. They’re known to improve mental health and stress to bring communities together and even increase consumer buying. Whether it’s a community center to college to an apartment complex, green spaces are critical for successful businesses. Our landscape architecture can help you create, design and install the best green space for your business.

But first, let’s take a look at all the benefits of green spaces and what defines them.

What are green spaces?

When we’re talking about green spaces, we mean more than just an unused plot of land or grassy knoll. Green spaces are deliberately designed and manicured spots that are open and free to the public. Think of things like local parks, gardens, playgrounds and fields.

These spots are meant to integrate the natural world with our urban environment. Since the first civilization, urban planners have inspired nature and incorporated natural elements into their designs. And since we developed modern cities, green spaces have become even more essential.

Why are green spaces so important?

Studies have shown that green spaces have numerous positive effects on mental well-being, physical health and even commerce.

Green spaces provide an opportunity for outdoor recreation and exercise. Some studies show that people who live near green spaces even live longer. A recent study from the World Health Organization found that 3.3{ffa1fb9a833dbe70b91c2563ca2a54067368c324c18ffac54b9412388222efff} of global deaths resulted from lack of physical activity due to poor walkability and limited access to recreation areas.

These spaces spur better mental well-being and a sense of peace and even increase employee productivity or help hospital patients recover faster.

These spaces are essential to businesses, too. Studies have found that greenery and flowers attract shoppers and residents. Further, customers associate well-landscaped businesses with quality goods. Studies show they are willing to pay a 12 percent premium for goods purchased in retail establishments that are accompanied by quality landscaping.

So, now that you know their importance, it’s time to start thinking about cultivating your own green space. But if you need a bit of inspiration to get you started, check out these iconic green spaces that changed the way we do things. Even if you have a small space to work with, we think these projects will inspire you.

Atlanta BeltLine

Built on an old railroad track, the Atlanta Beltline is a 33-mile, multi-use trail that winds through Atlanta. It connects nearly 45 neighborhoods across the city.

The Beltline is an excellent spot for people looking to get back to nature, take a walk or go for a bike ride. But it also provides several other perks, like free exercise classes, parades, affordable housing and an arboretum. You can also view murals and other local art along the way.

Railroad Park, Birmingham, Al

Similarly, Birmingham has transformed its downtown into a 19-acre park. Previously, the land was used for a cross of old railroad tracks that went out of use. The land was transported into a downtown oasis (which can be especially essential in the humid Southern summers) that showcases the city’s history.

The park features more than 600 trees, multiple skate parks, and a history wall and sculptures, highlighting civil rights struggles and victories. It also features several sustainable elements, like a bio-filtration wetlands area.

The High Line, New York City
You may see a reoccurring theme of turning old industrial things into modern green spaces. The high line is no exception here. This above-street park is also formed along the lines of an old railway.

Previously, the space was home to elevated train tracks. But after a transportation freeze in 1980, the spot became abandoned. Decades later, neighborhood locals banded together to transform the track into a public space.

It features an array of native plants that function as a green roof with both plants and porous pathways absorbing water and limiting stormwater runoff. It also uses drip irrigation, composting and integrated pest management. It too features art, sculpture and vendors. This 395-acre space reopened as a park in 2009.

Chicago’s Lake Front

Chicago’s lakefront is unique to most cities for one straightforward reason. Written in the plans for the city is the idea that the lake will be forever “free and open” to the public. This means that no skyscraper, condo, or private business can build to the beach. Instead, the space from the major road to the water will forever be a public beach.

This is a relatively simple but revolutionary idea: keep public spaces public.

Another bonus is Chicago’s Millennium Park, situated between the beach and downtown. The land used to develop the park was initially deemed an “urban wasteland” and housed a winding spiral of train tracks. Now, it’s home to native plants, sculptures, walkways and water features. What’s even more remarkable is that some of it cover an underground parking garage.

So, are you ready to get started on a landscaping project?

