What are the most common commercial roofing materials?

Roofing MaterialsSince the dawn of humanity, people have required something to cover their heads and protect them from inclement weather, falling rocks, branches and so on. In fact, finding or building a shelter was one of the first skills gained by the first humans, and the most important component of any shelter is the roof, the part that protects the inhabitants from the elements. As humans advanced and their shelters became as much an art form as a necessity, both houses and their roofs began to change as well.

The evolution of roofing construction and design can be traced as far back as 3000 B.C. when the Chinese employed the use of clay roof tiles. On the other side of the world, the Egyptians were also utilizing similar materials in their roofing and design. The Greeks and Romans would go on to use slate and tile roofing in their construction methods. Over time, practical and aesthetic needs would shape how roofs were designed and built. Let’s look at the most common commercial roofing types in use today.

What to Look for in Commercial Roofing

Ask any roofer, engineering firm or construction company what the most important factors are in a commercial roof, and they will tell you durability, energy efficiency and cost. If properly installed and maintained, a quality commercial roof should provide 10 years of life at the very minimum and up to 50 at the maximum. The reason why there is such a big disparity is because climate and sub-roof conditions will impact durability. The typical climate in Utah, for instance, will vary greatly from the climate in the upper Midwest. Location will certainly play a part in the aesthetic appeal and staying power in a commercial rooftop.

In the 21st-century, the big buzzword in rooftop design and installation has been “efficiency.” In fact, many cities and municipalities, including those here in Utah, have added energy efficiency parameters to their permitting process. Obviously, efficiency should be a factor for business owners as well since a more energy-efficient roof will result in a lower utility bill in the long run.

And then your final consideration will likely be cost. This is a factor that will largely depend on the type of roof you want. While some systems cost less to install, you may wind up sacrificing durability or efficiency for the sake of saving a few dollars. Just make sure your application is appropriate for the type of roof you choose.

There are quite a few different roofing types. We will list them all here and then spend a bit going into greater detail on each variety:

  • Metal roofing
  • BUR membrane
  • EPDM membrane
  • Thermoplastic PVC and TPO membrane
  • Silicon (spray-on)

Let’s dive into each type and have a look at the pros and cons of each kind.

1. Metal Roofing

This is probably the most common type of commercial roofing because it is highly durable and relatively inexpensive. Metal roofs are generally composed of galvanized steel, aluminum, tile sheets, copper or stainless steel (coated). Not only are metal roofs highly durable but they look good and have great fire ratings. They are more susceptible to corrosion, however.

2. BUR Membrane

Built-up roofing (BUR) membranes have a lifespan of around 20 years and are composed of alternating layers of tar and gravel. They are inexpensive and relatively easy to repair. As BUR rooftops age, however, they can be susceptible to leakage and breakdown.

3. EDPM Membrane

Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer (EPDM) is a roll-based synthetic rubber. This type of roofing offers great weather resistance, is long-lasting, versatile and easy to install. On the downside, it is not the most aesthetically pleasing rooftop option and can easily be punctured.

4. Thermoplastic PVC and TPO Roof Membranes

TPO and PVC rooftops are very resistant to weather, UV rays and other adverse conditions. They are also lightweight, heat resistant and reflective. On the flip side, because of all these desirable properties, they can be more expensive. If you find options that seem too cheap to be true, they probably are.

5. Silicon (Spray-On)

Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) is a material that begins as a liquid spray that instantly expands into a foam, which hardens into a solid layer. This type of roofing is generally applied as a second layer and is more eco-friendly than other varieties. It is also long-lasting but has a limited installation window and must be regularly inspected.

There are also a couple of other varieties, such as shingles and green roofing. Shingles are most used on residential buildings because they don’t have a long lifespan. Green roof systems consist of a waterproof membrane covered by plants. Green roofs are definitely “on trend” right now, as they look good, can be installed with local incentives and give your business sustainability cred. They do require quite a bit of maintenance and upkeep, however.

Are you getting ready for new construction and evaluating your roofing options? Or perhaps you are an existing business ready to upgrade? You know where to go. The roofing experts here at McNeil Engineering have got you – pun intended – covered.

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.

