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.

Regular inspection is key to longest life for your buildings’ roofs

Regular inspectionRoofs just don’t get the attention they deserve. It’s not hard to understand why. We rarely see the roof, especially of a commercial or industrial building. As a result, problems can go unseen for too long, leading to unnecessarily extensive work for a roofing consultant and expensive, time-consuming repairs that can disrupt mission-critical business operations.

Turning to a roofing consultant as soon as you become a building owner to do a thorough roofing inspection — and even better, calling in a specialized roofing consultant at the architectural design stage of a new building — can save you a lot of money and time in the long run.

Here are some other tips from our roofing consultants on keeping your roofs in good condition:

The right time

Finding a small problem and fixing it promptly keeps it from developing into something major. It’s also far less expensive and time-consuming to fix a small problem than to have to replace an entire roof or section.

Consider also what a faulty, leaking roof can mean to your essential business operations: it can require disruptive work-arounds and even bring some operations to a standstill.

Create a plan for regular inspections by a qualified, professional roofing consultant at more than one point during the year. Follow their recommendations and have all maintenance performed by qualified teams.

The right people

It takes a qualified roofing specialist to do a proper, thorough inspection. The person doing the inspection has to know about different roofing systems, their advantages and their potential weak points.

Look for a roofing consultant with experience in the kinds of roofs you own, and who is honest, transparent and accountable in their reports and recommendations about what you need done.

The same applies to the people who will carry out the recommended work. When hiring a roofing contractor, learn about their workforce, their qualifications and training.

The right approach

When it comes to roofing design and maintenance, there are a lot of different factors to take into account.

It has to start with your needs as the building owner or occupant. The nature of the architecture or design of the building and the construction techniques and materials will also affect any decisions the roofing consultant will make.

In addition, things never stand still. Buildings and roofs age and change. Technology and building practices change, too — and not always for the better. Climate change, as we mentioned in an earlier blog, also is driving changes in roofing decisions.

Some roofing consultants have noticed a trend to designing and building to meet minimum requirements, or to meet warranty requirements. While this can save money in the short term and satisfy your insurance agent, a better approach is to choose optimal design and construction that meet or exceed your needs and provide the right protection. You’ll get better performance and a longer lifespan for the cost.

The right technology

In addition to having the tools and knowledge needed for roof inspection and maintenance, look at a roofing consultant’s technology. Is it up to date?

Do they use drones, GPS and digital modelling?

Do they have safety equipment in helmets and blood pressure monitors for employees who may have to go into hazardous locations to carry out a roof inspection?

Do they use current technology like paperless invoicing? While this may not be a part of the core of roofing technology, it’s a sign that the roofing consultant is staying current with technology.

The right knowledge

Regulations and tax laws are also subject to regular change. For example, changes to the tax laws in 2019 now put commercial roofs under Section 179. This doubles the deduction limit for roofing work and maintenance to $1 million. At the same time, the depreciation period for commercial roofs has been reduced from 39 to 25 years.

These factors could change your decisions on when to invest in a new roof. Ask your roofing consultant what they think this could mean for you.

The right team

A roofing consultant is an essential part of any structural engineering team. At McNeil Engineering, our team includes roofing as part of civil engineering, structural engineering, landscape architecture, laser scanning and land surveying, and paving consulting. Talk to us at any time about your roofing needs.

How climate change changes roofing choices

How climate change changes roofing choicesA warming climate is affecting every aspect of life and the economy. It’s not just higher temperatures than we’re used to. It’s also colder temperatures, more rain, longer droughts, more powerful storms and more extreme weather events. These will affect everyone and every profession, including the roofing consultant.

The main job of the roofing consultant is to decide on the roof design and construction methods and materials that will ensure the building will be able to withstand the environment and climate for the long term. The roofing consultant today has to consider a greater range of conditions that the roof will have to endure.

Effect of climate change on roofs

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has recorded an increase in significant storms every year for the past several years. It also predicts this trend will continue. This means roofs will have to endure heavier snowfall, rainfall, stronger winds and other extremes more frequently than roofing consultants are used to considering.

Another impact is that there will be more frequent snowfalls in areas that don’t normally get snow, and more frequent heavy and extreme snowfalls in areas that are used to a certain amount of snow every year. Many regions of the United States can also expect more ice storms, which can be especially damaging to roofs.

In general, the changing climate will mean more extreme climate and weather events. Some dry areas will get even dryer, while wet areas will get wetter. (Some areas that are relatively wet will dry out, as well.)

More rain and storms can lead to more leaks at roof-wall connections.

Wetter weather and more frequent rainfall could increase algae growth, which can discolor roofs — another impact that the roofing consultant will have to take into account.

Another impact that can pose a challenge to the roofing consultant is that more frequent storms and extreme weather can cause a shortages in building materials. This could lead to increased costs for roofing materials, and prompt changes in choices for not only materials, but construction methods, as well.

Responses from the roofing consultant

Roofing consultants today must consider the environmental impact of roofing design decisions. For environmental as well as life-cycle and economic reasons, there is more demand to move away from low-cost materials and practices that lead to roofs with shorter lifespans, have to be replaced more frequently and cannot be reused or recycled.

Roofing consultants are already looking at and recommending shifts in roofing materials. The use of algae-resistant asphalt shingles is growing in many regions, for instance.

More energy-efficient materials and construction techniques are being demanded by owners and builders, not only for their environmental benefits, but also to reduce the life cycle costs of the building.

Locally sourcing construction materials is another trend that reduces the environmental impact and costs of transport.

Different roofs

There has been a lot of discussion about painting roofs of houses as well as commercial and industrial buildings white or another lighter color as a way to reduce the “urban heat island” effect. It’s been known for over a century that large cities are warmer than the surrounding countryside. Part of the reason is that dark asphalt on roads and roofs absorb more heat than do grass, trees or crops.

Lighter colored roofs can reflect more heat and sunlight, reducing the extreme temperatures of cities by 2 to 3 degrees Celsius. They can also reduce the demand on cooling the interior. On the other hand, they may increase the need for heating in the winter.

Roofing consultants are also looking at completely different roofing materials. One is Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer, or EPDM. This rubber-based material is flexible, watertight, energy efficient, and resistant to heat, UV radiation and thermal changes.

Energy-producing roofs are also trending. These are outfitted with solar panel arrays or wind-capturing equipment.

Roofing consultants are also recommending “green roofs,” also known as living roofs or roof gardens. In other words, covering the roof with plants that can be sustained with minimal maintenance. They can add to the insulation property of the roof, reducing heating and cooling costs, and help manage storm water while reducing the urban heat island effect.

Make the trends work for you

Climate change is driving changes in building design and construction. At McNeil Engineering, our roofing consultants are always staying at the leading edge of new materials and best practices to deliver the best value.