Our landscape architects have decades of experience in both public and private realms. We can provide design and technical direction all the way from concept to construction phase services. We also work on a broad range of projects including everything from small roof gardens to university campuses, residential and commercial/retail developments and everything in between.

Visit our Landscape Architecture section for more details.


History’s most famous structural engineers

When we think of the incredible engineering feats of the world, we often think of mighty dams, towering buildings and expansive bridges. These images may also concur with architects who drew up these plans or the brave construction workers who risked their lives during the building. ut we sometimes forget about the unsung heroes of the projects — the structural engineers.

What is a structural engineer?

Structural Engineering is a specialty within Civil Engineering. These professionals are responsible for several critical aspects of projects.

They’re designers. They’re the individuals who design strong, supportive, and stable buildings to withstand natural elements like wind and storms.

They’re also safety experts. They make sure buildings are safe for everyday use and withstand the worst elements like hurricanes, tornados and earthquakes.

And they’re problem solvers. They’re tasked with using everything from basic math calculations to cutting-edge tech.

In fact, the term engineering comes from the Latin words “Ingenium” meaning cleverness and “ingeniare” meaning to devise.

They create drawings and specifications, perform calculations, write reports and evaluations, and observe construction sites. They work on the most beautiful, awe-inspiring architecture problems, bridges, skyscrapers, homes, artwork and even rollercoasters.

Their work is so varied they may be tasked with making sure a bridge can support hundreds of tons of steel and ensuring a dance floor doesn’t vibrate when people jump on it.

For centuries these experts have used a combination of creativity and design and intelligence to solve problems.

You may know some of their work, but do you know the most famous structural engineers of all time? We want to highlight a few of the most impactful structural engineers of the last century. Without them, our most iconic structures would not be possible.

Holmer Malcolm

You may not have heard of Holmer Malcolm. But you’ve seen his greatest creation— the Empire State Building.

This iconic Manhattan structure is 102 stories and 1,250 feet tall, making it one of the world’s tallest buildings for over 40 years. It uses more than 200,000 cubic feet of limestone and granite.

This impressive feat would not be possible without Malcolm. Malcolm designed the building during the early 20th century. Malcolm was called a genius after taking just over one year to build. It was hailed as the Eighth Wonder of the World during its 1931 debut and became one of the most recognizable skyscrapers in the world.

The structure also put New York on the map within the structural engineer community, proving engineers in the city were daring and imaginative.

Malcolm’s design advanced several innovative design concepts during his building design. For example, he made tall buildings stable and safe when exposed to lateral forces. He also began an expert in wind stresses on high-rises, designing unique foundations that eliminated vibrations in structures.

Today, many of his methods are still considered design and engineering standards.

Peter Rice

In Peter Rice’s obituary, author Jonathan Glancey wrote, “Rice was, perhaps, the James Joyce of structural engineering.”

Some called Rice one of the most imaginative and gifted structural engineers of the 20th century. He was known for his adventurous designs and ingenious buildings.

Rice combined geometry, analysis, and a computer program for the Sydney Opera House roof for his first project.

The Sydney Opera House is instantly recognizable. Considered a masterpiece of architecture, it uses unique and unparalleled design and cutting-edge architectural and technological achievements.

As a gifted mathematician, Rice did most of the geometrical work for the roof. Rice took over the project when his partner, Ian MacKenzie, fell ill. He went on to work with the well-known engineering firm Ove Arup who used his intellectual insight and boundary-pushing ideas for numerous architectural projects.

Gustave Eiffel

You can probably guess Gustave Eiffel’s most famous creation. But, of course, he was the engineer who designed and oversaw construction on the Eiffel Tower.

The Eiffel Tower is one of the most recognizable and beloved feats of architecture. It combines strength and airy lightness.

Even 125 years after its development, it stands as a symbol of structural engineering. During its construction, it pushed architectural and structural boundaries. It’s twice as tall as the Great Pyramid in Egypt. Its design created and symbolized advancement in the engineering industry, developed new construction materials and techniques and helped cement better structural engineering knowledge and experience.

Today, it is one of the most-visited places in the world.