Tips for choosing the ideal roof type for your dream home

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

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

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

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

Types of Roofs

Gable roof

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

Gambrel roof

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

Flat roof

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

Skillion roofs

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

Butterfly roof

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

Types of Roof Materials

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

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

Factors to Consider When Choosing Roof Design


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

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

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

Consider your house structure

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

Determine other functional purposes you what to achieve with your roof

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

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

Define your budget

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

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

Check the building codes

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

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

Get Several Quotes

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

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

5 Game-Changing Trends Transforming BIM

Building Information Modeling (BIM)Building Information Modeling (BIM) has transformed the Architecture, Engineering, & Construction (AEC) industry by improving conventional design processes’ efficiency. Many studies have found collaborative solutions on BIM to improve client/team design relationships, accelerate the decision-making process, and significantly improve the ROI. But this is only the beginning.

New trends, rising daily, promise to push BIM applications to unprecedented levels. In this post, we explore the top 5 innovative trends shaping the future of BIM:

3D Printing

While 3D printing is now considered a consolidated technology (at least, in its technical parts), its adoption to AEC is not yet widespread, although it is beginning to make waves. 3D printing has made it easier for professionals to create building elements quickly and efficiently. When incorporated with BIM processes, 3D printing can help accelerate prototypes’ development, thereby hastening the speed of a construction project.

Since BIM already serves as a rich source of geometric information for large-scale, commercially existing, and automated 3D machines, incorporating 3D printing and human workers on construction sites can be coordinated for improved safety and productivity.

3D printing allows the printing of digital files by layering down thin layers in successions. By creating physical forms quickly, teams can better collaborate on projects by equipping them to better understand and analyze the dynamics, functioning, and efficiency of structures. With the growing sophistication of 3D printing technology and its increasing adoption in the AEC industry, it can make a massive impact on BIM processes.

Augmented Reality (AR) & Virtual Reality (VR)

BIM is the process of generating, storing, managing, exchanging, and sharing building information. A hot-spot in today’s technological space is the possible integration of BIM with virtual reality, where the user visualizes the virtual world and interacts with it.

By incorporating AR and VR, BIM can effectively address the problem of retrieving and presenting information concretely. Stakeholders will have a comprehensive and clear image of designs by immersing themselves in realistic 3D virtual environments. This makes it easy to follow every stage of the design process, identify errors, and engage in interactive and collaborative projects.

BIM and VR can be combined and proposed as a solution that allows the client’s inclusion into the design world. The possibilities are endless as a more sophisticated integration of BIM and VR comes into the picture.

Cloud Software

Cloud-based collaboration continues to overtake functions that once consumed hard drive space on a designer or BIM manager’s computer. This boon has more data to be transferred to the cloud, making it easier for building team members to interact with centralized 3D models. With advanced data management tools like Assemble Systems, it is now easy to manage, store, and share project data over the cloud. Panzura Global Cloud Storage System is another software that includes a web-based OS, file-sharing system, and hardware controller.

Using a cloud framework makes BIM data accessible by anyone from anywhere, in real-time. This simplifies the BIM model sharing. Through this seamless connection, information can be quickly communicated to team members. And as you probably know, efficient communication saves time and money in the long run.

Internet of Things (IoT)

BIM is typically used to model a building’s structure and systems during design and construction so that changes in one set of plans can be simultaneously updated in other affected plans. Incorporating IoT into BIM can be the catalyst we need for smart building projects.

If you’re wondering what IoT is, it refers to a system of interrelated, internet-connected objects that can collect and transfer data over a wireless network without human intervention.

IoT devices (sensors) can be used to capture real-time data into the BIM. This can then be used to model things like temperature trends, energy usage patterns, and even movements through the building. This information can be used to design more efficient future building projects.

Drone Usage

AEC professionals and project managers are using drones for recording and reporting the progress of building projects. Being able to capture data of large areas in a short time accurately makes it feasible to easily refine BIM models to make them more reliable.

In the operation phase, the use of drones also protects human surveyors from risky situations. Easy monitoring with drones makes it possible to collect real-time pictures and videos uploaded to BIM collaboration platforms for involved professionals to access.

Drones are also applicable in the facility management phase. The long-life span of a building makes it difficult to ensure that maintenance will be consistently done responsibly. Drones allow for the easy updating of BIM models, which can be used for maintenance intervention plans.

Wrap Up

The possibilities of BIM are endless – thanks to the current innovative trends that are transforming the future of BIM. Some of the other game-changing trends worth mentioning include:

  • Modular construction and prefabrication
  • 3D laser scans
  • Going green
  • Direct product ordering

We’re here to help. Contact us today for more information.

Why are Land Surveys Important?

Land SurveysImagine a pilot flying an airplane with no GPS. Or imagine going to an unknown location with no map. How ridiculous does that sound? Irrespective of what you think, most people wouldn’t want to be in any of such scenarios.

Land surveys are the maps of a specified area. According to Wikipedia, land surveying is the technique, art, and science of determining the terrestrial or 3D positions of points and the distances and angles between them.

A land survey is usually the first step in a building process or home improvement project. It helps you know about the legal description of your property. Asides from helping you know precisely where your property begins and ends, a land survey tells you about the topography of your property.

A land survey is typically a prerequisite for a project that requires a planning permit. In this post, we explore the reasons land surveys are important.

Easements and Rights of Way

Modern cities are usually marked by an abundance of infrastructure. To maintain these infrastructures, state workers sometimes have to stay on private property. It’s also possible that a parcel of private land blocks entry into another property.

Easements provide a person with the right to use another’s property for a specific purpose. Rights-of-way are special kinds of easements that grant the holder the right to travel over another’s property.

Easements are typically paths or roads that allows for more freedom of movement. A property survey will reveal any easements on the property you intend to purchase. That way, you know what part of your property you have to share access with.

Preventing Encroachment and Adverse Possession

As a property owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure that you do not encroach on the properties of your neighbors and vice versa. An encroachment occurs when a property owner violates the right of neighboring properties.

Before you purchase a property, you have to ensure that no one has built on your property without permission. Similarly, before you put up a fence or extend your building, you have to ensure that it doesn’t encroach on your neighbor’s land. A land survey allows you to know the exact extent of your property and this helps to prevent encroachments down the line.

Adverse possession is a legal doctrine that allows a person to claim a property right in land owned by another. A land survey also lets you know of any adverse possession on a property.

Marking Boundaries With Certainty

During estate development, land parcels are divided by permanent boundary markers. These markers are placed on a property’s corners to indicate the boundary. But sometimes, these markers get removed, damaged, or even covered up.

Without these markers, it’s impossible to tell the boundaries of your property and that increases the likelihood of an encroachment. Even with the absence of these permanent markers, a land survey will help outline the accurate boundary of your property.

Meeting Legal Requirements

Many districts have legal requirements that require land surveys before certain projects or processes are allowed. For instance, if you are carrying out a major renovation that requires the extension of your building, you need a land survey before you can get your building permit approved.

Similarly, many lenders require a land survey before a mortgage can be granted. Asides from being a legal requirement, lenders also need one as part of their risk management process.

Presence of Utilities

Whether it be pipes, poles, or manhole covers, several utilities may pass through your property. With a physical inspection, it’s easy to spot above-ground wires or utilities. But what about those that are underground? With a land survey, you have full access to this information.

This info is important for several reasons. First, a utility company might have an easement on your property. That means they have a right to use a portion of your property – and you have to know that beforehand.

Similarly, the presence of those utilities may limit what you can do on your property. For instance, you might have to keep your tree length within a certain limit, so the root system doesn’t affect underground utilities.

Furthermore, a land survey allows you to carry out excavation or construction on your property without disturbing underground utilities.

Land History

The land you’re about to purchase might have been used for something you’re not cool with. For instance, maybe there is an old family burial ground in your backyard. You’d want to know where those are located, so you don’t mistakenly dig out someone’s grave. A land survey reveals the exact location of previous features on the property.

Wrap Up

As you have read, land surveys are extremely important to the ongoing process involving land acquisition, development, and regulatory issues. This is precisely why you should get one before you purchase a property. If you have any other questions in the meantime, please reach out to us here for more information.