Eiffel was responsible for advancing these ideas. He was known for engineering the sound support frame structure. He used the same idea to create the Statue of Liberty and the iron framing for the Notre Dame cathedral. His goal was to build simultaneously lighter, cheaper, and stronger structures.

Ready to start your own structural engineering project?

Our expert structural engineering staff, backed by many years of experience, are uniquely qualified to offer specialized expertise in the planning, designing, and constructing structures for buildings and civil works projects.

We analyze and design specialized structures and solve structural and foundation problems. We provide an unprecedented level of professionalism, understanding of the construction process and a commitment to quality. This gives our clients the most efficient, economical and safe structures.

We provide design services for structures involving low to mid-rise commercial, institutional, medical, residential and governmental buildings. Visit our website to learn more about our work: https://mcneilengineering.com


How to create eco-friendly public spaces

How to create eco-friendly public spacesGoing eco-friendly has never been more essential for our planet. Adopting greener practices helps clean the air, helps limit erosion, improves soil, and reduces pollution and global temperatures at the same time.

But going green has some other advantages, too. Green practices can help your property stand out over competitors, create community spaces, and attract new guests or tenants, depending on your industry.

But being eco-friendly goes beyond turning off the lights when you leave the room or recycling those old cardboard boxes. Think bigger with eco-friendly landscape architecture.

What’s even better? We can help you get there. Our experts have experience in designing parks, community green spaces, universities and colleges, and retirement communities, among many other large-scale projects.

Not sure what eco-friendly landscaping looks like? We have a few ideas to get you started.

1) Replace grass with ground cover.

Unfortunately, grass is not great for our ecosystem. Most lawns and green spaces are made from Kentucky Bluegrass and ryegrass and unfortunately, these species are not native to the U.S.

Because these grasses are not native, they chock out critical native plants and flowers. This, in turn, creates an ecological wasteland for pollinators like birds, bees and butterflies. Grassy areas, too, require more labor, fuel and equipment than even most industrial farming crops, which means they cost you big bucks to keep them looking green and lush.

Instead of traditional grass, consider alternative ground covers. There are lots of options for grass alternatives. Of course, some individuals who live in hot climates opt for rock or turf. You can also choose groundcover plants. These plants stay green in almost all weather and require virtually no maintenance. They are generally better for the environment because they provide habitats for birds, bees and other pollinators. They also have deeper root systems that help aerate the soil and prevent erosion. They also require little mowing, no additional watering, and no pesticides. What could be better than that?

In shady parts, moss is a great option. Moss stays green even in the highest summer temperatures and is a soft cushion under feet. In sunnier locations, clover works well. It stays green even under drought conditions and is soft and sweet-smelling. It can also prevent soil compaction. Some options include Corsican mint or clover. Flowering options include sweet woodruff, horned violets or ornamental native grass.

2) Plant a native garden.

You may also want to opt for a native plant garden.

Native gardens add beauty and personality to your land. These colorful, lush gardens are aesthetically pleasing and attract birds, butterflies and other wildlife. Because of this, they make great community gathering spaces. If you own a residential space, church or retirement community, these are great options.

Native plants, too, are resistant to pets and disease a result, they do not need fertilizer, watering, or pesticides, making them low maintenance and low cost.

3) Plant an edible garden.

Gardens aren’t just for individual homes. These are also great community options, too. Edible gardens can be found everywhere from apartment complexes to retirement communities to even community parks and major universities.

These, too, bring a sense of community and a place for individuals to gather. Growing your own produce also helps reduce carbon emissions and other waste from store-bought produce. You can also avoid harsh chemicals and pesticides when you grow your own food. Like other options, this is great for bees, butterflies and other insects.

You can also incorporate composting, too. This is a great way to recycle food waste and get others involved in the space.

We can create an elegant display for your future garden.

3) Add terraces or slopes.

If you’re looking for a different public aesthetic, consider natural terraces or slops. Sometimes this idea is referred to as terrace farming. This method involves creating “steps” in hilly or sloped land. Plants and gardens can then be planted and grown on the slopes. Because of the unique design, rainwater supplies the only irrigation needed. When it rains, water flows from one terrace to the next.