7 Wonders of Modern Architecture

7 Reasons to hire a structural engineerIf you’ve stood in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza or seen a picture of the Colossus of Rhodes or any of the seven wonders of the ancient world, it’s indescribable the awe it elicits from viewers.

These structures served as inspirations for modern architects to build wonders of their own. Armed with sophisticated knowledge of engineering, material science, and more, unnatural designs can be conceived and implemented like never before.

We’ve compiled a list of our top 7 wonders of modern architecture in no particular order. But be warned, this list is in no way exhaustive because countless breath-taking structures exist in our world today.

Millau Viaduct

Located across the gorge valley of Tarn in Southern France, Millau Viaduct is a multi-span cable-stayed bridge. Since its completion in 2004, it has remained the tallest bridge in the world with a height of 336.4 meters. Designed by engineer Michel Virlogeux and architect Norman Foster, this bridge cost about $424 million to construct, and over 3,000 workers were involved. Builders of the Millau Viaduct claim that the bridge will last for at least 120 years. Surely, this structure will provoke jealously from the ancient Roman builders, who were in no small way, masters of their craft.

Incheon International Airport

Incheon airport is no ordinary airport – it’s the world’s best! This largest airport in South Korea opened in March 2001 with a construction cost of about $1.3 billion. The brainchild of Curtis W. Fentress and Terry Farrell, it is considered an architectural jewel.

The roof of the airport resembles a Korean temple, with futuristic detailing, as well as a plethora of facilities, including a golf court, spa, rooftop, meeting rooms, ballroom, casino, ice-skating rink, interior garden, and more. Little wonder Airports Council International has named the airport the best in the world for seven years in a row for its quality service.

Palm Islands

Plam Islands consist of three artificial islands – Palm Jumeriah, Deira Island, and Palm Jebel Ali – on the coasts of Dubai, UAE. The simplistic yet appealing design of these islands was conceived by the Rule of Dubai. At the moment, only Palm Jumeirah has been completed. It hosts over 60 luxury hotels, 5,000 apartments, 4,00 residential villas, spas, movie theaters, thematic parks, malls, and more. Unsurprisingly, Palm Jumeriah also has the only 7-star hotel in the world – Burj Al Arab Hotel.

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

While simplicity is at the heart of iconic architectural designs, this design is in opposition to that. Yet, its icon status is unparalleled. It was designed by the Pritzker prize-winning architect Frank Gehry. Its majestic space is built from glass, limestone, and titanium that naturally aligns with the contours of the Nervion river.

The structure has received praise from countless reputable architects, like Philip Johnson, who described it as “the greatest building of our time.” Little wonder over $500 million was generated from tourism alone, three years after it was opened.

The Marina Bay Sands

The Marina Bay Sands is an integrated resort located in Singapore. When it was opened in 2010, it was the most expensive casino property in the world, valued at S$ 8 billion. From distance, the Hotel’s towers appear straight. But upon close inspection, the columns are slanted at 26 degrees. That number ‘26’ has a cultural significance to it – it adds up to ‘8’, which is a lucky number in Chinese culture.

The architecture of the Marina Bay Sands is more than its aesthetics. The ArtScience Museum comprises 10 fingers anchored by a unique round base in the middle that illuminates the dramatically curved interior walls. The Museum’s roof channels rainwater to create a 35-meter water drop used in the building’s cooling system. The energy-efficient elevators also convert kinetic energy into electricity. The Marina Bay Sands is simply an architectural and engineering wonder!

Capital Gate

Also known as the Leaning Tower of Abu Dhabi, this skyscraper is over 160 meters tall. While it’s nowhere near the tallest building in the world, what’s striking about it is that it was designed to incline 18 degrees west.

The Capital Gate’s slope, leaning strikingly westward, is almost five times that of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It currently holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s furthest-leaning man-made tower. The loft houses a hotel while the other floors are home to several businesses.

National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA)

Known by its nickname, ‘The Giant Egg’ because of its distinctive flattened-dome shape, NCPA is located in the center of Beijing. The building is situated in the middle of a 35,000 sq.m artificial lake, around which a green ring of 39,000 sq.m is intended to isolate the building from the noise of the city.

This awe-inspiring design was conceived by French architect, Paul Andreu. The building houses an opera house with a capacity of 2,398 seats, a concert hall with 2,019 seats, a theatre with 1,035 seats, and a smaller multi-function theatre.

Contact us today for more information!

When do you need a roofing consultation?

Roofing ConsultationAre you currently in the market for a new roof for your home or office or any other property? Best to begin the process with a roof consultation to get the projected started on the right foot.

A Professional roofing consultation will thoroughly cover the following components regarding your next project update and implementation:

1. New roof system designs and construction oversight

Roofs also need unique and effective designs that can be fabricated and engineered to offer the property water-efficient protection along with the good exterior appeal. An expert is essential for the designing phase that can address the design according to the location, weather, architectural plan, material, budget, and other potential factors. They work with the architect to collaboratively agree on flashing, membrane components, attachment modes, compatibility with other products, installation sequencing, and the total layout all to offer adequate protection and proofing.

2. Design and Construction Oversight for Replacement of Existing roof systems

A roofing consultant can deduce the need for a new roof and the possibility of replacement of the current roof system. It is generally observed that roofing repairs incur only unnecessary expenditures, so an expert can give you direct insight into the mass total regarding the replacement and the following maintenance to keep roof life intact post a thorough verification of the situation.

Some of the aspects assessed by the roof expert are current roof system among other aspects:

  • life
  • location
  • occupant needs
  • construction mode
  • building use for a short or long term
  • cost
  • physical and technical aspects like the possibility of roof repair, moisture assessment, roof recovery and replacement of the roof.

Replacement of the roof is generally recommended by the expert when there is a mandated tear-off, deteriorated roof system beyond recovery, too much moisture, steel corrosion, and no possibility of safety.

3. Roof overbuild design

Once the need for a roof is assessed, its design has to be framed and finalized to ensure that it fits the structural system either as a protective barrier or even as roof space. A roof is both functional and an aesthetic / designer appeal to the property, so certain aspects like the ones listed below will play a major role in the overall design of the building:

  • roof pitch/angle
  • roof shapes like flat or curved
  • with or without incorporated decks/garden
  • proper insulation in rafters/trusses
  • roof structure
  • types of trusses like Fink Truss Roof/Attic Truss Roof
  • loft coverage with fire escape and windows
  • different roof types such as Monopitch Roof, Duopitch Roof, Hip Roof, or Mansard Roof

4. Existing roof condition analysis

A roofing expert can offer an unbiased assessment by evaluating any defects, deterioration, damage and the underlying roof condition using an indexing system.

Fun fact: A scale is used in index systems from 0-100 where 0 to 30 implies replace, 50 imply restore and 70 to 100 implies repair following maintenance.

5. Project scoping and opinion of probable costs

The opinion of Probable Costs, also known as “cost estimate” will provide an idea on budget and flexibility regarding various cost-effective solutions based on which project scoping is carried out. It is also imperative to understand that this is an estimate and never an exact invoicing number. However, a knowledgeable expert can provide the closest and cost-effective estimate with low cost reworks.

6. Recommendations and instruction for roof systems maintenance

Once everything is finalized, a professional expert will also provide you different suggestions and cost-effective options for the maintenance of these new roofing systems for their longevity. This is essential to maintaining the functionality, operational performance, and overall effectiveness.

Follow the care instructions with timely or monthly maintenance, while adhering to necessary inspections to make sure the roofing protection is fully optimized.

7. Humidity / Condensation analysis

It is essential to remember that condensation and humidity meddle with comfort, resident’s health, and finishing the interiors, and while elevating costs.

A proper roofing system gives the right amount of insulation, avoids moisture, consists of the right humidity set point, and offers passive ventilation and flow of air with appropriate ventilation systems in place.

The appropriate humidity level is from 40-60 percent. Condensation can result in the growth of mold and occurs due to improper insulation. By minimizing humidity and using double glazing windows that are thermal efficient can curb condensation. Making use of composite frames made of timber or aluminum, fiberglass/uPVC, and inbuilt passive ventilation window frames will all collectively assist to curb condensation buildup.