This ultimately saves on the water in the long run. This is also an effective solution to prevent erosion and is a beautiful, elegant option for your landscape.

This idea can be used on a large scale or in a space as small as a traditional garden or planting box.

Ready to get started?

Our landscape architects are here to help create a more eco-friendly landscape on your property. We have decades of experience in both the public and private sectors providing clients with design and technical direction every step of the way.

Our portfolio includes civic, university campuses, residential and commercial projects. Our state-of-the-art software allows us to provide our clients with an accurate representation of our plan and project, allowing for better cost control and precise scheduling.

Check out our website to see a list of our past projects. Contact us to get your project underway!


Structural Engineering Feats: Rush Street Restaurant and Sugarhouse Crossing

Structural Engineering Feats: Rush Street Restaurant and Sugarhouse CrossingEngineer: Someone who solves a problem you didn’t know you had in a way you don’t understand.

Jokes aside, we know probably more than anyone that engineering can feel complex. (After all, it’s what we live and breathe every single day.) For those who don’t work in the engineering world, it might seem a little confusing that engineering isn’t a one-size-fits-all industry. In fact, numerous disciplines fall under the engineering umbrella – civil, mining, mechanical, biomechanical, electrical, landscape – and they are all different. The stark truth for businesses that need to contract an engineering firm is that hiring the right kind of engineer with the right experience and level of licensure is the key to a successful project. You wouldn’t want a biomechanical engineer designing and overseeing the plans for your school, apartment complex or hospital, right?

Of course, the complexities don’t stop there. Even within each engineering discipline, there are specialties and advanced licensures that are important to understand. We want to make things simple for you, so today we want to focus on just one sub-specialty – Structural Engineering.

What is Structural Engineering?

Structural engineering is a specialty within the civil engineering field. Where a civil engineer has the education, certifications and experience to plan, design, construct, maintain and operate infrastructure, structural engineers take things a step further. Structural engineers must have several years of professional experience post-graduation and are required to take and pass the Professional Engineer’s license test in order to practice. In many states, a specific Structural Engineer’s license is also required.

This engineering specialty “focuses on the framework of structures, and on designing those structures to withstand the stresses and pressures of their environment and remain safe, stable and secure throughout their use.” LiveScience.com

Basically, while we tend to take simple things, like buildings and bridges not collapsing, for granted, the truth is every single day we have structural engineers to thank for the integrity of the infrastructure around us.

Structural Engineering at McNeil Engineering

Now that you have a basic understanding of structural engineering, you have a little more insight into how critical it can be for your project. The good news is, at McNeil Engineering, we are professionals in this arena.

Along with our sterling architectural engineering consultation services, we are also more than qualified to provide stakeholders and their various properties with structural engineering consultation services as well.

Rather than just tell you about what we can do, we’d love to show you by taking a look at two of our past projects: The Rush Street Restaurant in Los Angeles, California, and Sugarhouse Crossing in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Rush Street Restaurant in Los Angeles

The Rush Street Restaurant project in LA involved the conversion of a 75-year-old sign/welding shop into a high-end restaurant. We were able to investigate the site in order to determine the existing building’s structural elements – along with carrying out a seismic structural analysis of the 75-year-old un-reinforced masonry structure. It was a challenging project with a limited budget and due to a change in occupancy, the entire structure had to be retrofitted to meet building codes. We performed these while staying in compliance with various municipal requirements.

Sugarhouse Crossing in Salt Lake City

As for the Sugarhouse Crossing project in Salt Lake City, Utah – this mixed-use structure has three levels of below-grade parking, one level at grade commercial with 5 levels of apartments (200 in total).
The design team here at McNeil Engineering used CAD software (Revit) – in order to create a usable analytic model for complete Building Information Modeling (BIM).
This Sugarhouse Crossing project was thus constructed with post-tensioned floors for the parking structure and commercial areas with concrete walls and columns and 2x timber walls with plywood web joists for the upper floors and prefabricated trusses for the roof structure.

Are you looking for Structural Engineering Consultation Services?

Of course, these are just two examples of projects we’ve been privileged to be part of. Want to see more? Click here.

If you are seeking structural engineering consultation services, McNeil Engineering has you covered! While it is true, we are regionally famous within the western United States as architectural engineering consultation experts, this is far from the only consultation service we are currently able to provide.

We would be happy to sit down and discuss your structural engineering needs. This is in addition to any development, redevelopment, and/or civil engineering projects you and/or your various properties require as well. If you’re ready to get started, reach out to us, and then sit back and relax in the comfort and confidence of knowing that your group’s various properties are in good hands.


Kimball Plaza parking lot replacement

Kimball Plaza parking lot replacementWhile we are best known regionally for patented architectural engineering consultation services – which we have put to good use on thousands of projects around the American west regional area – we also have an arsenal of other consultation expertise beyond just architectural engineering too.

Take, for example, our consultation expertise when it comes to the tricky business of parking lot replacement. This particular sort of property redevelopment can be extra difficult to navigate for the stakeholders in institutions, businesses, municipalities, and any other sorts of organizations who have tenants in buildings utilizing said parking lot. It is vital for such entities to maintain civil relationships with their tenants, while also adhering to tight parking lot replacement/property redevelopment budgets.

This is exactly the sort of instance that occurred in Utah, during our consultation on the Kimball Plaza parking lot replacement.

The nuts and bolts of parking lot replacement

When it came to the Kimball Plaza parking lot replacement/property redevelopment project, we immediately understood the owners were dealing with a very tight budget for said project, along with disgruntled tenants.

The first challenge we faced on this project’s consultation was to get the property redevelopment drawings, sketches, and blueprints approved by the local city. The client’s goal was to increase parking for their development, which would improve circulation in and around the whole property altogether. The only hurdle was – the local city/county would require upgrading the existing storm drainage system if the project changed any of the hardscape square footage.

With these factors in mind, we here at McNeil Engineering were able to completely redesign the parking lot layout in such a way we were able to maintain the existing hardscape to landscape ratio, while simultaneously adding six parking stalls. Additionally, we simplified the circulation for patrons of local businesses. Seeing sense, the local county approved this plan, and we saved the client the expense of both a new treatment system and collection boxes.

Parking lot replacement on a budget

The design for this Kimball Plaza parking lot replacement/property redevelopment project called for the removal and replacement of both asphalt and base. We here at McNeil Engineering performed a study of the existing base course, determining it was in good enough condition we could leave it in place – simply removing the existing asphalt, demolishing some existing landscape islands, and installing new islands and asphalt paving without having to remove any existing base. Indeed, we only brought in asphalt as needed to meet the modified grading requirements.

When the project’s initial bid was suddenly canceled, we helped guide the client into finding a reputable contractor to perform a modified scope of this parking lot replacement/property redevelopment project. We worked very closely with the said reputable contractor in order to accomplish every single one of the client’s goals- while staying within budget, fulfilling the tenants’ desires, and not breaking any local county zoning laws.

The client was beyond ecstatic we here at McNeil Engineering, along with the reputable contractor were able to help keep their parking lot replacement/property redevelopment project within their tight budget while also helping them to maintain a positive relationship with their tenants at Kimball Plaza in Utah.

In need of a new parking lot?

Are you the stakeholder in an organization, business, and/or institution currently searching to replace your property’s parking lot? Perhaps you’re just looking to redevelop the said property in some other dynamic, business savvy, budget-friendly way? Well, you don’t need to look any further – you’ve come to the perfect place! We here at McNeil Engineering are more than capable of providing you with such sterling parking lot replacement/property redevelopment consultations and recommendations. We can aid you in your goal of completing your desired results in the cheapest, most elegant, and most ecologically sustainable manner humanly possible. Allow yourself to finally relax in the comfort of knowing your architectural engineering/property redevelopment needs are more than taken care of.