Final Thoughts

A roofing consultation will save you money (especially in the long-run) and will also provide you solutions to get an efficient and long life from your roof.

Our roofing consultants here at McNeil Engineering offer a full service firm readily available to help our clients navigate the complexities of roofing and construction compliance. We understand that undertaking a new roofing project can be daunting, at best. By allowing our solutions driven team of experts to assist will not only mitigate risk, but will streamline the implementation process thus resulting in a successful completion.

If you have any questions regarding your current roof situation, please feel free to reach out to us today. We look forward to chatting with you!

Finding Structural Engineering Experts and Roofing Consultants

Roofing ConsultantsStructural engineers and roofing experts play a vital role in the construction industry. A viable structural engineer is knowledgeable in all types of architectural design implementations and can offer the help you need to ensure the structural soundness of a building or design.

A structural engineering professional will evaluate the impending behavior of a particular building under the influence of forces including gravity, wind and acclimatized pressures. The specialists will also assess the safety of a structure when exposed to such factors.

Specific Functions of Structural Engineering Experts

  • Checking Architectural Configurations – The architectural configuration of every structure should always be symmetrical and proportionate. A structural engineering specialist puts architectural configuration on the forefront of development in order for the design to be unconditionally sound. The symmetry of a structure is an indication of its stability and balance. Various symmetrical elements contribute to harmony and order in a space, thus a structural engineer can help you understand how asymmetry affects the longevity of a building.
  • Finalizing Structural Systems – When you hire an engineer, they will help to finalize the ideal structural system for your building. Then the engineers consider both a budget and availability of construction materials. A viable structural system comprises an assembly of physical elements applied to a building so they can adequately and consistently support presumed loads.
  • The Location of Expansion Joints – Expansion joints are used to overcome the effect of an earthquake or less invasive movements on a daily basis. The joints are designed to absorb any vibrations that may result from natural disasters and impending activities. Expansion joints are also employed to increase assurance that a particular structure can withstand any temperature variations and facilitate movements without cracks or breakages. A structural engineering expert will have advanced knowledge in reference to identifying the ideal location of expansion joints to safeguard a structure from future damage.
  • Preparing Structural Framing Plans – The structural engineering experts from McNeil Engineering meticulously prepare the framing plans for both gravity and horizontal loads to ensure that a structure is built according to the required standards. Structural framing plans specify the location of elements such as doors and windows.
  • Structural Analysis and Design – A structural engineer will choose the ideal construction materials for a building or outdoor project. The choice of the materials will variably depend on the architectural configuration and other previously detailed considerations. The engineers will also need to determine the forces acting on a building.

Hiring a Structural Engineering Expert

Evaluate the level of experience and qualifications of an engineer before hiring them. Take time to research the engineer’s recent projects and dive deep into the quality of their services. Look for references to understand how a structural engineer handles their clients.

Another important consideration when looking for a professional structural engineer is their licensing and certifications. Ensure that the experts have the required licenses and certifications from relevant bodies. The cost of services is also vital when considering the structural engineering expert to hire for your project. However, the cost should not be the only consideration. Some engineers may offer substandard work at lower prices.

But Do I Need a Roofing Consultant too? After All of That?

At the expense of sounding blatantly obvious – a roof is an integral piece of a building’s structural design.

Our roofing consultations drive specializations in the following areas:

  • New Roof System Designs and Construction Oversight
  • Design and Construction Oversight for Replacement of Existing Roof Systems
  • Roof Overbuild Design
  • Existing Roof Condition Analysis
  • Project Scoping and Opinion of Probable Costs
  • Recommendations and Instruction for Roof Systems Maintenance
  • Humidity / Condensation Analysis

Our consultants with McNeil Engineering have acquired many years of experience in the industry and provide comprehensive insights that fit your need for your specific project. When hiring a roofing consultant from any company, ensure that they adhere to and observe all required safety roofing standards.

Roofing consultants have up-to-date information about different roofing options acquired in an ever-evolving construction design industry. Check the level of education and certifications to ensure they adhere to the required roofing codes. It’s important to note, roofing consultants who attend continuing education seminars and other educational forums remain compliant in all projects. By attending live forums and relevant conferences, the consultant is exposed to progressive trends relating to different products and technology created for roofing integration.

If you have any further questions regarding your structural configuration or building in need of an updated roofing design, reach out to us today.

McNeil Engineering – Leading the way in the roofing consulting and structural engineering industry.

Get your roofs ready for winter

Roof rebuild at Camp Shawnee

For the roof rebuild at Camp Shawnee’s main lodge in Liberty, Utah, we chose a design that combined new materials with the rustic look of the existing building.

It’s become a cliché: “Winter is coming.” But for many areas of the US, winter is already here. And in mountainous areas like Utah, that means a lot of snow. And a lot of snow means extra loads on roofs.

While McNeil Engineering provides engineering services across the country, many of our clients are located close to our home office in the greater Salt Lake City area. That means we have a great deal of experience providing the civil, structural and roofing engineering design that this particular climate demands.

Let’s take a closer look at how to prepare roofs of houses and buildings for the particular stresses and demands of Utah year-round, and especially through the winter.

Load bearing

The roof snow load is an engineering measurement that shows how much precipitation a roof can hold before it faces the risk of collapsing. That number or load depends on a number of factors, including the shape of the roof, the materials it’s built of, and the climate in your area.

In Salt Lake County, local building codes state that the roof snow load is 30 pounds per square foot. In other words, the roof frame must be designed and constructed to withstand a minimum of 30 pounds of load on top of it for every square foot of roof surface area.

How much snow does that mean? That can depend on the nature of the snow. As anyone who’s ever shoveled a driveway knows, the weight of snow per shovelful, or its density, can vary widely. Warmer, wet snow can be several times the weight of dryer, colder snow.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) guidelines have a wide range of snow density, from 3 to 21 pounds per square foot of roof.

Freezing rain can build up to as much as 57 pounds per square foot, making it a much greater concern for roof stress than snow.

Start with design

Most people think that a steep, gable-style roof is best for buildings in areas that get a lot of snow. A roof with a steep pitch, or angle, is able to shed water, ice and snow more easily than a flat roof or one with a shallower pitch. However, steeper slope or greater pitch allows large amounts of snow and ice to fall at once, which can be dangerous for objects and people below.

The pitch is not the only factor to consider. Complex roof designs, with more than one gable or slope, can trap large amounts of snow in the valleys between the different parts of the roof.

A flat roof is not necessarily ruled out by the location in a snowy area. Framing, materials and construction techniques also play important roles in the load-bearing capacity of a roof.

Besides rain, snow and ice, architects and civil engineers must also take into account other stresses or loads on the building: wind sheer and earthquake resistance, for example. So it is possible to design a building with a flat roof that can withstand the heaviest snow loads in your area.

Remember, too, that a high gable or pitch adds to the wind stress on a building. A severe windstorm can cause more damage to a high gable than to a flat roof.

Architects and engineers take the prevailing wind direction and climatic conditions, as well as orientation of the building and site, into account when designing roofs.

Other than a slope, there are other features the design can use to shed excess water, including gutters and downspouts.

Snow is not just a load, either — it’s insulating. Every inch of snow on a flat roof adds one R-factor of insulation, which means a foot of snow on top of a flat roof adds an R-12 to the building.


The best designed and constructed roof has to be maintained to endure the changes of weather through the year. As the cold weather approaches, take some preventive steps to ensure your roof continues to protect you.

  • Check for leaks. Cold weather will make them expand, leading to more water coming in. Call in a professional for a thorough inspection. You can also do an inspection inside. Any dark or damp spots on the ceiling or tops of the walls can be signs of a leaking roof.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts. This will ensure water can flow freely off your roof and away from your building. Downspouts clogged with leaves and debris can lead to ice jams, which can cause leaks into the building.
  • Replace broken or cracked shingles and flashing. These can lead to leaks and many other problems. Use a professional to ensure the job is done right.
  • Ensure water drains at least 4 feet from the foundation. Otherwise, ice can build up against the foundation, leading to leaks that can be difficult to fix.

Call in the professionals

If you’re concerned about the roof of any of your buildings, from a home to a commercial building, contact our roofing consulting professionals. Let’s talk about what you need.